While equities are off their lows of the day now, earlier the DJIA was down 550 points, prompting statements like, “The Dow is on pace for one of its largest point declines on record.” Equities have rebounded a bit here in the early afternoon, but it is still a bad day for bulls nonetheless. For those interested, the table to the right lists the DJIA’s 20 largest one-day point declines on record. While the DJIA’s current 400-point decline now puts it 50 points out of the range for a top twenty day, there are still two hours left of trading to go, so a lot can happen.
Looking at the table, three of the twenty largest one-day point declines for the DJIA occurred during the August sell-off (8/21, 8/25, and 9/1). The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that with the DJIA currently trading over 15K, a 500-point decline isn’t what is used to be. On a percentage basis, a 500-point decline works out to a drop of about 3%, which wouldn’t even be enough to qualify as one of the 300 worst days for the index. That’s not to minimize the weakness we are seeing in equities, but just something to keep in mind when/if you start hearing statements like the one at the top of this post.