This Day in Market History: The Dissolution of the Soviet Union

By Benzinga
December 8, 2021 Updated: December 8, 2021

Each day, Benzinga will take a look back at a notable market-related moment that happened on this date.

What Happened?

On Dec. 8, 1991, the Soviet Union, America’s Cold War rivals for decades, officially dissolved.

Where Was the Market?

The S&P 500 closed the previous week at 379.10, and the Dow closed at 2,886.40.

What Else Was Going On in the World?

U.S. minimum wage was just $4.25 per hour, and the top song of the year was “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams.

The End of the Cold War

By the time the USSR. officially dissolved in 1991, the writing had been on the wall for years.

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 amid revolutions throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The Soviet Communist party tried one last power grab by launching a failed coup against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991. However, the coup failed thanks to forces led by Russian president Boris Yeltsin.

On Dec. 8, 1991, Yeltsin was among the group that officially signed documents abolishing the 74-year-old Soviet Union and creating a “Commonwealth of Independent States,” including Ukraine, Byelorussia, and Russia.

U.S. stocks had rallied for months in anticipation of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and traders actually took profits on the rally on the day following the Soviet dissolution, sending the Dow lower by 0.5 percent.

Still, it was a strong year for U.S. stocks overall. The Dow finished the month of December up 9.4 percent and finished 1991 up 20.3 percent on the year.

By Wayne Duggan

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