The S&P/TSX composite index (TSX) was down — at one point — by 450 points on Thursday, May 6, 2010, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed almost 1,000 points before recovering much of that ground. Big numbers, for sure. Had those numbers held, the Dow would have suffered its largest one-day point drop ever.

But the fall would've been nowhere near the biggest percentage-wise.

Here's a list of some of the largest one-day swings on the markets.

Going down


The closing quote for the TSX, showing the Toronto market down over 840 points, is displayed in the financial district in Toronto on Sept. 29, 2008. ((J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press))

Sept. 29, 2008: The TSX tumbles 840.93 points as the U.S. House of Representatives votes against a bail-out bill. It was a fall of 6.9 per cent. Meanwhile, the Dow fell by 777.68 points to close at 10,365.45. While both drops rank as number one on their point parades, the Dow's tumble — 6.98 per cent — is only number 20 on the percentage chart.

Oct. 15, 2008: The Dow falls 733.08 points — or 7.87 per cent — to close at 8,577.91. The TSX shed 631 points — or more than six per cent — to close at 9323. The loss came two days after the markets scored their biggest one-day point gains ever.

Sept. 17, 2001: The Dow falls 684.81 points to close at 8,920.70 in the wake of the terror attacks on the United States. At a loss of 7.13 per cent, it's the 17th largest drop in terms of percentage points.

Dec. 1, 2008: The Dow sheds 679.95 points to close at 8,149.09 points for the fourth-largest point drop ever. It's the 12th largest drop percentage-wise at 7.7 per cent. The TSX, meanwhile, posted its largest-ever point drop at 846.41 points to close at 8,406.21. Percentage-wise, the fall is 9.3 per cent, second only to the 11.3 per cent plunge on Black Monday — Oct. 19, 1987. While the fall is connected to ongoing global financial difficulties, it coincides with the day that the federal Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois sign a deal to form a coalition government, if they are successful in beating the Conservatives in a vote of no-confidence.

Oct. 9, 2008: As the global economy sputters, the Dow sheds another 678.91 points — or 7.33 per cent. In Toronto, the TSX gave up 456 points to close at 9,600 — a drop of 4.5 per cent. The day had started off on a promising note: the TSX was up 300 points shortly after the opening bell, only to head steeply downward after sentiment turned bearish.

Oct. 19, 1987: The pullback on Black Monday was 508 points in New York — only the 11th-largest in terms of points, but it was the biggest percentage-wise at 22.61 per cent. The Toronto market closed down 11 per cent, posting a loss of 407.2 points.

Oct. 28, 1929: The original Black Monday saw the Dow fall by 38.33 points — an unprecedented fall. The market closed at 260.64 that day, which represented a tumble of 12.82 per cent. That's the second biggest fall on record. Black Monday was followed by Black Tuesday and — a week later — Black Thursday, which saw drops of 11.73 per cent and 9.92 per cent respectively.

Going up

Oct. 13, 2008: In the largest-ever point gain in the Dow's history, the industrial average shot up by 936.42 points — or 11.08 per cent. The gain was the fifth largest in terms of per cent. It came in the midst of the economic woes of 2008, as governments around the world committed trillions to easing the global credit crunch. Markets in Canada were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.


An electronic board shows the TSX composite index at the close of trading Oct. 14, 2008. ((Robin Rowland/CBC))

Oct. 14, 2008: The TSX played catch-up with world markets as its composite index gained 890.5 points to close at 9,955.66. That represented a gain of 9.82 per cent. Early in the trading day, the market was up almost 1,600 points. It was the best single-day showing in its history, beating Sept. 9, 2008, when the index gained 848.42 points, or 7.03 per cent. A few hours after the record ride, the federal Conservatives won enough seats to form another minority government.

Oct. 28, 2008: The October 2008 roller coaster continued with a gain of 889.35 points in New York — or 10.88 per cent. That was the sixth largest gain ever in terms of per cent. The TSX rose 614.29 points, or 7.2 per cent, to close at 9,151.63.

Nov. 13, 2008: The Dow surges 552.59 points to close at 8,835.25 — an increase of 6.67 per cent. TSX was up 430 points, or 4.8 per cent, to close the session at 9,352. That represented a huge turnaround. In early trading, the TSX was off 300 points.

Mar. 16, 2000: The Dow gains 499.19 points to close at 10,630.60 points — an increase of 4.93 per cent.

Mar. 15, 1933: While the Dow only ticked up 8.16 points, it represented an increase of 15.34 per cent. The Dow closed at 62.10 that day, in the midst of the Great Depression.