CNBC's Schacknow: Remember 1987 -- and You May Stay Bullish


Covering market meltdowns is tough. Most people are affected in some way when the market plummets as it did Thursday -- and has been doing on a regular basis over the past month.

That includes financial reporters, even though many of us are restricted in what investments we can and cannot own. And for those covering it, it’s difficult to put aside the uncomfortable feeling that your portfolio is taking a major hit, even as you try to make sense of it all for our viewers.

My first experience with this phenomenon occurred during the now-infamous crash of 1987. As I watched my portfolio disappear along with 22% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of my fellow reporters uttered the following: “My stomach hurts!”

She said it several times during the day, and it perfectly described what we were all feeling, along with the rest of America. But we pressed on, putting together many reports and interviews to try to explain one of the most cataclysmic days in Wall Street history.

I’ve experienced this many times since. The crash of 1989. The first trading day after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The China-related meltdown back in February of this year.

As keeper of market factoids, it really hits home when you look at a drop of hundreds of points in the Dow, and you discover it’s only the worst day since... hmm... last Thursday. Last Thursday?! You’d think it would be something more reasonable, like five years ago.

Nonetheless, there’s always hope. The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite all reached levels 10 percent below their most recent highs, which some experts predict means a bottom. And of course, the day after the 1987 crash was one of the most bullish in market history.

And yes, those days are much more fun to cover than days like these are.