The word ‘black’ means different things to different people.
In trading, being ‘in the black’ means being in the money, but having a ‘black’ day means you are having a bad one. In the market it always seems to be a Friday (though the 1929 crash is known as Black Tuesday).
Black Friday in the US has yet another meaning. It’s the day after Thanksgiving, which is the third Thursday in November and has its origins as a day of giving thanks for the end of the harvest season. Following the harvest and sale of produce, farmers – who a couple of centuries ago made up the major portion of the workforce – went out and did their major spend on basics they had done without for many months. They stocked up for the coming winter.
Today farmers no longer make up most of the workforce, but the tradition of consumers parting with dollars on the Friday after Thanksgiving lives on. Black Friday is considered the beginning of the big Christmas spend. Sales on ‘Black Friday’ are the litmus test of the health of the US consumer economy. This Friday, US time, there will be great anxiety regarding retail sales results. They will indicate how fragile or strong the US economy is after the recent sub-prime dramas.
It will be a spending day watched worldwide as most global bourses are following the DOW to a tee – meaning down. Everyone will be looking for a day that will relieve some of the doom that pervades the general investing outlook.
By the time you read this, we may already know what black means this time around.
Enjoy the ride!