The Stock Market Can Be Very Cruel To The Novice Trader

The Nicholas Darvas Stock Market Success Story (part 3)

I was the perfect pattern of the optimistic, clueless small operator who plunges repeatedly in and out of the stock market. I bought stock in companies whose names I could not pronounce. What they did and where they came from, I had no idea. Someone told someone who told me. There could have been no more slaphappy, ignorant stock market entrepreneur than I was. All I knew was what the last headwaiter in the last nightclub I had performed in had told me was good.

Early in 1953 I was performing in Toronto. Because of my first extraordinary $8,000 break with BRILUND, Canada was the stock market land of financial milk and honey as far as I was concerned, so I decided this was a good place to go looking for a hot stock market tip. I asked several people if they knew a good, reliable stock market broker, and eventually I was recommended to one.

I must admit I was startled and disappointed when I found his office. It was a tiny, dingy, prison-like room full of books, with strange scrawls on the walls. Later I found out that these are called stock market charts. There did not seem much smell of success or efficiency. Sitting at a roll top desk was a busy little man poring over stock market statistics and books. When I asked him if he knew a good stock he reacted at once.

He smiled and pulled out of his pocket a dividend check bearing the name of a famous gold company, KERRADDISON.

He stood up and said: "My friend, take a good look at that. That dividend check is worth five times what my father paid for the original stock. That is the sort of stock everyone looks for."

A dividend five times the price of he originally paid for it in the stock market! This excited me as it would any man. The dividend was 80 cents so his father must have paid only 16 cents for the stock. It looked beautiful to me. I did not realize he had probably been holding his father's stock for thirty-five years.

The little man described to me how he had been looking for that kind of stock for years. In view of his father's success he felt the answer must be in gold mines. He confided to me that he had at last found it. It was called EASTERN MALARTIC. Working with his production figures, estimates and financial information, he reckoned that these gold mines were capable of twice their present gold production; therefore five dollars invested in their stock in the stock market would soon be worth ten dollars.

On this piece of erudite information I immediately bought 1,000 shares of EASTERN MALARTIC at 290 cents. As I watched anxiously, it went to 270 cents, then to 260. Within weeks it was down to 241 cents, and I hastily sold my shares in the stock market. I decided this painstaking, statistically minded stock market broker did not have the answer to making a fortune.

Yet the stock market continued to fascinate me. I went on following any tip but I seldom made money in the stock market. If I did, it was immediately offset by my losses.

I was such a stock market novice that I did not even understand about stock market broker's commission and transfer taxes. For instance, I bought KAYRAND MINES in January 1953. It was a 10-cent stock, and I bought 10,000 shares.

I watched the market like a cat and when next day KAYRAND went to 11 cents per share, I called my stock market broker and told him to sell. By my reckoning I had made $100 in 24 hours, and I thought I was being smart by taking a quick small profit.

When I talked to my broker again he said: "Why did you decide to take a loss?" - "A loss?" I had made a hundred dollars!

He gently explained to me that the stock market broker's commission for buying 10,000 shares was $50, and for reselling the shares next day it was another $50. In addition, there were transfer taxes on the sale. 


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