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Stock Market

  • Fake realism is the escapist literature of our time. And probably the ultimate escapist reading is that masterpiece of total unreality, the daily stock market report.

  • In America, snobs who wouldn't be seen dead with a lottery ticket play the stock market. We like to gamble. Winning, we have closed our eyes, leapt across the yawning abyss, and landed knee-deep in daisies. Even losing has a certain gloomy glamour: the gods of chance are worthy opponents; we have engaged them in hand-to-hand combat and though we lost, at least we shrank not from the contest.

  • ... no share-pusher could vend his worthless stock, if he could not count on meeting, in his prospective victim, an unscrupulous avarice as vicious as his own, but stupider. Every time a man expects, as he says, his money to work for him, he is expecting other people to work for him ...

  • When he came back from the gallery of the Stock Exchange ... [h]e said hats went out of that place every day that would never smile again.

  • The truth is that once you get down on the trading floor, you find that the traders come from all walks of life. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be a trader. In fact, some of the best traders whom I knew down on the floor were surf bums. Formal education didn't really seem to have much to do with a person's skill as a trader.

  • If you ever find yourself tempted to seek out someone else's opinion on a trade, that's usually a sure sign that you should get out of your position.

  • I believe that only short-term price swings can be predicted with any precision. The accuracy of a prediction drops off dramatically, the more distant the forecast time. I'm a strong believer in chaos theory.

  • There are too many unpredictable things that can happen within two months. To me, the ideal trade lasts ten days, but I approach every trade as if I'm only going to hold it two or three days.

  • Some of the best trades come when everyone gets very panicky. The crowd can often act very stupidly in the markets. You can picture price fluctuations around an equilibrium level as a rubber band being stretched — if it gets pulled too far, eventually it will snap back. As a short-term trader, I try to wait until the rubber band is stretched to its extreme point.

  • Perhaps my number one rule is: Don't try to make a profit on a bad trade, just try to find the best place to get out.

  • I try to wait until things set up just right before I take a trade. Then, when I'm ready to take the trade, I slowly count to ten before I pick up the phone. It's better to have the wrong idea and good timing than the right idea and bad timing.

  • One of my favorite patterns is the tendency for the markets to move from relative lows to relative highs and vice versa every two to four days. This pattern is a function of human behavior. It takes several days of a market rallying before it looks really good. That's when everyone wants to buy it, and that's the time when the professionals, like myself, are selling. Conversely, when the market has been down for a few days, and everyone is bearish, that's the time I like to be buying.

  • Don't mail me any more proxies, please. / Tell me, incorporated tease, / Why don't you save the stamps and send, / Once in a while, a dividend?

  • No one knows what stocks will do tomorrow, but the evidence is clear as to how they'll perform over 10 or 20 years. They will almost certainly go up.

  • The bad investments pretend to be all things to all people. 'Buy me,' they whisper, 'and you'll get your three wishes — no risk, high income, and high growth.' Some throw in a fourth wish, tax deferral, just for spice. But no single investment can make all your wishes come true. Each one leans principally in a single direction. When you go for high income, you give up some safety and growth. When you go for high growth, you give up some safety and income. When you go for safety, you lose growth and income. You have to decide which matters most. Any investment that promises all three is leading you down the garden path. The financial press is loaded with warnings from saddened investors who fell for one slick promise too many. Study their stories. Better an object lesson than a learning experience.

  • Stock prices aren't real things. They're just froth on a wave. The wave is the only real thing, which investors forget when they're watching the ticket slither by.

  • It's a fact: stock investors sometimes lose money on their way to wealth. Get over it.

  • Hedge funds remind me of the Groucho Marx line about clubs. The ones that will take your money may not be the ones you want to invest with.

  • Investment opportunities change over the long term. You want a pilot who can fly even if the weather changes.

  • Buy cheap and sell high is a rule of business, and when you control enough money and enough banks you can always manage that a stock you want shall be temporarily cheap. No value is destroyed for you — only for the original owner.

  • Speculation in oil stock companies was another great evil ... From the first, oil men had to contend with wild fluctuations in the price of oil. ... Such fluctuations were the natural element of the speculator, and he came early, buying in quantities and holding in storage tanks for higher prices. If enough oil was held, or if the production fell off, up went the price, only to be knocked down by the throwing of great quantities of stocks on the market.

  • Only a dreamer or a fool would pick a stock at random and expect it to take off like a space ship from its launching pad. Certainly this has happened — about as often as a dime-store clerk has become a Hollywood star or a boy born in a log cabin has been elected President of the United States — just often enough, that is, to keep alive the Great American Dream.

  • If, instead of playing the horses, an individual chooses to play the market, that is his own affair. Only he must understand that speculating in stocks is gambling, not investing.

  • On the floor of life the commodity is money. / You can buy and sell money, you can buy and sell absence of money, debt, which used to strike me as funny. / For some it's hedging, for most it's speculation. / In New York they've just introduced a futures contract in inflation. / (Pity it's not Bolivian inflation, which hit forty thousand per cent.)

  • The market on income stocks moves far less spectacularly than on growth stocks, but you get a better average dividend income. And you sleep better.

    • Mary Elizabeth Schlayer,
    • in Mary Elizabeth Schlayer with Marilyn H. Cooley, How to Be a Financially Secure Woman ()
  • The safer the investment, the smaller the return. A few investments are in fact so safe that they cost you money.

    • Mary Elizabeth Schlayer,
    • in Mary Elizabeth Schlayer with Marilyn H. Cooley, How to Be a Financially Secure Woman ()
  • Wall Street is, at bottom, a collection of endearingly childlike innocents, always expecting the good, the beautiful, the true, and the profitable.

  • Wall Street, where enough is never enough.

  • You think I know what I'm talking about? If it works I'm a genius. If it doesn't I blame it on the market, the falling dollar, Washington jitters, the weather, anything I can think of.

  • Dive into the Dow. Once a year, invest equal dollar amounts in the ten highest yielding stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Also, once a year, replace those that no longer rank in the top ten with those that do. The thirty stocks in the Dow are listed every day in the Wall Street Journal. This technique has beaten the overall return on the DJIA since 1972.

  • Always leave a sinking ship. There's no virtue in hanging on to losers. And stocks don't have feelings.

  • Avoid greed and fear. These are the investor's Achilles heels. Keeping all your money in the bank earning 3% interest is just as foolish as dumping your entire savings into the market thinking you'll make a quick buck.

  • Invest in vanity. Buy stocks in high-profile companies whose products are designed to make you feel good and look good.

  • Never call your broker on Monday. Out of courtesy and common sense, wait until Tuesday. A good broker is focused on the opening of the market — at home and around the world — and on getting back into a business frame of mind after the weekend.

  • Invest less at the end of the month. Brokers tend to push stocks at the end of the month in an effort to match or surpass their previous month's sales.

  • Bulls make money and bears make money, but pigs seldom do. When a stock or mutual fund is up 30%, sell one-quarter of your position.

  • The higher the yield, the higher the risk. A high yield is designed to attract investors. An outrageously high yield attracts fools.

  • Bet on black. Buy low-debt or no-debt companies. When the economy is in trouble, these companies usually have enough cash on hand to stay out of trouble. And they seldom need to borrow when interest rates are high.

  • When a corporation goes into the marketplace to buy back its own stock, it means management thinks the stock is undervalued. This is a smart time to buy.

  • Sell before the holidays. Stock prices tend to rise on the last trading day before major holidays.

  • Wait for January. In thirty-six out of forty-five years since 1950, as January went, so went the market. If Wall Street likes the President's annual State of the Union message and federal budget for the coming year, investor enthusiasm tends to buoy the market for the next twelve months.

  • The lesson of history is clear: the stock market consistently provides investors with opportunities that are difficult to match elsewhere.

  • I look at my portfolio as little puppy dogs. Some days they're well, some days they're sick, some days they leave you alone. But every day there's something going on.

  • ... in some ways Wall Street has been run as a casino for extracting money from the real economy and using it to pay extraordinary high levels of compensation.

  • Wall Street owns this country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street.

    • Mary Lease,
    • speech (1891), in Judith Anderson, ed., Outspoken Women ()
  • The most important ingredient for success in the stock market is a sharp sense of timing.

  • You would be surprised how many people are in the market not to make money but for the thrill of it!

  • You'll find that there will be an investment for every season, but there will be no investment for all seasons.

  • One characteristic that I have observed about the timing of all good traders is that they never try to squeeze out the last point in a stock.

  • ... one of the greatest deterrents to successful investing is the three-letter word ego.

  • If you have never missed when investing, you haven't been in there trying.

  • A mutual fund can do for you what you would do for yourself if you had sufficient time, training, and money to diversify, plus the temperament to stand back from your money and make rational decisions.