Jack Prior is looking to see how the Dow would have done had some of its components not been switched for others. (And what’s this nonsense about it unweighted? What the heck kind of way is THAT to run an index? A stock splits two for one and suddenly it’s only half as important to the make up of the index? Well, that’s how the Dow works, and ain’t no one gonna change it.) In the course of doping these things out, he quickly came to . Check it out. It will answer all your questions about the Dow (albeit not make it any more logical) and if you choose the Dow Data tab and then Historical Queries, you can see which 30 stocks make up the Dow Industrials now — and its 12 components in 1898.

From Dickson Pratt: “Are you sure about that “pig in a poke” derivation? As a westerner and gold panner I always thought it referred to the practice of putting pig iron into a poke, or bag, of gold dust to “adjust” the weight.” Well, I got MY derivation out of a book — so it MUST be right.

From Mark Brady (who, I assume, in every other respect found my clickle column to be brilliant): “Polynesia includes New Zealand, Hawaii, Samoa, French Polynesia and few other minor islands. Bali is in Indonesia, where the rupiah (I think) is the currency.” Oops. You mean it’s NOT the pickle?

From Simon: “I think the most ridiculous thing about Mutual Fund Position reports is that even though they are released so late as to be useless, Fund Managers care enough about them to manipulate their portfolios over the quarter end dates to try to make it look like they held the winning stocks during the past quarter. I now deliberately trade ahead of this (general phenomenon not specific information!) by trying to be long ‘winners’ and short ‘losers’ going in to quarter ends.”

For the very short-term trader, perhaps even the day trader, who can somehow live with the commissions and hassle and taxes, this strategy might even work. But speaking of day traders . . .

From Bill Heid: Your comments today on the lure of day trading because of the availability of data are absolutely correct. I started, and ended, day trading last year. I summed up my experience by telling everyone it was intoxicating. I really felt that was the best one-word description of the experience. And then recently I’ve read that some west coast drug and alcohol rehab facilities are now taking in day traders. What a confirmation of my description (yes, I really said it first – ask my friends).


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