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TheStreet Open House

So The Dow Hit A Record; Now Where Do We Go?

In August 1982, another bull market began. By November of that year, the Dow finally beat the 1973 record. Reagan's tax cuts were taking effect. Over the next five years, unemployment and inflation fell, and the economy grew rapidly. Baby boomers were buying homes, raising kids and spending. In 1987, the Dow had 55 record-breaking days. Its last was August 25, when it peaked at 2,722.42

Things unraveled quickly after that. On Oct. 19, 1987, investors panicked over whether the recent stock gains were just a bubble, and the Dow plunged 23 percent to 1,738.74. The fall was so abysmal that it remains the index's biggest one-day percentage loss ever.

By the end of Black Monday, as it came to be known, the Dow was down 36 percent from the record it had set just two months before.

â¿¿RECORD BREAKER: August 24, 1989. The Dow breaks the record held since 1987, closing at 2,734.64.

â¿¿RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for almost a year, gains 10 percent and peaks at 2,999.75 on July 16, 1990.

The Dow recovered quickly from its Black Monday in 1987.

The Federal Reserve reassured investors by immediately cutting interest rates, a move meant to spur borrowing and lending, and declaring that it was ready "to support the economic and financial system." Reagan insisted the economy was fundamentally sound. Soon enough, investors began to think of the one-day panic as a sign of scared stock traders and unwieldy computer trading, rather than an indictment of the broader economy.

Through 1988 and 1989, the economy kept expanding and unemployment stayed low. On Aug. 24, 1989, the Dow was up 57 percent from its Black Monday disaster and broke its August 1987 record.

It kept rising for almost a year. In the summer of 1990, it came agonizingly close to a 3,000 close, ending at 2,999.75 on both July 16 and 17. On the second day, traders at the New York Stock Exchange tossed paper in the air in celebration at the end of the dayâ¿¿ then realized, when the final figures were tallied, that the celebration was premature.

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