Great Moments in Financial History

The Astrologers Fund, Inc.

Read more »

Sam Zell’s warning at the end of 2005 in his annual “holiday card” that excess liquidity, falling yields and narrowing spreads will violently return to equilibrium seems awfully prescient. Zell produced a parody of the song “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” with lyrics detailing his take on the current economic situation.
It’s not that there was a lack of doomsday prophesizing before the subprime shoe dropped and credit started drying up, but not that many people were out of the closet as early as 2005 (there was still another record year to juice returns from!) and in such a fancy musical outfit.
Zell’s take is so prescient that he ran out of ideas by 2006, when his holiday card consisted of a typical anti-SarbOx rant. You can view all of Zell’s musical endeavors here (with a special shout to TMQ for reminding us this existed in the first place), but here’s the Theory of Relativity vid:

The lyrics for those unable to harness the YouTubes after the jump…

Read more »

  • 17 Aug 2007 at 3:25 PM
  • Google

Great Moments In Financial History: Google’s Disappointing IPO

Sunday is the 3 year anniversary of the Google IPO, which means that it’s been three years since you blurted out “I told you guys, it didn’t open anywhere near $100. Short that shit and you’re printing money.”
A 480% three-year return on GOOG later. Whoops.
It’s not to say that you haven’t been on your game at all in the past 3 years. Kicking around some tech stock ideas you did utter the wisdom, “But hey, iPods are cool. It’s like everyone has one of those things. Clearly that market dominance is already priced into Apple’s stock. Just wait until Microsoft gets into the market. I’m telling you, short Apple and you’re printing money.” A 640% three-year return on AAPL since August 2004 and you blew it again.
Ok, ok, we won’t forget your one triumph, which trumps all your other misses. You noticed that the only banker chicks who haven’t gained the “Seamless 15″ eat only NutriSystem bars and are constantly going to the bathroom to either cry or throw them up. This netted you a ridiculous 3,000% return on NTRI, which you bought in August 2004 after that one hot summer managed to not blow up after 8 weeks. Maintaining eye candy on the floor was something you were more than ready to invest in, not to mention put your mouth where your money was going.
Google’s Historic IPO Run: Beatable [BusinessWeek via DealBook]

stockbroker old.jpg (If you missed our first installment of “Great Moments in Financial History,” detailing Maria Bartiromo’s appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy, you definitely want to check this out)
Traders, take a second from shifting vol and imagine this announcement:
“Traders, your work here is done. The market has done all it can do for you this year, so we’re closing it. Come back in December, just in time for Christmas bonuses.”
That was pretty much the case this day in 1914, although some believe the extended holiday was due to that particularly gory flick showing in the European theater at the time. From the Freakonomics Blog:

On July 31, 1914, officials shut down the New York Stock Exchange following news that Germany had declared Kriegsgefahrzustand (defined as an “imminent-danger-of-war situation“) while Austria and Turkey were already mobilizing.

From the NYSE’s website, the exchange, “Reopened for trading in bonds with price restrictions on November 28, 1914; for trading in a limited number of stocks under price restrictions on December 12, 1914; and for trading in all stocks, under price restrictions, on December 15, 1914. All restrictions were removed April 1, 1915.” The hiatus was the longest in the NYSE’s history since 1885. There was no extended closing during World War II.
And Today Is… [Freakonomics Blog]