Since the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s creation in 1896, there have been several crashes and several days of huge gains. The biggest moves can be defined in two ways: either by percentage change or by change in points.
In terms of gains, the largest single-day point gain occurred on October 13, 2008, when the Dow rose 936 points (11%) – the sudden leap occurred during a time of wild upside and downside volatility, and was in response to unexpected positive global economic news.
The largest percentage gain was on March 15, 1933, when the Dow gained over 15% (but this only amounted to 8.26 points, since the entire market index of the Dow Jones was 62.10). The gain was a response to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (FDR) Emergency Banking Act, aimed towards reforming the bank system.
In terms of losses, the greatest single-day point loss happened on September 29, 2008, when the Dow closed down 777.68 points (a 7% drop). The sharp decline was in response to the news that the House rejected the proposed bank bailout plan.
The greatest single-day percentage loss happened on October 19, 1987, when the Dow lost 508 points, which amounted to a 22.61% loss. This day became known as Black Monday (stock markets all over the world crashed, fed by a chain reaction of investor panic). The market still finished positive that year, however.
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