Big hat tip to our friend Brian Hunt, who referenced this classic trading passage and lesson from Edwin Lefevre’s Reminiscences of a Stock Operator.
It’s about a humble, old, and somewhat eccentric trader who appeared to be wiser than those around him because, rather than trading in and out of positions, he was content to go long and stay long with an uptrend. It’s a very educational story, and a funny one too.
It was a legend of the office that the old jigger was rich and could swing quite a line. But he wasn’t donating much to the firm in the way of commissions; at least not that anyone could see. His name was Partridge, but they nicknamed him Turkey behind his back, because he was so thick-chested and had a habit of strutting about the various rooms, with the point of his chin resting on his breast.
The customers, who were all eager to be shoved and forced into doing things so as to lay the blame for failure on others, used to go to old Partridge and tell him what some friend of a friend of an insider had advised them to do in a certain stock. They would tell him what they had not done with the tip so he would tell them what they ought to do. But whether the tip they had ways to buy or to sell, the old chap’s answer was always the same.
The customer would finish the tale of his perplexity and then ask: “What do you think I ought to do?”
Old Turkey would cock his head to one side, contemplate his fellow customer with a fatherly smile, and finally he would say very impressively, “You know, it’s a bull market!”
Time and again I heard him say, “Well, this is a bull market, you know!” as though he were giving to you a priceless talisman wrapped up in a million-dollar accident-insurance policy. And, of course, I did not get his meaning.