A Look At Some Historical DJIA Data

Dow Jones Industrial Average - LogoThis is one of those articles that I fire off on a rainy Saturday afternoon when there is really nothing else going on.

I decided to run some numbers on the DJIA historical database from October 1st, 1928, all the way up until December 31st, 2009 (I'll be importing 2010 at the end of this year).

All told, the period from October 1st, 1928 through to December 31st, 2009 included a total of 20,404 days when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was open for business.

Of these 20,404 days, the DJIA managed to close at least 0.01% higher on 10,592 of them. This means that the DJIA closed higher 51.9% of the days that spanned the October 1st, 1928 to December 31st, 2009 time period.

The DJIA closed at least 0.01% lower on 9,698 of the 20,404 total days, or about 47.5% of the time.

On the remaining 114 days (in case you just busted your calculator out), the DJIA closed unchanged (in terms of %).

Now, let's break down the days when the DJIA managed to close higher by percentage move:

Total Number of +1% Days: 2491
Total Number of +2% Days: 642
Total Number of +3% Days: 250
Total Number of +4% Days: 114
Total Number of +5% Days: 58
Total Number of +10% Days: 8

So, for instance, the DJIA managed to close +1% or higher on 2,491 of the 20,404 days from October 1st, 1928 to December 31st, 2009, and so on.

Now, let's look at the down days:

Total Number of -1% Days: 2353
Total Number of -2% Days: 672
Total Number of -3% Days: 275
Total Number of -4% Days: 138
Total Number of -5% Days: 70
Total Number of -10% Days: 4

Of the biggest % moves higher, all of the top five moves occurred before the spring of 1933. From October 1st, 1928 to December 31st, 2009, the largest single day move higher for the DJIA came on March 15th, 1933, when the index managed to finish 15.34% higher.

Here are the top five one-day percentage gains for the DJIA, from October 1st, 1928 to December 31st, 2009:

1. 1933-03-15 +15.34%
2. 1931-10-06 +14.87%
3. 1929-10-30 +12.34%
4. 1931-06-22 +11.90%
5. 1932-09-21 +11.36%

The largest one-day percentage loss for the DJIA? You guessed it, October 19th, 1987, aka "Black Monday", when the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up closing 22.61% lower on the day.

Here are the top five one-day percentage losses for the DJIA over the above-mentioned time frame:

1. 1987-10-19 -22.61%
2. 1929-10-28 -13.47%
3. 1929-10-29 -11.73%
4. 1931-10-05 -10.73%
5. 1929-11-06 -9.92%


The highest single volume day for the DJIA? That would be October 10th, 2008, when a total of 11,456,230,400 shares traded hands.

The lowest single volume day? That would be August 19th, 1940 (130,000 shares traded).

The largest one day swing? Again, that record would belong to October 10th, 2008 (as you can tell, that was an incredibly crazy day on Wall Street), as the difference between the Low and High of the day was an incredible 1,215.42 points.

Source: Dow Jones Historical Data

Filed under: General Knowledge

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