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Black Monday

Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, in U.S. history, day of financial panic. The Dow Jones Average fell 508.32 points, a drop of 22.6%, the largest since 1914. The point decline as well as the volume, 604.33 million shares, exceeded previous records. Among the possible causes were investors' anxiety about U.S. international trade and federal deficits and U.S. criticism of West Germany's economic policies, but the drop was greatly aggravated by the cascading effect of the automatic computerized selling of stocks interacting with the similar selling of stock-index futures triggered by computer programs using such futures to hedge against the fall in stock prices. Stocks throughout the world joined the slide. By mid-1988 the stock market had recovered, and the U.S. economy was largely unaffected by the crash.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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