"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana
In January 2004, Boca Biff made his debut in my diary.
Boca Biff is a real person. He is not a composite of individuals I have met over the years.Boca Biff's investments (described in today's and previous columns), both in name and in dollar size, were all actually made by him. It is fair to write that Boca Biff lives by the investment credo that man's greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall, because fall is Boca Biff's middle name. No character (and there have been many characters!) I have written about has elicited such a response from so many subscribers and contributors. Over the past 15 years, Boca Biff has embodied the mentality of the daytrading and speculative community who worships at the altar of price momentum in the church of what is happening now. As such, Boca Biff has become a better market/sector/asset class barometer than the put/call ratio, Investors Intelligence, mutual fund/hedge fund exposures or any other sentiment indicator. The Boca Biff indicator has become a wonderful measure of the very embodiment of speculation during Mr. Market's frequent speculative bouts. I suppose we can say is that what Boca Biff has learned from history is that he hasn't learned from history. But let's begin by framing Boca Biff's speculative diary of trading over the past 15 years.
1998-2000: The Daytrading OrgyIt all started with that once-in-a-generation orgy of speculation in the late 1990s as a new class of investors emerged on the market's stage -- namely, daytraders. The 1997-2000 time frame held a historic precedent that took daytrading to a new art form. As most recall, the bubble began to burst in the first half of 2000 -- almost, it seemed, as quickly as it surfaced. In time, the Nasdaq fell by about 75% from its highs. Over nine years ago, I introduced readers to the true story about my favorite daytrader, Biff Marksman. I subsequently changed his name to Boca Biff in order to protect his anonymity better and in order to protect our innocent Real Money subscribers from him.
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