Monday, January 10, 2011
Herewith, Barry Ritholtz's list -- there I go again -- of the ten greatest market trades of "all time." I had heard of six of them (1-5, 9). Of the "honorable mentions" that Barry proposes, I note that I invested my summer job money in the summer of 1982 in Hillenbrand Industries, and still own the descendants of those shares. It is up roughly 25 times, excluding dividends. Sadly, my stake was only large by my standards. Oh, the fortunes we might have made.
In any case, I don't see how any such list can omit Nathan Rothschild's trades following the Battle of Waterloo (and here you thought "Trading Places" was just comic genius).
MORE: A commenter says that Nathan Rothschild's "Waterloo" trades are a myth. A pretty awesome myth, but reason enough to leave them off the list.
What about Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio in '64?
Then there are the worst trades, those foregone. I was in Omaha to interview Warren Buffett in the '80's or '90's when Berkshire was going for $3,000. Passed it up, of course ... too expensive.
The list likely omitted Rothschild's trades inasmuch as the account is entirely fictional. In fact, the Rothschilds had no news of Waterloo's outcome and were, in fact, strongly inconvenienced by the war's end. (They enjoyed a profitable business offering credit to the British Army. News of Waterloo caught the family flat-footed, forcing them to sell at a loss a large pile of gold which they had intended to ship abroad). For more details,
I strongly recommended Niall Ferguson's books on the Rothschilds, which go into the family's history extremely well.
mostly all WERE short-term trades/lucky bets. except, maybe, templeton to japan. am not a financial guru or historian, but IIRC, templeton made his name back in the '60's and '70's - which means he (probably) would have gotten into japan sometime around then. while the rest of the world was still snickering over the crappy quality of "made in japan" junk.
maybe it was luck over brilliance. maybe. but if templeton got into japan back then, it sure wasn't short-term. templeton's firm was considered pretty much the world's best for quite some time. (again, IIRC. i ain't all that old.)
as for jesse livermore, he made more fortunes than any 10 men. only problem was, he lost one more than he made.