Today isn’t just another day of deals, it’s the biggest buying holiday in the United States! It is considered the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. Retailers open early for those shoppers eager to get a jump on savings, with some retailers even opening on Thanksgiving Day! Amazon got a jump on the holiday this past Monday with promised sales all week dubbing it “Black Friday Deals Week.” Regardless of where you go you expect to get a good deal and the stores expect to earn a profit.
Although “Black Friday” can allude to profitability, the terminology has a different meaning when talking about the stock market. It takes us all the way back to 1869 with the first U.S. stock market crash. It originated with speculators in the gold market. They attempted to corner the gold market by buying all they could, while simultaneously attempting to convince President Ulysses S. Grant to limit the metal’s availability. Instead, Grant found out what they were planning and ordered the Treasury to start selling more gold. On Friday, September 24, 1896 the government sold $4,000,000 worth of gold, pushing the price down from $160 to $130 per ounce. This led to a 20% decline in the stock market over the next week and continued economic turmoil for a few months. Hence, the day is remembered in financial history as Black Friday.
Luckily, that Black Friday is way in the past but there will always be temporary price fluctuations in the market. For example, the 4th quarter of this year has seen US stocks decline about 10% from its recent high. Yet those that maintain a long-term focus and continue to dollar cost average into their diversified portfolios have historically been rewarded for staying the course.
Maybe you can find deals in the stores and deals in the markets this year on Black Friday. Just as a reminder the markets close early at 1:00pm EST.