The stock market crash of 1929 is inexorably linked to the Great Depression--in many people's minds they are one and the same. In reality, the sudden crash on October 24, 1929 merely signaled the beginning of twelve years of depression; the market's low point wouldn't happen for another three-plus years.
After an interim low in mid-November, stocks came roaring back over the next six months and values grew by an unbelievable 50 percent.
Similarly, six months after the stock market crashed in the fall of 2008, the Dow Jones surged 41 percent, and it kept climbing.
The "sucker rally" 80 years ago was short-lived. By mid-1930, the market steadily declined before bottoming out in 1932.
In the last month, the Dow shed 15% of its value, including a 634-point drop on Monday. Is this the end of the sucker rally, where we begin a long slide into a depression? Maybe, maybe not.
But it is important to note that the stock market during the Great Depression didn't reach its bottom overnight, and there were even periods where it rallied. We tend to think of it as a sudden drop to the bottom where we stayed for a decade. However, the market went down, it went up, it went down again, before finally resting at the bottom.