Many investors do not remember October 19th 1987.
That was the day the stock market crashed. The Dow fell over 500 points/23% in one day. The crash was a culmination of a decline that had started in August.
It is important to note that gold served as the best source of liquidity during that crisis and increased in price between October and the end of 1987.
We bring this up because there is an important article on Marketwatch that points out distinct parallels between the conditions that existed in 1987 and today:
Current drop echoes 1987 crash prelude
By Jon D. Markman
The Dow Jones Industrials have fallen 450 points over the past two days, and a lot of the blame has been placed on the re-election of the president. But anyone paying attention to the market over the past three months recognizes that the peak was actually made the week that the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing. That was expected to be a positive event, but in retrospect, it ushered in a rolling thunder of value-eroding news events.
Soon after began a very underwhelming earnings reporting season, word of a deepening industrial slump in China, a broadening recession in Europe and the martyrdom of Spain. And then this week it suddenly dawned on people that if U.S. lawmakers can’t stop acting like stuck-up brats, then $1.2 trillion worth of ham-handed spending cuts and tax increases are about toplotz on red states and blue states alike in the coming year.
Independent estimates suggest that would shave four percentage points off GDP faster than you can say “sequestration,” or “defenestration” for that matter, and lead to millions of lost jobs. It looks like the president would be OK with that, since he booked a tour of Myanmar for next week.
In short, the election put an exclamation mark on a parade of indignities, but it is far from the only proximate cause. Investors have liquidated U.S. assets for a while; it’s just more noticeable this week.