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Timeline on the Great Recession

From Lehman Brothers collapse to the wrenching swings of the stock market – a look back at the major events that marked the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The American flag and a sign for Wall St. are shown outside the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, July 15, 2013 in New York.

Mark Lennihan/AP

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2006 - July: US home prices peak after decades of financial deregulation and government promotion of home ownership.

2007 - April 2: New Century Financial Corp., a major subprime lender, files for bankruptcy.

Oct. 9: The stock market hits an all-time high, with the Dow at 14,164.

December: The recession officially begins. The unemployment rate stands at 5 percent.

Dec. 12: The Fed creates a Term Auction Facility to lend to ailing financial institutions.

2008 - Jan. 30: The Fed reduces short-term interest rates for the fifth time in four months, to 3 percent. (The rate was 5.25 in September 2007.)

Feb. 13: President George W. Bush signs the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which gives individuals a tax rebate and encourages business investment.

March 16: Brokerage firm Bear Stearns collapses and is bought out by JPMorgan Chase.

April 30: The Fed reduces short-term interest rates to 2 percent.

Sept. 7: The federal government takes over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Sept. 15: Lehman Brothers files the largest bankruptcy case in US history.

Sept. 16: The Fed bails out insurance giant AIG.

Oct. 3: Bush signs into law an emergency bailout package that establishes the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Oct. 6-10: The Dow suffers its worst weekly loss in history, falling 1,874 points, or 18 percent.

Oct. 28: The US Treasury gives out the first TARP money, totaling $125 billion, to nine banks.

Oct. 29: The Fed's short-term interest rate, after several more drops, hits 1 percent.


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