Daily Speculations

The Web Site of  Victor Niederhoffer & Laurel Kenner

Dedicated to the scientific method, free markets, deflating ballyhoo, creating value, and laughter;  a forum for us to use our meager abilities to make the world of specinvestments a better place.

 

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The Chairman
Victor Niederhoffer

10/20/2004
Q&A

Q. I am wondering what the status of your canes* is on a day like this?

Vic: I have a special cane for Morse, the great speculator who lost everything by building things up in the 1890s market, making much money for his friends in issues such as Trolley and Old Fort Wayne. He lost everything and then was a ghost at Trinity Church. An old friend saw him and immediately Trolley and Fort Wayne went up. It shouldn't have.

Question:  Is your point that the same thing relates to the recent inquiries into the insurance and health activities.

Vic: One of the Palindrome's partners said that he felt so stupid on Oct 24, 1997 because the first 9 months of 97 looked so similar to 1929.  It's the same kind of grounding bias that would make people think this would be a repeat of 2002 with the restatements et al.  Yes, I will be hobbling below the round to the vicinity of Trinity Church.

 

Steve Ellison on the Circle of Life

Today is my daughter's 12th birthday and strikingly similar to the day she was born. President Bush was campaigning for re-election. A recession had ended more than a year earlier, but most people were still very pessimistic about the economy. It was the Year of the Monkey. And, oh yes, it would have been a good time to buy stocks.

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*Take Out the Canes

 

Henry Clews wrote in Twenty-Eight Years in Wall Street (1887):

 

“But few gain sufficient experience in Wall Street to command success until they reach that period of life in which they have one foot in the grave. When this time comes, these old veterans of the Street usually spend long intervals of repose at their comfortable homes, and in times of panic, which recur sometimes oftener than once a year, these old fellows will be seen in Wall Street, hobbling down on their canes to their brokers’ offices.

 

“Then they always buy good stocks to the extent of their bank balances, which they have been permitted to accumulate for just such an emergency. The panic usually rages until enough of these cash purchases of stock is made to afford a big “rake in.” When the panic has spent its force, these old fellows, who have been resting judiciously on their oars in expectation of the inevitable event, which usually returns with the regularity of the seasons, quickly realize, deposit their profits with their bankers, or the overplus thereof, after purchasing more real estate that is on the up grade, for permanent investment, and retire for another season to the quietude of their splendid homes and the bosoms of their happy families.”