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THIS DAY IN FINANCIAL HISTORY Jason Zwieg

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  • THIS DAY IN FINANCIAL HISTORY Jason Zwieg

    THIS DAY IN FINANCIAL HISTORY

    Learn what happened in business in today’s past



    October 15:




    1998: Concerned by Russia's debt problems and the collapse of the giant hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, the Federal Reserve Board makes a surprise announcement, with 46 minutes left in the trading day, that it is cutting interest rates by a quarter of a point. Out of the blue, the Dow Jones Industrial Average leaps 330.58 points to finish the day at 8299.36.

    Henry T. C. Hu, "Faith and Magic: Investor Beliefs and Government Neutrality," Texas Law Review, vol. 78 (2000), pp. 866-867; David M. Jones, "Modern Central Banking Policy and Practice: an Analysis of the Contributions of the Greenspan Fed," the Alan R. Holmes Lecture, Middlebury College, May 18, 2000, p. 11; http://www.djindexes.com

    1993: The yield on 30-year Treasury bonds hits a low of 5.78%, down from more than 15% in 1991. Analysts turn uniformly bullish, expecting rates to drop well below 5%. Just four months from now, the Fed shocks the financial world when it begins raising interest rates by a total of 2.5 percentage points.

    Sidney Homer and Richard Sylla, A History of Interest Rates (Rutgers Univ. Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 1991 ed.), p. 386.; Economic Report of the President, February 1995, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1995, p. 80, http://w3.access.gpo.gov/usbudget/fy1996/econ_rpt.pdf

    1982: The Garn-St. Germain Act, which partially deregulates interest rates, is enacted. In its infinite wisdom, Congress thinks it is rescuing the savings & loan industry by enabling S&Ls to compete more aggressively for loans and deposits. Signing the bill, Pres. Ronald Reagen declares, "It provides a long-term solution for troubled thrift institutions�. All in all, I think we hit the jackpot." But the S&Ls end up competing themselves into a giant hole, and taxpayers get stuck bailing them out with hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency aid. Garn-St. Germain goes down in history as one of the most disastrous financial laws ever enacted.

    Joseph Nocera, A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1994), p. 225; http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/resourc...82/101582b.htm

    1951: Working in a laboratory run by the Syntex Corp. in Mexico City, chemists led by Dr. Carl Djerassi create the world's first synthetic progesterone by altering compounds obtained from inedible yams. Soon Syntex formulates the hormone into the world's first effective oral contraceptive. Syntex becomes one of the greatest growth stocks of the 1950s and 1960s, and the birth-control pill accelerates the rush of women into the workforce, transforming the global economy.

    "Godfather of the Pill," The Economist Technology Quarterly, June 23, 2001, p. 45; http://www.djerassi.com/pill/index.html

    1929: Stocks are down an average of 11% from their peak in September, but the head of one of the nation's largest brokerage operations says not to worry. Declares President Charles E. Mitchell of National City Bank: "The markets generally are now in a healthy condition." It's worth noting, however, that Mitchell was interviewed in the deck chair of an ocean liner. Twelve days later, the Crash of 1929 erupts, driving the market nearly one-third lower and signaling the onset of the Great Depression.

    John Brooks, Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street, 1920-1938 (Harper & Row, New York, 1969), p. 112; Phyllis S. Pierce, ed., The Dow Jones Averages 1885-1980 (DowJones Irwin, Homewood, IL, 1982), not paginated.

    1878: Thomas Alva Edison founds the Edison Electric Light Co. to research and develop the incandescent light bulb, issuing 3,000 shares of stock at $100 apiece; in 1889 the company, funded largely by J.P. Morgan & Co., is renamed the Edison General Electric Co.

    Jean Strouse, Morgan: American Financier (Random House, New York, 1999), p. 182; http://www.ge.com/en/company/company...tory_story.htm
    Last edited by CollinPalmer; 10-15-2020, 10:12 AM.

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