Bear With It: Stock Market Has Seen Worse Than 2008

Dow lost 14.1% in Oct., but that pales against 30.7% in Sept. 1931
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2008 4:55 PM CST
A passerby peers through an ice sculpture called "Main Street Meltdown," in New York, Oct. 29, 2008, on the 79th anniversary of the "Black Tuesday" crash that preceded the Great Depression.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – It would be hard to overstate the impact of the past 2 months on those who work and invest in the stock market, Ben Steverman writes for BusinessWeek. The crisis has surely spurred many investors to reevaluate the risks, but is it a game-changer, historically speaking? Although it was steep, the Dow’s October decline of 14.1% is smaller than 15 other months on record.

Indeed, the Dow’s losses for all of 2008 have yet to surpass the 30.7% fall of September 1931. Some worry the stock bubble has popped, and that equities will never return to overvalued prices. But experts disagree: “The stock market is reacting to the bad news in the banking sector and to the economy,” not an overvaluation of stocks themselves, says one financial historian.