Who needs horses when you’ve got the market?

Yesterday I told you about Jeff Schatz, who’s up $190,000 in a few months riding trends for quick gains. It’s a less-than-zero-sum game (because of the transaction costs), but that doesn’t mean there won’t be winners, and Jeff is clearly winning. More power to him.

Indeed, winning on Wall Street seems so easy these days it’s scary. Many of you are too young to remember, but from 1968 to 1974, winning was a lot tougher. Indeed, in 1973 through much of 1974 it was hard to find almost anyone who was winning. Guys like me had to write articles that all started out: “If the world doesn’t end — and it usually doesn’t — ” and then go on to extol the virtues of long-term investments in stocks. With the Dow down from an intra-day 1,000 in 1966 to 577 in the summer of 1974, no one wanted to hear it.

It’s almost as hard to find people losing money these days. But just wait. No bull market lasts forever.

In the meantime, here’s a sobering message I received from one of you (thanks, Donald Steinmann):

Many of the people visiting BOB’z investment site are really into speculation. It just really makes me sad when I read about all the ‘hot tips’ people have, and exhortations to day trade. One woman recently was talking about how she day trades with borrowed money. Her husband suggested Gamblers Anonymous after she lost $5,000 in one day.

Can you suggest any books besides yours and Burton Malkiel’s Random Walk Down Wall Street that might make it clear to these people? Sometimes I just want to grab them and shake them. My most powerful ammunition so far is pointing out that there is no day trader equivalent to Warren Buffett.

Books besides mine and Malkiel’s? How about Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler? (Or, perhaps, Dostoyevky’s The Idiot.)


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