NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 1929 (UP) - Five billion dollars in market values were swept away today in the greatest selling wave in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. Then some of the nation's most powerful bankers gave support which stopped the break.
Sales for the day totaled 12,895,650 shares, a record for all time.
Sales on the curb exchange totaled 6,337,400 shares, also a new record in the history of that market.
Bond sales on the stock exchange were at a new mark for several years, totaling $24,500,000.
The great break - which shot some prices down as much as 35 points - came after an opening whose sales reached the rate of a 16,000,000 share day.
The break was sudden. There had been rallying tendencies. Then the avalanche came. Frenzied traders fought on the floor to sell their stocks at the best available figure. They appeared to pay little heed to how low that figure might be.
Their shouts could be heard outside in Wall Street. It was almost pandemonium. Rumors of the exchange closings, of other exchanges closing, of financial disasters and of many things of similar nature were frequent.
A report from the treasury department that the market's recent losses were not due to unsound business conditions had only a momentary effect; then the market again plunged down and down, until the losses stood at $5,000,000,000 for the day and $10,000,000,000 for the latest slump period.
United States Steel went to 195. Other of the recent leaders similarly were carried down at 10,000 and 20,000 blocks a sale. Four and five hundred thousand shares of leading stocks were traded during that period.
Jesse Livermore, one of the greatest of he market operators, was buying. He bought all morning.
Then came the dramatic meeting of the bankers and the change in the tide just when the frenzy was at the height.
A.H. Wiggin, chairman of the Chase National bank; Charles E. Mitchell, chairman of the National City bank, and W.C. Potter of the Guaranty Trust company gathered in a board room at the offices of J.P. Morgan & Co. These men - among the nation's greatest financial leaders - had been called to see what was causing the break that had cost so much in market values in two days and had resulted in many small traders losing their all.
Finally Thomas P. Lamont, a partner of the Morgan company, said the financiers believed the break a technical situation, although there had been some "reckless selling."
That was what the market needed. It started forward from there, some stocks later gaining a position above yesterday's closing marks.
In the rush to sell, the entire market broke pell-mell. Steel common going down to 194: American Can lost 16, Montgomery Ward 23, National Cash register 17, American & Foreign Power 21, General Motors 7 3/8, Standard Oil of New Jersey 6 1/2 and so on down the list.
To obtain an idea of the reduction in market value on these issues, the 7 points decline in General Motors amounted to $304,500,000 and in Standard of New Jersey $144,000,000. At that rate it was not long before $5,000,000,000 was wiped out in paper profits.
Organized support appeared when the outlook was darkest. Billions were thrown into the breach. United States Steel was taken in hand first and then the other leaders received assistance. Gains from rows of 10 to 20 points were brought about in a short time.
Tickers ran so far behind, however, that it was only by messages from the floor that traders could find out how the market was turning. Bond tickers printed selected lists of prices every 10 minutes throughout the day to keep the traders informed of the trend.
At the close several stocks were higher, but the majority failed to make up all their losses.
U.S. Steel closed at 200, up 2; New York Central 208, off 2 1/2; Radio 58 1/4, off 10 1/4; General Motors 53 1/2, off 3 7/8; Westinghouse Electric 185, off 5; Chrysler 46, off 5; General Electric 308, off 6; Kennecott 75, up 8; Bethlehem Steel 101 1/2, up 1/4; Texas Gulf Sulfur 60 1/2, off 1 1/2; Montgomery Ward 74, off 9 1/4; American Telephone 269, off 3.
Consolidated Gas closed at 118 1/2, off 3; American Can 157 1/2, up 3; Standard Oil of New Jersey 68 1/2, off 5; Sears Roebuck 129, off 5 3/4; United Corporation 41 7/8, of 5 3/8; Columbia Graphophone 35, off 4 1/2; American & Foreign 97 1/2, off 14 1/2; Columbia Gas 91 1/2, off 6 1/4; Union Carbide 104 1/2, unchanged; Sinclair 28 1/4, up 1 1/4; Baltimore & Ohio 125 1/2, off 2 1/4; United Aircraft 72 1/4, off 7 3/8; Anaconda 102, unchanged; American Smelting 98 1/2, off 3 1/2; Atlantic Refining 48, off 1; Studebaker 57, off 3; Pan-American B 60 3/8, off 1 5/8; Briggs Manufacturing 18, off 1; Barnsdall 25, off 2 1/2; Andres 42 5/8, off 4 1/2; Warner Brothers 49, off 1/4; Paramount 56 1/2, off 7 1/2, and General Foods 53 7/8, off 1 5/8.
Patners of a number of leading brokerage houses were to meet late today to canvass the stock market situation. This meeting was called by Colonel J.W. Prentice of Hornblower & Weeks. In stating the meeting would be held, Prentice said that in the opinion of his house the worst market break had been experienced and that the list appeared in a position for a substantial rally.