Stock Market Performance: Best & Worst Days, Weeks, Months, Years

by Michael on Oct 19, 2012

Photo of Old Stock Certificates

Ever wondered about the best and worst daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly performances of the stock market?

Well, wonder no more… You’ll find the relevant data, based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), listed below.

Note that all of these data points are listed in terms of percentage gains/losses, and are current as of October 2012.

Five best days in the stock market

  1. 03/15/1933, +15.3%
  2. 10/06/1931, +14.9%
  3. 10/30/1929, +12.3%
  4. 06/22/1931, +11.9%
  5. 09/21/1932, +11.4%

Five worst days in the stock market

  1. 10/19/1987, -22.6%
  2. 10/28/1929, -13.5%
  3. 10/29/1929, -11.7%
  4. 10/05/1931, -10.7%
  5. 11/06/1929, -9.9%

Five best weeks in the stock market

  1. Week of 1931-06-22, +18.2%
  2. Week of 1932-08-01, +16.2%
  3. Week of 1938-06-20, +14.2%
  4. Week of 1932-07-25, +13.0%
  5. Week of 1933-03-15, +12.8%

Five worst weeks in the stock market

  1. Week of 10/06/2008, -18.2%
  2. Week of 07/17/1933, -15.6%
  3. Week of 09/10/2001, -14.3%
  4. Week of 05/13/1940, -14.2%
  5. Week of 11/04/1929, -13.5%

Five best months in the stock market

  1. 08/1932, +35.8%
  2. 04/1933, +32.0%
  3. 07/1932, +25.8%
  4. 06/1938, +24.3%
  5. 05/1933, +20.5%

Five worst months in the stock market

  1. 09/1931, -30.7%
  2. 04/1932, -23.7%
  3. 03/1938, -23.7%
  4. 10/1987, -23.2%
  5. 05/1940, -21.7%

Five best years in the stock market

  1. 1933, +63.7%
  2. 1954, +44.0%
  3. 1935, +38.5%
  4. 1975, +38.3%
  5. 1958, +34.0%

Five worst years in the stock market

  1. 1931, -52.7%
  2. 2008, -33.8%
  3. 1930, -33.8%
  4. 1937, -32.8%
  5. 1974, -27.6%

So what’s the point of this? I’m really not sure. I guess I’m just a numbers and statistics geek so I tend to think data points such as these are quite interesting. If nothing else, you can cherry pick a few numbers and wow your friends with your vast knowledge of stock market history. ;-)

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future performance, and all that jazz. But it’s still instructive to see the magnitudes of the swings that are possible over various timeframes. Amiright?

P.S. Today is the 25th anniversary of the worst day ever…


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