Posted on

Nicolas Darvas

Nicolas Darvas

Nicolas Darvas (1920–1977) was a self-taught investor and author. He is best known for his book, “How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market.”

Career

Dancer

Hungarian by birth, Darvas trained as an economist at the University of Budapest. Reluctant to remain in Hungary until either the Nazis or the Soviet Union took over, he fled in June 1943 at the age of 23 with a forged exit visa and fifty pounds sterling to Istanbul, Turkey. Sometime later, he met up with his half-sister Julia. who became his partner in a dancing team in Europe and the United States.

In April 1953 the two appeared with Judy Garland and Bob Hope. By 1956, they were touring.

Investor

During his off hours as a dancer, he had read some 200 books on the market and on speculators, sometimes reading up to eight hours a day. He began his studies by reading the following:

  • ABC of Investing, by R. C. Effinger
  • The Stock Market, by Dice & Eiteman
  • The Securities Market: And How It Works, by B. E. Schultz
  • Your Investments, by Leo Barnes
  • Profits In The Stock Market, by H. M. Gartley
  • Consistent Profits In The Stock Market, by Curtis Dahl
  • You Can Make Money on the Stock Market, by E. J. Mann

The two books which he read almost every week were The Battle for Investment Survival, by Gerald M. Loeb, published in 1935, and Tape Reading and Market Tactics, by Humphrey Bancroft Neill, published in 1931.

Darvas invested in a couple of stocks for which the share price had risen. The stocks continued to rise and he subsequently sold them at a profit. He subsequently came up with an approach and plan for trading stocks from which he received $2,450,000.00 in 18 months, during the 1957-58 bull market,seven years since his first trade.

From the week ending 12/16/1957 through the week ending 7/27/1959, the S&P 500 rose over 53%. Market moves of that size have only happened seven times since 1950, according to Yahoo Finance weekly S&P 500 prices.

His main source of stock selection was from Barron’sThe magazine was usually a week-old edition, since he was traveling in his performing dance troupe. He would use cables and telegrams to send his buy and sell stop orders to his broker in New York City. From now on Darvas would select a stock when it made a good advance on strong volume, with favourable fundamental company research.

Darvas claimed his method often revealed the signs of insider trading before a company’s release of favourable news to the public.

His stock selection method was called “BOX theory”. He considered a stock price wave as a series of boxes. When the stock price was confined in a box, he waited. He bought when the price rose out of the box. He simultaneously set a stop-loss just under this trade price.

At the age of 39, after accumulating his fortune and also being exposed in Time magazine, Darvas documented his actions in the book, How I Made 2,000,000 in the Stock Market. The book describes his “Box System”, which he used to buy and sell stocks.

1960 criminal investigation

Time magazine subsequently reported that the New York Attorney General had “thrown the book” at Darvas, charging that his story was “unqualifiedly false” and that it could find “ascertainable” profits of only $216,000. The action was the first to be taken under a broadened state law that banned fraud or misrepresentation in giving investment advice.

In a follow up, dated 13 January 1961, Time reported that the probe was blocked by the court, which ruled that the investigation by Attorney General Louis J. Lefkowitz was an “unwarranted invasion of the free press”. Time also reported that state investigators admitted that they had not been able to track down all of the dancer’s brokerage accounts.

Darvas called the charges false, a “cynically irresponsible action, book burning by publicity”. He stated, “I keep out in a bear market and leave such exceptional stocks to those who don’t mind risking their money against the market trend”.

Darvas claimed to have never sold short. He said in 1977, “I have never done it myself because psychologically I am not cut out for short selling. But I think markets have now changed their character so much that all experienced investors should seriously consider it. It is not for the proverbial widows and orphans, though.” 

The Anatomy of Success

In his third book, he wrote “Later, I went on to explore and become successful in other fields, the fashion industry, theatrical producing, real estate are just a few”. Here he claims “the formula for success remains essentially the same”. In the book he set out what he called “the rules to be followed”. “But one must know the correct route”. In his last book, You Can Still Make It In the Market,. Darvas gives the rules for a method called “Dar-Card”.

Death

Darvas died in 1977.

Books

  • How I Made 2,000,000 in the Stock Market. Published in 1960.
  • Wall Street: The Other Las Vegas. Published in 1964.
  • The Anatomy of Success. Published in 1965 .
  • The Darvas System for Over-The-Counter Profits. Published in 1971 .
  • You Can Still Make It in the Market. Published in 1977.
Posted on

J. Welles Wilder Jr.

J. Welles Wilder Jr.

J. Welles Wilder Jr. (Born in 1930s ) is an American mechanical engineer, turned real estate developer, turned technical analyst, best known for his work in technical analysis. He commenced 13 years of full-time market research and trading in his “retirement.” He became interested in buying silver, and concluded that futures were the best way to gain leverage. He embarked to study and learn all he could about futures markets.

Wilder is the father of several technical indicators that are now considered to be core indicators in technical analysis software. These include Average True Range, the Relative Strength Index (RSI), Average Directional Index, and the Parabolic SAR.

Wilder also founded Delta Society International, expounding the theory of the delta phenomenon in the 1980s, about what he refers to the perfect order of the markets.

Wilder is the author of four books:

  • The Delta Phenomenon;
  • Wisdom Of The Ages In Acquiring Wealth;
  • Adam Theory Of Markets; 
  • New Concepts In Technical Trading Systems.

 

Posted on

Perry J. Kaufman

Perry J. Kaufman

Perry J. Kaufman is an American systematic trader, index developer, and quantitative financial theorist. He is considered a leading expert in the development of fully algorithmic trading programs.

Career

Kaufman currently serves as the president of Kaufman Analytics, Ltd. He received a BS in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin and a MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.

Aerospace background

Beginning as a “rocket scientist” in the aerospace industry, Kaufman worked on the navigation and control systems for the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory, the predecessor of the Hubble Space Telescope.Moreover, he was involved in the development of navigation systems for Project Gemini which were later used for Apollo missions.

Trading experience

Kaufman worked in trading, research and advisory functions at major commercial banks, securities houses, central banks, and hedge funds.

After leaving the aerospace industry, Kaufman became a partner in an Illinois-based farm management company where, as a commercial hedger, he developed expertise in trading commodity futures markets. Between 1981 and 1991, Kaufman resided in Bermuda where he worked as Head of Trading Systems for Transworld Oil, Ltd. (Bermuda). He was a principal at Man-Drapeau Research (Singapore) from 1992 to 1998 and worked in consulting functions for Cinergy and Prudential-Bache. Between 2003 and 2008, Perry J. Kaufman worked as a portfolio manager and senior quantitative analyst for Graham Capital Management, a renown hedge fund with a focus on managed futures trading strategies. Kaufman is currently a consultant to Mizuho Alternative Investments and serves as a board member at ARIAD Asset Management GmbH. Kaufman also advises the Aquantum Group and collaborates with the company in the design of systematic trading programs and indices.

Publications & Canon Contributions

Kaufman is the founder of the Journal of Futures Markets and creator of John Wiley & Sons’s Traders Advantage series.

Kaufman has authored numerous books, the most popular of which is New Trading Systems and Methods, first published by John Wiley & Sons in 1978 and now in its fifth edition. Since the late 1970s, Kaufman has published a total of 12 books to contribute to theories in the areas of price forecasting and portfolio allocation. Some of his books were translated into Chinese, Russian, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. His latest book, Alpha Trading, was published in 2011.

Since 1973, Kaufman has published numerous articles in, for example, the Journal of Futures MarketsFuturesTechnical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities, and Futures Industry Magazine. Samples of this work can be found below.

Kaufman has been a speaker at universities, major industry seminars, New York Stock Exchange corporate training courses, and the Dow Jones World Tours. He has made a number of radio and television appearances. Examples of his presentations can be found below.

Books

  • Point and Figure Commodity Trading Techniques
  • Commodity Trading Systems and Methods
  • Technical Analysis in Commodities
  • Handbook of Futures Markets
  • The Concise Handbook of Futures Markets
  • The New Commodity Trading Systems and Methods
  • Smarter Trading
  • Global Equity Investing
  • A Short Course in Technical Trading
  • Alpha Trading
  • Trading Systems and Methods

Book contributions

  • “Technical Analysis” in Nancy Rothstein’s The Handbook of Financial Futures
  • “Moving Averages and Trends” in Todd Lofton’s Trading Tactics
  • “Essential Mathematics for Traders” in Ralph Acampora’s Masters of Technical Analysis and Strategy

Articles and interviews

  • “Perry Kaufman on Market Analysis” in Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities
  • “Price Shocks: Reevaluating Risk/Return Expectations” in Futures Industry Magazine
  • “Trading Lessons Learned the Hard Way” in Futures 
  • “Crossover Relative Value Trading” in Futures 
  • “An Interview with Perry Kaufman” in The Technical Analyst 
  • “Interview of Perry Kaufman, author of the bible of the trading systems” in AutomatedTrading.eu
  • “A Book Review & Interview with Perry Kaufman” in The Swiss Technical Analysis Journal 
  • “Algorithmic Trading Strategies: an interview with Perry Kaufman 

Interviews, lectures and speeches

  • “Robust Trading Systems”
  • “Trading Systems That Work”
  • “Portfolio Allocation Using Genetic Algorithms” 
  • “Intermarket Mechanics”
  • “Theory Versus Reality”
  • “Model Performance and Risk Metrics” 
  • “Strategy Development”
  • “The Impact of Global Investing on Asian Markets” 
  • “Positioning the Greek Equities Market for International Investing”
Posted on

Richard D. Wyckoff

Richard D. Wyckoff

Richard Demille Wyckoff (November 2, 1873 – March 19, 1934) was a stock market authority, founder and onetime editor of the Magazine of Wall Street (founding it in 1907), and editor of Stock Market Technique.

Wyckoff implemented his methods in the financial markets, and grew his account such that he eventually owned nine and a half acres and a mansion next door to the General Motors’ Industrialist, Alfred Sloan Estate, in Great Neck, New York (Hamptons).

As Wyckoff became wealthier, he also became altruistic about the public’s Wall Street experience. He turned his attention and passion to education, teaching, and in publishing exposés such as “Bucket shops and How to Avoid Them”, which were run in New York’s The Saturday Evening Post starting in 1922.

Continuing as a trader and educator in the stock, commodity and bond markets throughout the early 1900s, Wyckoff was curious about the logic behind market action. Through conversations, interviews and research of the successful traders of his time, Wyckoff augmented and documented the methodology he traded and taught. Wyckoff worked with and studied them all, himself, Jesse Livermore, E. H. Harriman, James R. Keene, Otto Kahn, J.P. Morgan, and many other large operators of the day.

Wyckoff’s research claimed many common characteristics among the greatest winning stocks and market campaigners of the time. He analyzed these market operators and their operations, and determined where risk and reward were optimal for trading. He emphasized the placement of stop-losses at all times, the importance of controlling the risk of any particular trade, and he demonstrated techniques used to campaign within the large trend (bullish and bearish). The Wyckoff technique may provide some insight as to how and why professional interests buy and sell securities, while evolving and scaling their market campaigns with concepts such as the “Composite Operator”.

Wyckoff married three times: first in 1892 to Elsie Suydam; second to Cecelia G. Shear, and third to Alma Weiss. Wyckoff charged in 1928 that his second wife, Cecelia G. Wyckoff, whom the media dubbed a Prima Donna of Wall Street, had wrested control of the Magazine of Wall Street from Mr. Wyckoff by “cajolery.” The media celebrated separation ended in an agreement where he received half a million dollars of the magazine company’s bonds.

Posted on

Philip L. Carret

Philip L. Carret

Philip L. Carret was born in 1896, the only child of a lawyer and a social worker. Although his parents had a good income, they weren’t very adept at managing money and Carret decided at the age of 16 that “if I were ever to gain wealth, it would have to be by my own efforts”, according to his book, A Money Mind at 90. In 1924, aged 28, he started to invest money for family and friends, who saw that he had a knack for finding winning stocks. He frequently ignored Wall Street analysts and researched companies himself, reading extensively. Frank Betz, who was Carret’s personal assistant in the Eighties, recalled that he read voraciously – not just corporate reports and newspapers but also books on philosophy, history, economics and biographies. Carret claimed to glean the most useful information from the detailed footnotes appended to corporate annual reports.

Although his first job in finance was as a bond salesman, he became a journalist in 1922, writing for Barron’s, a new weekly financial magazine owned by Clarence W Barron, considered the founder of modern financial journalism. Carret was one of the first to write about “value investing” in a series of Barron’s articles in 1927. He developed this concept in his 1930 book The Art of Speculation, where his “12 commandments for speculators” first appeared . A chance conversation and America’s first stock market fund It was while he was working as a journalist that Carret heard by chance about plans for the first “open-ended” stock market fund in the US, the Massachusetts Investors Trust.

Founded with $50,000 in 1924, the trust still exists, although it now has assets of $3.4bn (£2.6bn). The story goes that one of the trust’s founders, L Sherman Adams, visited the Barron’s office one day and Carret couldn’t help overhearing him describe his idea for a new investment company. Inspired by this, in 1928 Carret put his own ideas into action and founded the Pioneer Fund. This spawned Pioneer Investments, now a giant global fund management firm. Among the fund’s first investments were blue-chip shares such as Maytag, a washing machine maker, and Firestone Tire & Rubber. But it was a bad year to start a fund: the 1929 crash and the Great Depression soon followed and an investment of $1,000 in the fund in 1929 would have been worth just $470 by 1932.

After that shaky start, Carret steered the fund consistently upwards through the Great Depression and the Second World War and his career ultimately encompassed a total of 31 bull markets, 30 bear markets and 20 recessions.

His fund was also among the first US portfolios to invest internationally. In 1963 he founded Carret & Company (now Carret Asset Management), which provides investment services to wealthy individuals. Carret sold his stake in the firm in 1988 but continued to work there, without a salary, for three days a week until his death.

Carret’s connections with the Buffetts

Carret first encountered the Buffett family in the Forties when he would visit Warren’s father, Howard Buffett, who ran a small brokerage firm in Omaha, to swap investment ideas. Later, Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, became Carret’s most successful investment. He bought shares in the Sixties for less than $400 a time because he was impressed with Buffett’s management. The shares now trade for more than $220,000 each. Carret was personally invited to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings; nicknamed “Woodstock for capitalists”: these events nowadays attract a vast attendance. At the 1996 meeting, Buffett said of Carret’s investment style: “The main thing is to find a wonderful business, like Phil Carret always did. He’s one of my heroes, and that’s an approach he’s used.” One of Mr Buffett’s most famous quotes is “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years”, and it has echoes in Carret’s own approach, outlined in The Art of Speculation: “I have a very simple strategy, I buy good companies at attractive prices. Then I sit on them.”

Some of Carret’s stock picks

Carret would buy a particular share only if he thought he could double his money – but he was in no rush. In fact, he scoffed at other, younger fund managers who held a stock for weeks, or even days, calling this “the pinnacle of stupidity”. Along with a desire for firms that had steadily growing earnings and strong balance sheets, he looked for committed managers who owned a hefty stake in the company. He would look for investment ideas in unlikely places. John Carey, executive vice-president at Pioneer Investments, who worked with Carret for almost 20 years, told Telegraph Money: “In this business you need to be eclectic and opportunistic, paying attention all the time, because you never know how an idea might occur to you, or where you might get information about some new trend. 

“Carret would sometimes look at new products on the shelves at the store and he would talk to people and he would read newspapers and periodicals and just gather information in every way he could think of. Then he would filter it through his mind and financial screens and come up with ideas for potentially profitable investments.”

So which shares did he actually buy?

A good example was Greif Bros Cooperage Corporation, which Carret bought on the recommendation of Howard Buffett in 1946 and held for 48 years.

This wooden barrel maker wasn’t a traditional value play and the company’s growth was unspectacular, so it was the kind of boring business that most investors would avoid. But it was a classic Carret stock: a steady grower with steady management, bought at a reasonable price. The company fitted the Carret criteria of a strong balance sheet, a good position in a niche market, and a strong management team – in fact, the same manager runs it today. Carret bought the shares for 68 cents and they now trade at about $46. He bought Neutrogena in 1972 for about 85 cents because he sampled the soap in a hotel room and liked the management of the company. It was taken over by Johnson & Johnson 22 years later at $35 a share. Both choices chime with Carret’s answer to a question he was once asked in a television interview: “What is the single most important thing that you have learned about investing over the past three quarters of a century?” His reply: “Patience.”