Wall Street JournalPhoto: Allie (Unsplash)

This Week in Trading History: The Wall Street Journal is Published

This week in Trading History we see the arrival of the cocoa bean to Europe, the first edition of the Wall Street Journal and Andrew Jackson making some rather questionable presidential decisions…

6th July

The U.S. finally discards the term ‘Continental’ for their currency and adopts the dollar. Due to inflation, their previous currency was rendered nearly worthless, and holders of the Continental would be offered an exchange to the U.S. treasury bonds at 1% of the Continental’s face value. In 2014, a graded NGC Mint State 63 1766 Continental Currency dollar in silver was bought at auction for $1.4m.

Chemical company DuPont announced a merger with oil and energy titan, Conoco Inc. The deal was valued between $6.5bn and $7bn, making it the largest merger in U.S history to date. In 2018 DuPont’s total assets were estimated at $188.03bn.

The supreme court ruled that it is unconstitutional to pay women a smaller pension than men. The opposition's argument was that as women have a longer life expectancy than men, they should receive lower annuities.

7th July

Chocolate comes to Europe! It’s said that Christopher Columbus brought the first Cocoa beans back from his fourth trip to the ‘New World’ however they were ignored by the other treasures he brought with him. Gradually the people of Europe fell in love with drinking chocolate. It didn’t reach England until the 1650’s. In 2018 it was recorded that the country that eats the most chocolate in Europe per capital per year is Switzerland, consuming 19.4 pounds.

8th July

The first edition of the Wall Street Journal was published by Charles Dow. This allowed the public to have access to stock market averages on a wide scale.

The Dow Jones Industrial average closed at 41.22, equating to a fall of 89.18% since September 1929. The Great Depression had erased 36 years of stock market gains in three years. However, this was an all-time low and the Dow would never close as low as that again.

9th July

The Bell Telephone Company was formed with Alexander Graham Bell as the chief electrician, his father-in-law as president and Thomas Watson as the first employee. With the patent on the telephone, the Bell Telephone Company quickly monopolised the industry and became extremely successful. In 1899 they merged with AT&T, but by 1982 the company had become so powerful that the Justice Department ordered the company to be broken up. AT&T is still the largest telecommunication company in the US, in 2019 they had total assets of $551.7bn.

The S&P 500 closed above 1400 for the first time. The rise in the S&P 500 was mainly aided by the tech bubble of the 90’s. In July 2020, the S&P 500 traded at 3,158.97.

10th July

President Andrew Jackson vetoed the Bank of United States’ request for a new charter. It was suspected that the decision to veto was more motivated by Jackson's relationship with business leaders than by principle. Jackson continued fighting the bank until 1833 when all federal funds from the institution were ordered to be withdrawn. This action sent the nation into a fiscal panic.

11th July

In an attempt to curb land speculation, President Andrew Jackson ordered federal land agents to only accept gold and silver as payment. The result of this caused massive deflation in the economy due to a lack of credit, resulting in a collapse in land prices. This was a primary cause of the 1837 panic. This depression lasted until the mid-1840s and was one of the worst the U.S. had ever seen.

Coca-Cola re-released the old version of the drink, dubbed as “Classic Coke”, to avoid having to admit bringing in the “New Coke” was a bad idea. They did however keep the New Coke in circulation, just labelling it Coke.

12th July

The IndyMac Bank in California failed on this day and became the fifth American bank to fail during the financial crisis. It also became one of the largest financial institutions to fail in United States history.