dispatches from another october

Headlines from the New York Times Index, October 1929
(A Whimsical Selection)*

C A Dice predicts high level will be constant for several yrs, O 13 II, 7:2

C E Mitchell says he sees no signs of predicted slump, O 16, 41:4

Cleveland Trust Co bulletin repts 14% decline from 1st of Sept through 1st wk in Oct; says a few high stocks have concealed bear market, O 16, 47:1

Fisher predicts rise will be permanent; says realized and prospective earnings justify current heights; disagrees with R W Babson’s prediction of 50-60% point drop, O 1, 8:4

Powerful bear pool reptd operating in Wall St, O 19, 32:2

Fall 2 to 10 points for active stocks and as much as 145 for inactive stocks; 2-day drop attributed to readjustment of prices to level more commensurate with earnings, unanswered margin calls, foreign liquidation, hammering by bears and terror among shareholders, O 22, 1:5

I T Fisher says even at current high levels stocks are not up to true value; dismisses decline as "shaking out lunatic fringe that attempts to speculate on margin," O 22, 24:1

C E Mitchell says decline has carried several below real value, O 23, 16:1

I T Fisher says fears that they will go to 1923 level are not justified by present economic conditions, O 24, 2:1

Decline continues through most disastrous day in Wall St’s history; 4-14 point rally at close of trading, O 30, 1:8

Mayor Walker urges moving picture exhibitors not to show gloomy pictures of break, O 30, 3:2 [Jimmy Walker is a character in my novel, so this was particularly funny]

M W Harrison predicts recovery and says business justifies increasing values; H G Aron calls crash unnecessary, O 30, 4:2

Sen Tydings says Repubs must take blame for crash, O 30, 4:2

Stocks lrs sent out by brokers to clients indicate bottom level of liquidation is reached, in their opinion, O 30, 4:4

D Rockefeller says current business status does not warrant severe declines; says he and son are buying heavily, O 31, 1:6

Irving Fisher really stuck his foot in his mouth didn’t he? I’m not even quoting half of his bottom calls. Note to self: regard famous economists who say calming things about the economy during unprecedented financial turmoil with healthy skepticism.

Even more fun to be had in November:

Soviet writers use crash to point moral that capitalism is hollow and fictitious; attribute crash to over-production, N 10, III, 6:1

J L Livermore says leading stocks are selling too low, N 13, 2:2

Decline continues; Stock Exch calls for lists of stocks borrowed and lent and for whom in effort to discourage bear selling; 21 issues closed day with gains, N 14: 1:5

We of this modern age recently banned short-sales, too (the ban expired a few days ago).

La plus ca change.

* This exercise in possibly unfounded historical analogy brought to you by the letter P (for procrastination), and the Columbia University Library, where I happened to sit before the so tantalizing New York Times indexes.

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