They all knew that if I was hurting in one market, I’d have to liquidate in the other markets.
Whenever someone’s in trouble, it circulates around Wall Street; you’d be amazed how just one small fish is enough to stop the wheels of commerce for long enough to relieve that person of his funds. And then the market goes back to doing exactly what it was going to do beforehand.
I still think that the crash of Oct. 27, 1997, was basically due to brokers running my position against me, knowing that I was on the ropes. The market had its greatest drop in the previous 10 years that day. And then the next day, once they were able to force me out, it went up more than it dropped.
Let’s compare his hypothesis with what some other financial experts think caused the crash.
Bernanke says that October is just a crazy month for the markets.
“Classically, October has always been the month for financial problems,” Mr. Bernanke told the WSJ in 2007.
He sold a very large number of options on the S. & P. index, taking millions of dollars from other traders in exchange for promising to buy a basket of stocks from them at current prices, if the market ever fell.
It was an unhedged bet, or what was called on Wall Street a "naked put," meaning that he bet everyone on one outcome: he bet in favor of the large probability of making a small amount of money, and against the small probability of losing a large amount of money-and he lost. On October 27, 1997, the market plummeted eight per cent, and all of the many, many people who had bought those options from Niederhoffer came calling all at once, demanding that he buy back their stocks at pre-crash prices.
He ran through a hundred and thirty million dollars — his cash reserves, his savings, his other stocks — and when his…
I can’t say that I have read her book, but I think her interview with Victor Niederhoffer at Slate, Hoodoos, Hedge Funds, and Alibis: Victor Niederhoffer on Being Wrong should be required reading for all investors. One of the most difficult things to do in life is to learn from the mistakes of other people – and while Niederhoffer is famous mostly for his two large blowups, he is also reflective, insightful and a fun read. Perhaps more importantly, outside of those two blowups, Niederhoffer has a superb track record and is highly regarded for his trading skills. Many think that Niederhoffer’s blowups should negate the value of what Niederhoffer says. I think quite the opposite. Here is a trader we can all learn from, including both his successes and his failures.
“Unfortunately I was so successful for so many years in that particular field that I began to believe in my own success. I thought that because my method worked in markets that I knew about and had quantified, I could apply the same methods to something I didn’t know about.”
“I didn’t have the capital to be strong enough to provide a backup in the case of unforeseen events. I didn’t have a proper foundation. I was playing with adversaries who were stronger than me and who actually made the rules. My base of operations was not diversified enough, and I was vulnerable to forces I couldn’t withstand. I was too vainglorious. In my opinion, those are recurring errors behind most disasters.”
But don’t stop at these excerpts. Click through to read the full interview at Slate.
If you are interested in Schulz’s thinking in a broad range of subjects outside of the investment world, Slate has captured a great deal of her content in her column The Wrong Stuff.
Many others have written about Niederhoffer. One of the better pieces I have encountered is John Cassidy’s lengthy feature in The New Yorker from October 2007 (coincidentally, right…
The great ascent of Lady Gaga from an also-ran performer in the Lower East Side techno-rock clubs a few years ago to number one selling recording artist in five countries, four million albums sold, and 20 million singles, rivals nothing so much as the ascent of Kilimanjaro in 5½ hours or Apple’s 4000% rise from 5 to 210 and the fourth largest market cap company in four years. Here are some of the things we can learn from her about how to be successful in the markets.
1.The Lady has a core of admirers she can always count on: the gay community. "I’ve got so many gay fans and they’re loyal to me. They’ll always stand by me and I"ll always stand by them." Apple’s loyal fans are those that started out with them making music on their first computers and the minority group that liked the Apple operating system over and above the mainstream Microsoft one.
2. The product must be packaged and designed with great care and verve. Gaga has a special team, the Haus of Gaga, that designs all her clothes and stage performances. "When I’m writing music I’m thinking about what I’m going to wear on stage." Apple’s packaging, its vivid colors, its compactness, directness, ease of use is crucial to its success.
3. You have to be technical to be a success. Gaga was playing by ear at the age of four, planning to go to Julliard at 13. She writes her own music and her voice was good enough to attract Akon to sign her. The companies that have had the highest returns are people by engineers and computer scientists with technical degrees.
4. You need a vision to be successful. Gaga didn’t try to be the world’s #1 singer or its most profitable. But she had a vision to combine glam rock with simple melodies. The best performing companies, Apple or Cisco or Whole Foods, have a product that makes…
Private equity firm Irving Place Capital ("IPC") and Victor Technologies ("Victor") announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell Victor to Colfax Corporation ("Colfax") (NYSE: CFX), a global manufacturer of gas- and fluid-handling and fabrication technology products. The all cash transaction values Victor at approximately $947 million, including the assumption of debt, and is subject to customary closing conditions.
Victor is a leading designer and manufacturer of a comprehensive suite of metal cutting, gas control, and specialty welding products. IPC acquired Victor, which was previously named Thermadyne Holdings Corporation, in a take-private transaction in December 2010.
"We are pleased with the progress that we have made in partnership ...
Who says QE is ineffective? If you’re an owner of real estate or financial assets, it’s pretty darn f*cking effective.
From the Wall Street Journal:
The net worth of U.S. households and nonprofit organizations rose 14% last year, or almost $10 trillion, to $80.7 trillion, the highest on record, according to a Federal Reserve report released Thursday. Even adjusted for inflation using the Fed’s preferred gauge of prices, U.S. household net worth—the value of homes, stocks and other assets minus debts and other liabilities—hit a fresh record.
.."There is a time for all things, but I didn’t know it. And that is precisely what beats so many men in Wall Street who are very far from being in the main sucker class. There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks he must trade all the time. Not many can always have adequate reasons for buying and selling stocks daily – or sufficient knowledge to make his play an intelligent play."...
Plenty of excuses out there for this evening's collosal miss in Chinese exports (-18.1% YoY vs an expectation of a 7.5% rise) mainly based on timing issues over the Lunar New Year (but didn't the 45 economists who forecast this data know the dates before they forecast?) This is a 6-sigma miss and plunges China's trade balance to its biggest miss on record and 2nd largest deficit on record. Combining Jan and Feb data (i.e. smoothing over the holiday), exports are still down 1.6% YoY - not good for the much-heralded global recovery. Exports to the rest of the BRICs were all down over 20% but no there is no contagion from an emergin...
The Global X Social Media Index ETF (Ticker: SOCL) touched fresh record highs on Thursday morning, surprising no one given the top three holdings of the Fund are Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings (12.678%), Facebook Inc. (12.506%) and LinkedIn Corp. (8.166%), which are up 130%, 160% and 22%, respectively, since this time last year. The SOCL reflects the performance of companies involved in the social media industry, including companies that provide social networking, file sharing and other web-based media applications. Shares in the ETF rose 1.3% today to a new high of $23.00, and have soared approximately 65% since this time last year.
Today brought three better than expected economic releases from Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing, and Personal Income. The ISM figure was quite unexpected and Personal Income was well above expectations. If we ignore for a moment that the Final GDP reading for Q4 was lowered on Friday (which may or may not have been primarily caused by severe weather), we have had a week of better than expected economic numbers. Corporate earnings have also continued to exceed forecasts, albeit with a bit more cautious guidance.
Of course, none of that matters when the “war drums” start beating. Russia and the Ukraine are engaged in a serious game of “chicken” with a bear in the hen house. The Russian ruble has borne the brunt of the damage so far with a double digit drop today again...
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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