bonds of Russian privatisation, through psychodrama, Eurotunnel, the French maintain with the Exchange a relationship passionate, fluctuating, at the option of booms and crashes. The end of the year 2017 marks many anniversaries. Without rising up to the bolshevik revolution of 1917, which saw the ruin of the savers French, ten years ago began the sub-prime crisis, the more serious bankruptcy banking since the crash of 1929. It is also the 30th anniversary of the crash of October 1987 and the creation of the CAC 40 index.

Since then, the heart of the stock Exchange of Paris beats to the rhythm of this flagship index. The CAC 40, it’s a bit like the index of consumer prices, except that it does not measure the inflation of the consumer basket, but the yo-yo of a basket of shares of the 40 largest listed companies on the Paris stock Exchange. As the price index, the CAC 40 does not measure the absolute price of the shares in euros, but their evolution from a starting point, called “base”.

When it sees the light of day, to a starting level of 1000 points -“base 1000”, December 31, 1987, the Stock market has experienced five years of euphoria, from 1982 to 1986, punctuated by a crash as Wall Street had not been known since 1929. At the end of 1986, a large-scale campaign of State encourages the public to buy shares in the framework of the privatization of the government Chirac: Paribas, Saint-Gobain, the general electricity Company (the future Alcatel-Alstom), the Société générale and Crédit commercial de France Havas or TF1. Millions of savers are discovering the hopes and fears of the stock market.

The stock market crash of October 1987 quickly erased

But, as often in finance, a bad wind blows in the United States. Monday, October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones index of the New York stock exchange plunged 22.6%. As bank branches are closed on Monday, investors in French are waking up trapped. Invited by Catherine Deneuve in tv adverts to “enter the bank”, thousands of investors have purchased the shares of Compagnie financière de Suez, whose price collapses before they can sell. While France is home to 6.2 million individual shareholders at the end of 1987, compared to 1.7 million five years earlier, many will be disgusted of the stock Exchange.

This crash, however, is quickly cleared (in just fifteen months!), but a new storm is brewing in the desert. In 1991, America is already in a recession when it enters into war against Iraq, while a real estate crisis results in the bankruptcy of 1600 savings american and many european banks.

The shareholding maligned

From 1991 to 1997, the real estate prices plunged 33% in Paris! The shareholding is no longer favored. “The Stock market, I have nothing to wax!” starts the Prime minister of the time, Edith Cresson, on may 19, 1991. On April 28, 1992, a few weeks after the resignation of the latter, the CAC 40 crosses for the first time, the 2000 points. Pierre Bérégovoy returns to the bedside of investors in creating a savings plan in shares (PEA), in September 1992, during the EMS crisis and the fall of the pound sterling are coming down the CAC-40 in the 1700 points, second jerk of the decade.

The Express

The following year, the government of Edouard Balladur stimulus of privatisation, with the act of 19 July 1993 laying down the sale of 21 public groups that will attract new investors: 2.8 million shareholders for BNP in October 1993, 3 million to Elf in February 1994, without forgetting the UAP (1994) and Rhone-Poulenc (1993), or even Renault (1996).

The stock market environment of this decade, however, is not without clouds, between the mexican peso crisis and the crash bond of 1994, which marks the second year of decline of the decade, the shipwrecks of the channel tunnel or Euro Disney, the crisis of the thai baht and the emerging markets in 1997, or the default of Russia in 1998, which blew up the biggest hedge fund on the planet, LTCM, threatening to cause major banks, including the Société générale, in its wake.

The years of recklessness before the Internet bubble

in Spite of these shakes disturbing, the memory of which fades quickly, the Stock market is driven by a wind of recklessness during the last years of the Twentieth century, thanks to the storm the Internet and promises of its “new economy”. Sold at 27 euros, the shares in France Télécom attract 3.8 million shareholders in the fall of 1997. They flamberont up to 219 euros, in march 2000, before collapsing. Reflection of these excesses, the CAC-40 crosses the 3000 points in the summer of 1997, 4000 points in the spring of 1998, 5000 points in November 1999, 6,000 points in February 2000, until the absolute record of 6945 points, on 4 September 2000.

But the story stutters. The Internet bubble burst in 2001 and continues in 2002 on the background of the scandals and bankruptcy was fraudulent: WorldCom, Enron and its law firm of auditors wormy, Arthur Andersen, Altran in France with its false balance sheets certified by the cabinet Ricol, or Vivendi that avoids the default on payment. America is already in a recession for months when she returns to the war against Iraq, after the attacks of September 11, which disfigure Manhattan, razing the twin towers of the World Trade Center. In thirty months, between the peak of September 2000 and the trough in march 2003, the CAC 40 index falls by 65%, 2401 points.

investors take the path of the Exchange

while many investors are fleeing the Stock market, ruined by speculations, or investments to be misleading, the number of individual shareholders continues to grow, surpassing 7 million in 2002 and 2003, thanks to the privatisation of Air France and Crédit lyonnais (3.4 million subscribers in 1999) and Credit agricole (2.5 million subscribers at the end of 2001).

Sources: BdF, COB, TNS Sofres, AMF, compiled by

The Express

The new technologies also facilitate the access of investors to the Stock market. Then they had to pay to view the course on Minitel, a start-up of strasbourg, launches the first website to stock information free of charge, Boursorama, before being absorbed by the Société générale, which merges it with its subsidiary, Fimatex. Online brokers attack rates of banks on transactions on the stock exchange.

To revive the economy, the central banks, such as that of United States, grant to banks loans almost free, up to 0.5% in 2003. In 2005, further privatization regarnissent the ranks of small shareholders, with 3.1 million subscribers to Gaz de France and a record 4.9 million for EDF.

The financial crisis shakes the world

In recent decades, multinational companies in the CAC 40 valsent arm in arm with strokes of mergers and TAKEOVER bids: BNP swallows Paribas (1999), HSBC CCF (2000), Total, Elf Aquitaine (2000), the Crédit agricole pays the Credit lyonnais (2002), Sanofi gobbles Rhone-Poulenc (2004), Lyonnaise des eaux seizes Suez (1997) and then of Gaz de France (2006), Arcelor passes under control of the indian Mittal (2006) and Lafarge under the swiss Holcim (2015), while Alcatel and Alstom are engulfed in the same year by Nokia, and General Electric. The 40 names of the index change at the discretion of their glory.

Boosted by the influx of money, the CAC 40 rebounded sharply, reaching a peak of 6168 points on June 1, 2007. But the machine grinds to a halt again. The most severe banking crisis since the 1930s jeopardized the entire world on a background of scandals and bankruptcies fraudulent: Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock, the insurer AIG and Citibank, Fortis, Dexia, Société générale and the savings banks are trapped by their speculation on the securitisation of bad loans, sub-prime mortgages. In twenty-one months, the CAC 40 index falls again to 60% compared to its peak of 2007, with 2465 points, 9 march 2009.

The CAC 40, a recognized symbol of the general public

The States and the central banks will do everything possible to save the financial system and restore confidence, reducing interest rates to zero, the price of a debt overhang public that will trigger in turn the sovereign debt crisis, threatening to shatter the single currency. While the Stock market has barely raised in 2010, she plunges in 2011 and 2012. Many individual shareholders have thrown in the towel, only more than 4 million in 2011, and 2.9 million in 2016.

But the economy will eventually quiver and the CAC 40 takes the opportunity to back above 5000 points in the spring of 2015. At the approach of its 30th anniversary, the CAC 40 index today a level not seen since January 2008. Taking into account the billions of euros of dividends distributed and reinvested each year to purchase new shares, the CAC 40 index and recalculated would reach 11000 points, an increase of 1000% in thirty years, equivalent to 8.3% of annual gain medium.

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in The spring of 2017, the number of shareholders rose 20% year on year, to $ 3.5 million. The CAC 40 has risen to the rank of a stock symbol recognized by the general public, and even parodied, in a spirit of pedagogical or slapstick, with the show “Dr CAC” on tv, or the cartoon of Martin Veyron, Pooping Pension.


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