Autumn has been so slow acoming that leaves are still green on the trees. The breeze has been getting warmer still this week. Last night's weather forecast contained no hint of a hurricane. And the stock market has been going great guns.

That is how it was this morning nine years ago, October 19, 1987, "Black Monday" when the stock market staged its biggest one-day rout since 1929. All right, those with sharp memories will recall that I have shrunk that year's events - the hurricane struck the previous Friday, so almost nobody was around to take avoiding action when Wall Street fell off the cliff that afternoon. Everyone had the whole weekend to decide to dump their shares first thing Monday.

Even so, those who blamed the stock market debacle on what then passed for a monstrous US trade deficit, will be relieved to get through today without drama. Jim Wood-Smith at Williams de Broe notes that the Americans a nnounced an all-time monthly record for their trade gap last week.

The better news is that in the year before the crash the 100-share Footsie had rocketed by 43 per cent. This time the gain is a mere 17 per cent - fewer profits to grab in a panic.

Another difference is that in 1987 shares in West Midlands companies were leading the charge. That August, an enthusiastic reader worked out that the shares tipped in this newspaper by Birmingham stockbrokers the previous Christmas had beaten every other measure of the stock market.

The M&G Midlands & Industrial unit trust was topping the league of packaged investments. M&G gave up on that one years ago.

There is nothing magically jinxed about October 19. It has passed uneventfully since and will doubtless do so today. I just wish there was a bite of autumn in the air.

-------------- Just look, Legal & General has attracted £7 billion in new savings over the past year. Credit card holders are paying money back pretty well as fast as they borrow it - more so in one recent month.

Retail sales are rising more slowly than earnings. The Brits are starting to save again.

Or are they? Look a little harder and you find that a lot of that £7 billion was money transferred from other companies, mortgage lending hitting or just missing new records every month, and petrol and utility bills mopping up much of the earnings that are not going into the shops.

Still, L&G's Tim Breedon does detect a change, dating back to last winter. Rising share prices - for 43 months now - have given a fillip to ISA sales, and the message that you need to save more than ever for old age is starting to get through.

So far the impact of Gordon Brown's "A" day pensions reform has not been huge. Still, that could change once someone promotes the idea that you can save outside a pension during your working life - so you can always get at the money in a crisis - then switch it into a pension just before you retire and get tax relief on the lot. That goes for an inheritance, too. It really is a new world.