The Crash: A Shock Felt Round the World

Stock markets plummet and climb between "hell and heaven"

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Investors all over the globe were nervous even before markets opened on the historic day that came to be Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987. On the previous Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average had suffered a record one-day ecline of 108.36 points, to 2246.73. The sense of imminent foreboding was evident as far away as Australia, where the Monday-morning sun rises over the acific while it is still Sunday afternoon in New York City.



One of the first markets to open after Friday's Wall Street scare quickly signals the shocks to come. On a catwalk above the gathering gloom on the trading floor, neatly uniformed "chalkies" sketch stock prices on a green board. All are falling.


Uncertainty prevails among the 2,000 dealers in the brand-new Kabutocho exchange building as they try to make sense of Friday's record loss in New York. What will happen on Wall Street later today? The Nikkei Dow Jones index of 225 traded stocks falls from 26,366 to 25,746.


Traders in red waistcoats on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange floor trade in a rush as the Hang Seng index of 30 stocks opens at 3783. In 40 minutes, it drops 133 points. The index ends the day down 421, the worst point loss ever. Officials close the exchange for four days.


A backlog of sell orders has accumulated from Friday, when damage from one of Britain's worst windstorms kept many dealers home. That day's selling gusts from New York make things even worse. Says Christopher Dark, a manager of Salomon Brothers' London branch: "I keep thinking about the little man with the sign saying THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH."


On the 34th-floor trading room of the Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) brokerage firm on Wall Street, arriving traders are startled by the presence of uniformed security guards. Corporate officials, deluged by cabled sell orders, know a rough day is ahead: the guards are there to protect traders from any violent clients. The New York Stock Exchange is not yet open, but already some of the firm's brokers are perspiring at their telephone consoles, staring at banked arrays of 200 blinking buttons. Tension mounts as Dudley Eppel, a managing director, delivers a grim pep talk: "Well, here we go. Let's keep our cool and maybe we'll all get through this thing alive. Let's go get 'em!"

NEW YORK, 9:30 A.M.

The Big Board opens. At the bell, the Dow is already off 67 points. In the next 30 minutes, 50 million shares are sold. At DLJ two blocks away, glowing green figures on computer consoles trace the market's fall. "We're going underwater!" shouts Trader John Sesko as he pops Tic Tac candies into his dry mouth. "55,000 Pepsis to sell!" barks one trader. "60,000 GM to sell!" yells another. The cries do not stop. "Boston wants to sell 30,000 J.P. Morgan!" Long before lunchtime, a trader shouts, "Hamburger to go! Hamburger to go in six figures!" He wants to peddle 100,000 shares of McDonald's.

NEW YORK, 10:30 A.M.

Already 140 million shares have been traded -- normally a calm day's average volume. The Dow has sunk another 34 points, down a total of 101, to 2145.


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