Uncertainty, Speculation and Leverage in Stock Market Mechanisms: An Analysis from 1987 to the Present
This paper seeks to emphasize how the presence of uncertainty, speculation and leverage work in concert within the stock market to exacerbate crashes in a cyclical market. It analyzes three major stock market events: the crash of Oct. 19, 1987, “Black Monday;” the dotcom bust, from 1999 to 2002; and the subprime mortgage crisis, from 2007 to 2010. Within each event period I define determinants or measurements of uncertainty, speculation. Analysis of how these three concepts functioned during boom and bust will highlight how their presence can amplify the magnitude of a crash. This paper postulates that the amount of leverage during a crash determines how long-term its effects will be. This theory is fortified by extensive research and interviews with experts in the stock market who had a front row view of the discussed crises.