It has been 20 years since the stock market crash of 1987. Many were predicting that this was the end of the world as we know it (Insert REM music here). Others saw the crash as a buying opportunity. It turns out that the buyers were probably right.
If we look at a chart of the major market indices such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poors 500 and the Russell 1000 have done quite nicely over the last 20 years. In fact, the "crash" shows barely a blip on a historical chart.
The 1987 crash brought an onslaught of arbitration claims. It wiped out billions of dollars of net worth and pointed out weaknesses in various systems. Daily trading volume on the NYSE was over 600 million shares during the crash period -- and the system was strained. Now, daily trading volume regularly tops 1 billion shares without a hitch.
This year marks the 215th anniversary of the execution of the Buttonwood Agreement, which marked the formation of the NYSE. Much has changed, including the fact that the exchange is now publicly held instead of owned just by its members. But the basics remain the same. Buy good stocks and remember the reason they were purchased during market downturns.