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Stock Strategist

Black Monday, Take Two

A quick look at what happened on Sept. 29.

It was the worst day in the U.S. stock market since Black Monday in October 1987. In fact, in terms of the absolute dollar market value wiped out--more than $1 trillion--Sept. 29, 2008, is the worst day on record.

And while academics still argue about what caused the market meltdown back in 1987, we had no shortage of reasons for this week's version. The day started off badly, and only got worse. First came news over the weekend of continued financial turmoil in Europe, with governments and central bankers stepping in to rescue several troubled institutions. Then came the announcement of the shotgun marriage of a crippled  Wachovia (WB) with  Citigroup (C), which was hastily arranged before the market's open. Then later on Monday morning came downgrades of  Apple (AAPL) by sell-side analysts, which triggered a sharp decline in the technology sector.