"I will buy something that gets hammered."
we strive to bring you the views of only the top professionals on Wall Street. But the declaration above greeted us this morning in an email from a friend. A friend, by the way, who has been fairly successful at managing his own investments and happens to be a CPA, a homeowner and the father of a baby girl. Probably not a lot different than many people in the market these days.
True to his word, our friend emailed again at midmorning to report: "Well ... I took a big gamble and picked up
at $344/share. Damn it....This one will probably get slammed, but it was down 58 when I bought it."
Before noon, he checked in again to reveal he'd already dumped the Yahoo! position. "I put sell orders in at $400 a share (I NEVER thought it would reach that so soon!!!!)," he admitted. "Damn, I only held it for like two hours and made $56/share. I must now go buy myself something!!!"
Yahoo!, by the way, fell as low as 332, rose as high as 406 and lately was off 14 1/16 to 386 15/16.
Delving further into the mind and tactics of our retail poster boy, he reveals having bought
CMG Information Services
around 45 in mid-December the day the company announced a stock split. Yesterday, with the stock trading as high as 155, he sold two-thirds of the position to secure a tidy $12,000 profit.
"It split, so my one-third is now two-thirds," he reasons. "If my remaining stock becomes worthless, I still have tripled my money."
Whatever you think of this kind of trading, it's hard to argue with such success, and all for the low price of $7 per transaction via
Still, "I haven't had all successes," our friend laments. "I sold
too soon. I did make money on all of them, just not as much as I could have.
"My bogus investments are
," he continued. "Although I do not have overall losses on them, they still suck compared to my other investments."
Can't you just hear the hearts of professional money managers bleeding all over Wall Street (not to mention Boston and Chicago)?
With all due respect to
, the comments from this "source" strike us as the true "Dispatches from the Front." Perhaps we're preaching to the converted, but it seems the experience of our friend epitomizes why today's decline wasn't as traumatic as early indications first indicated (this last phrase brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department).
Just to recap, a de facto devaluation by Brazil sent markets reeling worldwide and had some on Wall Street proclaiming "the end" was finally at hand. But the
Nasdaq Composite Index
, down as low as 2206.19 in early going, was lately up (!) 26 to 2346. Similarly, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
, once as low as 9213.10, was down a relatively modest 62 to 9413.
The session proved, yet again, the resiliency of the market and the unshakeable faith of the investing public.
"After the third- and fourth-quarter dip and rebound, the 'buy on the dip' mentality is so awfully powerful it doesn't end so fast," said Scott Bleier, chief strategist at
. "Investors are more emboldened than they have ever been. Brazil isn't going to end this -- all of Asia came and went and the market didn't care. The demographic is just so awesome it overwhelms anything else."
The challenge to market pros is that "all the discipline Wall Street old-timers need to survive has to be thrown out the window in order to participate," Bleier says. "The people who are buying these Internet stocks and making all the money don't have the discipline us Wall Street guys have had to learn. Will they get hurt? Eventually. But right now the only ones not laughing are the ones getting rich."
The strategist said more and more professionals are having to take the plunge, due to the craving for relative performance. "If you want to participate, you've got to throw out anything you've learned," he says. "But you have to remember because there will come a time when you will need it again. Nothing more can be said."
Except this: This reporter didn't get so much as a card from our happy email friend over the recent holidays. Perhaps he was too busy making money to go shopping, even online.