Monday’s Stock Market Rout Not Worst By Long Shot

In the wake of Monday’s precipitous stock market decline, the average loss per person in the United States was $5,682, with a significant drop of $16,091 from the market’s high in February.

Though this tumble hurt the market, Monday’s fall wasn’t the worst in history. In fact, there have been 22 days that were far more alarming for investors. For instance, on October 19, 1987, the market was off by 20.47%. In the fall of 1929, there were three days when the market was off between 10% and 12%, which gives you some insight into why investors were literally jumping out of windows after hearing the news.

Fall of 2008, as the Great Financial Crisis came into focus, saw three days where losses were larger than Monday’s 7.6% decline.

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In terms of the decline in specific stocks year-to-date, the majority of the worst cases were in energy and travel. Norwegian Cruise Lines (NYSE: NCLH) is down the most at 53.6%, followed by American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL) at 43.63% and Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL), which is off 51.31%. Oil services company, Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), which was run by former vice president Dick Cheney between 1995 and 2000, is down 46.59% as well.

Unfortunately, there is a pernicious element to stock price declines. That is, a 50% decline requires a 100% increase to get back to even. In Wall Street parlance, investors take the express train downtown and the local uptown.

David R. Evanson is a financial journalist in Philadelphia.