Original Black FridayPhoto: the National Library of Scotland https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33982229

This Week in Trading History: The Original Black Friday

This week in trading history we saw panic hit the streets of London marking the very first Black Friday, Enron finally called it an end, and Henry Ford introduced the assembly line - changing factory production forever...

30th November

Pixar, purchased by Steve Jobs from George Luca, went public. Share were originally offered at $14, however Jobs insisted on $22 per share. Shares opened at $47, traded as high as $49 during the day, and closed at $39. This gave the company a market value of $1.5bn, Jobs bought the company nine years prior for $10m.

Enron stocks closed at 26 cents per share, a far leap from $90 just a year prior.

The Dow closed above 24,000 for the first time.

1st December

Henry Ford introduced the assembly line to his factory. This way of producing cars meant that they could be manufactured in just 90 minutes. By reducing the time it took for the cars to be made, he was able to reduce the cost of the car, making it accessible to the everyman.

Exxon purchased Mobil for $80bn. The merging of the two oil companies created the largest company in the world, at the time.

A recession was officially declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research as the 2008 financial crisis continued to worsen. The Dow was down 7.7% on this day, a total of 38.6% down for the year. JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs both had share declines of around 17% on this day alone.

2nd December

At 4:28am Enron filed for bankruptcy. Enron had $63.4bn in assets, making it the nation’s largest bankruptcy at the time. Enron’s CEO, Jeff Skilling went to prison for 11 years, and the CFO served five years.

3rd December

Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, held a meeting with the U.S’s most famous stock market forecasters to determine the valuation of the stock market. Most were sceptical of the market’s valuation except for Abby Cohen and Byron Wien who believed that the bull would continue. However, Greenspan rocked the markets two days later…

South Korea and the International Monetary Fund agreed on a $55bn aid package to help the country survive its fiscal problems. South Korea originally refused help from the IMF, hoping that the U.S. or Japan would come to their aid. Although, when it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen, South Korea appealed to the IMF for help.

4th December

The first six astronauts were launched into space via the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Their task: to attach the Unity Module to Zarya FGB and to begin assembling the International Space Station.

A deadly smog was cast over London, created by a combination of soot and sulfur dioxide from factories, cars and coal fires. The fog hovered for four day and killed more than 4,000 people.

5th December

Alan Greenspan warned the nation of “irrational exuberance” in the stock markets. Stocks continued to rise and in just over three years the NASDAQ reached its tech bubble peak of 5,048 in March 2000. However, the NASDAQ fell 78% over the next two years and bottomed at 1,114 on the 9th October 2002, 13% below the original level of the index when Greenspan warned of irrational exuberance.

6th December

News reached London of the advancement of the Jacobites, causing panic through the streets. Stock fell and the Bank of England nearly collapsed as hordes of Londoners tried to withdraw their money and evacuate the city. The bank survived by paying “dummies” to stand in line at the banks and cash out large account with small coins. This day was dubbed the original “Black Friday”.

Two months after the Soviets successfully launched Sputnik, the U.S. attempted to launch their first satellite. Unfortunately, the rocket rose six inches and then exploded. The stock market dropped 6% over the following week due to fears of being unable to compete with the Soviets in the race to space.