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These Were the Dow’s 10 Worst Single-Day Losses Ever

August 24, 2015, 6:44 PM UTC

U.S. stocks opened trading Monday with a precipitous tumble that saw the Dow fall more than 1,000 points at its lowest point. The selloffs eventually gave way to something of a rebound, but one that still left the market with one of the biggest one-day declines in recent memory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged about 5% shortly after U.S. markets opened. The blue-chip index clawed back much of those losses, but still ended the day down about 588 points. That was the eighth-worst single-day loss in the index’s history, in terms of the number of points lost.

It was the second straight trading day of landmark losses for the Dow. On Friday, it dropped 531 points, or 3.1%, its tenth-worst one-day point loss. The index lost more than 1,000 points over the course of last week, fueled by worries about China’s economy and the prospect of Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes. The Dow, Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 each dropped by roughly 6% last week.

For some perspective, though, the infamous “Black Monday” crash of 1987 saw a smaller loss by points, but that drop represented a much larger percentage decline of more than 22%.

By the time the market closed on Monday, August 24th, the Dow Jones Industrial had shed 588.47 points, making it the 8th largest one-day drop.Chart by Stacy Jones
Chart by Stacy Jones

The largest single-day point decline for the Dow remains September 29, 2008, when the index fell nearly 778 points, or almost 7%, at the offset of the financial crisis on a day when Congress rejected an early bank bailout plan. Less than a month after those losses, the fiscal crisis picked up steam on October 15, 2008, when a poor retail sales report and a weak forecast from the Federal Reserve sent the Dow tumbling another 733 points, which was good for a nearly 8% decline that marked the highest percentage drop since 1987. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 each dropped by about 9% that day.

Going back even further, the third-largest single day decline for the Dow came on September 17, 2001, the first day of trading after the September 11, 2001 attacks, which saw a 685-point drop, or 7.1%, for the index.

The percentage changes from more recent losses may not be nearly as drastic as those seen from record-setting daily losses of the past, when the Dow was significantly smaller. But there is no doubt the past week has been absolute hell on global markets. Fears over China’s struggling economy, slumping commodity prices and uncertainty regarding the timing of the Fed’s highly anticipated interest-rate increase have all combined to form the perfect storm to knock U.S. stocks down from record-high levels attained earlier this summer.

Graphic by Stacy Jones. The post and graphic have been updated to reflect Monday’s closing prices.