While financial markets sometimes mark time, more often than not they are advancing or correcting. Bull markets eventually are followed by bear interludes; booms; panics; and busts are part of a recurring cycle that marks the course of securities markets. No boom, panic, or bust ever looks exactly like another one, yet most seem to share some attributes-and knowing what these are may help you to better follow and understand financial and economic events. Booms are well underway before they are generally recognized. Busts occur quickly-often in a week or two (or less!). Panics sometimes (but not always) follow a bust; these are dramatic affairs, closely watched, inspiring sentiments of terror and awe. Unless there is a lender of last resort to provide liquidity and restore confidence, panics may be followed by economic depressions. Still, it's important to remember that fully accurate and reliable knowledge of such matters is possible only in retrospect: as Will Rogers once remarked, "never make predictions, especially about the future." The New Deal was America's most important reaction to financial and economic turbulence- specifically, the Great Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed it. The reforms of the 1930s had long-lasting effects, among which were the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), reform in the governance of the New York Stock Exchange, and the Glass Steagall Act (which separated investment banking from commercial banking, and established Federal Deposit Insurance).