This Day In Market History: NYSE Volume Hits 20th Century Low

What Happened?

On this day 103 years ago, the New York Stock Exchange experienced its lowest volume day of the entire 20th century.

Where Was The Market?

The S&P 500 was trading at around 7.40 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading at around 54.50.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

On the first days of 1915, a German U-boat sank the British Royal Navy battleship HMS Formidable off the coast of England as World War I fighting ramped up in Europe. In the U.S. Harry Houdini performed his famous straightjacket escape, and a loaf of bread cost 7 cents.

Slow Day At The Office

Understandably, with the drama unfolding in Europe, traders weren’t paying much attention to the stock market. The U.S. didn’t officially declare war until April 1917, but the political drama in Europe resulted in just 23,505 shares of stocks changing hands on Jan. 2, 1915. Lack of interest is typically bad news for share prices, and the lull marked a near-term low for U.S. stocks.

Once investors realized it might be a good idea to buy the dip, the market caught fire in 1915. In fact, after the historically slow start to the year, 1915 ended up a historically strong year for the market. The Dow skyrocketed 81.6 percent on the year, its strongest annual gain in history. By 1927, the Dow reached 200 for the first time.

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