The Day the Bubble Burst: A Social History of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 by Gordon Thomas & Max Morgan-Witts

The Day the Bubble Burst: A Social History of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 by Gordon Thomas & Max Morgan-Witts

Author:Gordon Thomas & Max Morgan-Witts [Thomas, Gordon & Morgan-Witts, Max]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Mobilism
Publisher: Open Road Media
Published: 2014-07-02T00:00:00+00:00

Grouped together around the ticker in his office, Billy Durant and his visitors were unaware the tape was running late, but they were in no doubt the market was experiencing the busiest August any of them could remember. Oris Van Sweringen tore off a strip of tape and put it in his pocket; it would survive as a memento of a morning when, in his brother Mantis’ view, “the market was going mad.”

Durant, the Van Sweringens, and John J. Raskob, the fourth man in the room, instantly and silently translated the coded symbols. Almost every reported stock was gaining ground.

Durant turned away from the ticker and led his guests to the grouped armchairs. He had invited them to his office as part of his policy of talking to fellow speculators and reminding them, as he had done with Charles Mitchell, of the continued need to be seen to be bullish.

Raskob, as usual, was volubly enthusiastic. An interview with him had just appeared in the Ladies’ Home Journal under the title “Everybody Ought to Be Rich”; it was a blatant plea for increased investment in the stock market.

Durant said he welcomed the article; he was also interested to hear the intentions of the Van Sweringens. The bachelor brothers had built a $3 billion railroad empire by trading in securities on a vast scale.

They assured him they planned to remain active in the market for the rest of the year.

The conversation moved on to other topics. Durant casually inquired about the prospects for General Motors; the auto stock was at a new high.

The others sensed what might lie behind the question. Each had heard the whispers from Detroit about Mott’s marriage heading for the divorce courts. That could mean Mott would be increasingly occupied with his domestic crisis and unable to devote his full attention to General Motors.

All four men knew that while Alfred Sloan was still very much in command at GM, anything could happen should Mott’s personal problems become public during the coming months. A company’s shares had slipped in the past because some private trauma of a key executive became known.

The situation at General Motors was worth watching carefully. If its shares began to fall, there might be a need for quick support action to avert any overall drop in the market.


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