Art Cashin of UBS explains The Myth Of The Crash That Caused The Stock Market To Close On Good Friday:

In the nearly five decades that I’ve been in Wall Street, each Easter season sees the re-blooming of an old – and erroneous – myth. That myth contends that the NYSE opened on a Good Friday and the terrible Black Friday crash occurred. Thus, chastened and shaken, the Governors vowed never to open on a Good Friday again. It never happened.

Thanks to the nice folks in the NYSE archives we were able to establish a few facts. Records clearly show the NYSE closed on Good Friday as far back as 1864. Before 1864 records on the subject are a bit harder to find but there is high likelihood that the Exchange closed on Good Friday all the way back to 1793. (It was founded on May 17th, 1792 so Good Friday would have already passed that year.)

There was a famous and terrible Black Friday crash in Wall Street but it was primarily in the gold market. It came about when the “corner” on gold that Jay Gould and Jim Fisk had constructed (with some help from President Grant’s brother-in-law), collapsed. That occurred on September 24th, 1869, a little late in the year for Good Friday. You will also note from the search of the records that the NYSE was closing on Good Friday at least five years earlier and probably, much, much longer.

Lastly, for some unexplained reason, the NYSE stayed open on three Good Fridays. On April 8, 1898, the Dow closed down a half point. That’s hardly a crash. On the other two, April 13th, 1906 (a Friday the 13th) and March 29th, 1907, the Dow actually rose.

Category: Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

9 Responses to “The Myth Of The Good Friday Stock Crash”

  1. sblitz says:

    the urban legend i heard as to why the stock market closes on good friday is that in the olden days when all transactions were done by hand the young clerks were mostly catholic and they weren’t showing up to work on this very religious holiday. no clerks, no trading. not sure this is true, but it is the reason i have heard over the years.

  2. Barnnie says:

    Hi sblitz,
    Sounds reasonable & realistic to me! (good reply…)

  3. somrz says:

    simplest answer…..Easter theoretically is the most holy holiday in Christianity (though you’d never know from all the bunnies running around TV)–in the old days among the 18th cent. Protestants that founded the NYSE Easter was much, much, much more important than Xmas.

    Add the fact that Passover is the same weekend, a good excuse to have a three-day weekend.

  4. comet52 says:

    They opened for two Good Friday’s in a row in 1906-7 and tempted fate–the panic of 1907 ensued and they learned their lesson.

    I’m making that up but it sounds really, really good, like sex with Kate Upton.

  5. KeithOK says:

    I’m not sure how well the young clerks being mostly Catholic thing fits with the NYSE closing on Fridays back to 1793. Why would most of the clerks be Catholic way back then? Even later, as waves of Catholic immigrants came from Ireland, Italy and Germany it’s doubtful that they immediately became the dominant group of clerks. Not that there weren’t any Catholics living in New York when the NYSE started, just that I can’t see any reason they’d dominate a profession.

  6. PeterR says:

    Glad to hear that Mr. Cashin is still with us. I stopped watching CNBC years ago, and his reports are the main thing I miss, followed by Bill Seidman’s commentary (I know, bad linkage of thoughts here).

    Enjoy the weekend Mr. Cashin, and douse those ice cubes with some fine scotch indeed!

  7. Futuredome says:

    NYSE wasn’t founded by Protestants my friend. Protestants were the labor.

  8. Iamthe50percent says:

    @somerz Easter and Passover are not always the same. Easter is based on a formula that uses a solar calendar, either Gregorian (Catholics and Protestants) or Julian (Greek and Russian Orthodox), while Passover is based on a Lunar Calendar (like Tet). The length ratio of a Lunar year to a Solar year (either flavor) is not a rational number, so Easter and Passover dates orbit chaotically within a bounded interval.

  9. ToNYC says:

    Easter happens to be the 1st Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. Passover is the 1st Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. What formula do you need to make it difficult to see the filled in and empty little circles on the calendar after March 20th? Bounded intervals orbits in chaos save me!
    Klaatu Berada Nictu.