October 19, 1987

On October 19, 1987 I was sitting in the office of a client who had what was then something of a rarity but is now a commonplace: a realtime graphical display of New York Stock Exchange stock market activity. As we discussed what I was doing for him our attention was increasingly drawn to the display. He remarked: “Looks like it’s window-jumping time.”

Barry Ritholtz comments on the largest one day drop in the Dow in history:

Once upon a Monday dreary
Traders waited worn and weary
As they gazed upon news tickers
warning of the day in store
Foreign markets were imploding
sending senses of foreboding
With positions overloading
sellers would be bringing more
To dump upon a bloody floor
October now had past its middle
as investors faced this riddle
With their Quotrons they would fiddle
looking for The Bull of yore

Greenback’s value falling quickly
trade deficit behaving sickly
And with Iran, relations prickly
raised the specter of a war
Ahead a day that promised gore

So on the open there came selling
much faster than the tape was telling
While in Chicago they were yelling
“Dynamic hedging” is no more!

Read the whole thing.

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