by Gary Alexander

September 8, 2021

While everyone is bemoaning our Keystone Kops exit in Kabul, or fearing another terrorist attack on September 11, 2021, I’d like to use this holiday break to celebrate some other anniversaries this week.

Let’s start at the very beginning. America’s first permanent European settlement was created 456 years ago today. St. Augustine, Florida, was founded September 8, 1565, by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Florida’s first governor. Forget the 1619 Project and Virginia. America was born in Florida!

Moving north, we all know what happened on 9-11 – an attack on New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. But those regions were the center of attacks by foreign forces long ago on 9-11 in history.

First of all, imagine how the Native Americans viewed the apparition of a white-sailed “air-water plane” on September 11, 1609, when Henry Hudson entered New York harbor, landing on Manhattan Island and thereby shocking the natives, before sailing up the “Hudson” river that was eventually named after him.

Henry Hudson entering New York Bay Painting Image

The British invaded Manhattan again. After taking Long Island and Brooklyn in August 1776, British Generals Howe met in a peace confab with John Adams and Ben Franklin on Staten Island on September 11, giving General Washington time to move his Manhattan-based troops up to Harlem. On September 15, the British generals (in the words of Rodgers & Hart) took “Manhattan, and Staten Island, too!”

Then they moved to rural Pennsylvania for their next Attack on America on the following September 11.

On September 11, 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania, British and Hessian troops under Sir William Howe defeated the American forces under General George Washington. The few surviving Americans retreated to Chester, Pennsylvania, while the British continued their advance on Philadelphia.

America fought back on September 11, 1814, at the Battle of Lake Champlain in New York, toward the end of the War of 1812, when a newly built U.S. fleet under Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough destroyed a British squadron, forcing the British to abandon their siege of the U.S. fort at Plattsburg and retreat to Canada on foot, leading directly to peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium later that year.

Maybe Osama bin Laden studied history too, since an advance of Islamic armies had been stymied on the other side of the world twice on 9-11. First, the Ottoman Empire advanced through the Balkans deep into Europe before finally meeting its Waterloo in Vienna on September 11, 1683, in a remarkable (some say miraculous) counter-attack by united forces under King John Sobieski of Poland (see Battle of Vienna.)

The Saudi state under the Wahhabi sect was also defeated by invading Egyptians on September 11, 1818. (Maybe future released documents will reveal that the selection of September 11 had some significance.)

Hurricanes Often Hurt the U.S. Economy on 9-11

On September 11, 1857, the U.S. Central America, carrying a large shipment of gold and nouveau riche passengers, was caught in a Category 2 hurricane off the coast of South Carolina. After much heroic struggle against wind and water, the ship sank the next day at the cost of 423 lives and a cargo of $1.6 million (80,000 Troy ounces) in gold coins from the San Francisco mint. The dollar loss, small by today’s standards, exacerbated an already serious credit crunch in New York and deepened the Panic of 1857.

On September 10, 1899, a series of earthquakes hit Yakutat Bay, Alaska, one of them causing the largest vertical displacement ever recorded: Shorelines rose over 47 feet in one area. But very few people lived in that region of Alaska, and there were no known casualties, unlike what struck the Gulf Coast a year later.

On September 9, 1900, Galveston, Texas was struck by the deadliest natural disaster in American history, killing at least 8,000, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph lasting 18 hours. Galveston was rebuilt, eventually, but further inland and about 15 feet higher. (See “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larsen.) Adjusted for inflation, Galveston was the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history, after the 1926 Miami hurricane.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

The two most intense hurricanes in U.S. history hit land on September 9 & 11 in the 1960s. Using the Hurricane Severity Index, which measures hurricanes by intensity and size on a scale of 1 to 25, they are:

Hurricane Date hit coast First Landfall Intensity + Size = Total
  CARLA   September 11, 1961   Texas   17   + 25   = 42
  BETSY   September 9, 1965   Louisiana   15   + 25   = 40

The third worst, Hurricane Camille in 1969, was also “the second most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the U.S., behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane” (Wikipedia), so don’t buy into any convenient myths that unusual weather patterns are getting worse in recent years. It was worse back then.

Now, let’s move into the stock market news.

Big News on Wall Street on or Near September 11

Three years before “Wall Street” was born, on September 11, 1789, Alexander Hamilton was appointed the first Secretary of the Treasury, fittingly to serve on Wall Street as our nation’s first cabinet officer.

And on September 9, 1901, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) officials laid the cornerstone for a new stock exchange building at 18 Broad Street. It was finished in 1903 and is still operational today.

Big News on Wall Street on or about September 11 Images

On September 16, 1920, the worst terrorist act on Wall Street struck as a shrapnel-laden cart was parked in front of J.P. Morgan at Wall & Broad streets and then detonated at noon, killing 38 and injuring hundreds.

September and October are hurricane season on Wall Street as well as in the Gulf Coast. Historically, these are the two worst months in the 20th Century – but they’re not so bad in the 21st Century!

Standard and Poor's 500 Index Seasonality Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

Here are some past market hurricanes gathering force during this week in the volatile 1970s and 1980s:

  • On September 8, 1974 (a Sunday), President Gerald Ford pardoned former president Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office. On the next Monday morning, the market continued its long free-fall. In the week of September 9-13, the S&P 500 fell by 8.7%.
  • On September 8, 1978, the Dow had a great day, rising to an interim peak of 907.74, but that marked the high point of the late 1970s. The Dow then fell by 16.4% going into early 1980.
  • On September 11, 1986, the Dow fell 86.61 points to 1792.89, the largest daily point loss, on the highest volume (237.57 million) in market history, to that time, on NO real news. The next day, Friday, September 12, a record 240.5 million shares traded on the Big Board, breaking the previous day’s record. For the week ending September 12, 1986, the Dow fell 8.4%, from 1919 to 1758. However, the Dow would gain 55% within 12 months, mostly on a huge new tax cut bill!
  • On September 9, 1987, new Fed Chair Alan Greenspan made a pre-emptive strike against phantom inflation by raising the Discount Rate half a percent (50 basis points), and the Dow fell 62 points (-2.5%). This rookie blunder turned out to be the first warning shot of the Crash of ‘87.

By contrast, the market was eerily calm on Monday, September 10, 2001, when the Dow changed less than half a point, falling from 9605.9 to 9605.5. Then all hell broke loose, but the key point to remember is that the market recovered by Thanksgiving. As usual, America becomes resilient when facing threats.

Market Recovery during a Crisis Charts

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

One lesson from these and other historical crises: Don’t panic when everyone else does; this too shall pass.

All content above represents the opinion of Gary Alexander of Navellier & Associates, Inc.

Please see important disclosures below.

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About The Author

Gary Alexander
SENIOR EDITOR

Gary Alexander has been Senior Writer at Navellier since 2009.  He edits Navellier’s weekly Marketmail and writes a weekly Growth Mail column, in which he uses market history to support the case for growth stocks.  For the previous 20 years before joining Navellier, he was Senior Executive Editor at InvestorPlace Media (formerly Phillips Publishing), where he worked with several leading investment analysts, including Louis Navellier (since 1997), helping launch Louis Navellier’s Blue Chip Growth and Global Growth newsletters.

Prior to that, Gary edited Wealth Magazine and Gold Newsletter and wrote various investment research reports for Jefferson Financial in New Orleans in the 1980s.  He began his financial newsletter career with KCI Communications in 1980, where he served as consulting editor for Personal Finance newsletter while serving as general manager of KCI’s Alexandria House book division.  Before that, he covered the economics beat for news magazines. All content of “Growth Mail” represents the opinion of Gary Alexander

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