Black Friday

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Black Friday

A precipitous drop in a financial market . The original Black Friday occurred on September 24, 1869, when prospectors attempted to corner the gold market.

Black Friday

1. In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday is considered the first day of the Christmas shopping season each year. It is noted for discounts and special offers on retail goods. Some retailers open at midnight to create an air of importance for the day and thus maximize shopping hours. It is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

2. In the United Kingdom, the last Friday before Christmas. It is the most common day for office Christmas parties and, as such, is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, pubs and catering companies.

3. September 24, 1869. On this day, the United States gold market fell precipitously following a price manipulation by James Fisk and Jay Gould. During the Civil War a few years before, American money was backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, but not by a commodity like gold or silver. Following the War, the federal government began buying back this currency with gold and then using the currency to redeem government bonds; this stabilized the currency but caused the price of gold to drop to its lowest level in years. Fisk and Gould took advantage of this and began buying gold, which caused the price to increase. In the process, they attempted to convince U.S. President Ulysses Grant to limit the release of gold, which drove the price even higher. The conspiracy came to a head on Black Friday when Treasury Secretary George Boutwell realized what was happening and released a large amount of government-owned gold. This caused the price to crash.

Black Friday

A widely used reference to September 24, 1869, the date on which stock market operator Jay Gould nearly cornered the gold market. Although eventually broken by government selling of the metal, the corner resulted in massive failures on Wall Street. Gould made considerable profits on the manipulation, but his brokers declared bankruptcy.