October 20, 2023
Revisiting ’87: Stock Market and Fishhoks – What Lessons Have We Learned?
With the recent stock market crash of 2020, many traders have been turning back to the past to explore what could have been done differently, or how it could have been avoided altogether. As they look back, it seems logical to delve into the 1987 stock market crash, and it's predecessor, the 1982 Fishhooks crash.
The Fishhooks crash occurred in 1982 and affected the London Stock Exchange. It was sparked by a psychological shift within the stock market after the release of budget projections, those changes caused instability that then cascaded through the markets. At the time, the London exchange maintained free-floating exchange rates which led to wide fluctuations in speculation.
The 1987 stock market crash was one of the most famous crashes in history. It became known as "Black Monday" when it hit October the 19th of that year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by 22%, and causing the U.S. stock market to lose over $500 billion in total. This crash was characterized by massive sell-offs of stock by investors, and the impact it had was felt worldwide.
What many people remember about the 1987 crash was the daily routine on the trading floor, which was full of panic as the day went on. But what many don’t remember is that the crash was actually preceded by the Fishhooks crash of 1982. The Fishhooks crash was a sign that something was amiss in the European markets, and if steps were taken to address that instability, it may have prevented the 1987 crash.
In retrospect, what stands out about the two crashes is the lack of regulation in how the markets are operating. As has been seen in 2020, when global leadership works together to provide stable exchange rates and limit currency speculation, it may be possible to keep these things from happening again in the future. The 1987 and 1982 crashes were not caused solely by human action, but by a lack of understanding of how the markets work as a whole. As such, it is important to look back at both of these crashes to inform future decisions.