the corner

On August 3, 2000 this column stated, “Twenty years ago the majority of the American public did not feel a compulsion to invest in the stock market. After nearly 18 years of a generally upbeat market, with the past five years being rip-roaring, Americans have once again ‘fallen in love with the stock market.’ However, Andrew Smithers and Stephen Wright, in their book entitled “Valuing Wall Street,” persuasively argue that stock prices in America are severely over-valued and are set for a serious fall, not unlike those of the past. While Smithers and Wright strongly believe that for most of the time the stock market is the right place to be, they, in a hard-nosed and historical way, understand that there are a few times when the market is not the place to be.”

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One of the traditional advantages of exchange trading like the orders that are executed on the New York Stock Exchange has been the ease of keeping track of information about securities. Keeping track of the price of a security traded over-the-counter by dealers across the country is a much more formidable task.

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When buying and selling stocks there are a number of different types of orders that one can enter with a broker or exchange. Each order has different ramifications as to how it is executed and at what price.

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Two factors to consider when investing in a company is its industry category and life cycle. Industry categories fall into three broad groups: non-cyclical, cyclical and growth. Industry life cycles also fall into three broad groups: pioneering, growth and maturity. Below is a brief definition of industry categories and life cycles.

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As most of you regular readers know, this column focuses on issues pertinent to the markets, investing and Wall Street history. However, unlike most financial columns, I tend to spend much ink on how not to lose your money.

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Bonds sold in one country but denominated in the currency of another country are called “Eurobonds.” This designation is not restricted to bonds issued by European countries; rather it reflects that fact that these bonds first appeared in Europe, and they are still more common there than elsewhere.

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After Grant left Washington the gold ring began amassing contracts for gold. The Tenth National Bank, which was controlled by New York City’s William Marcy “Boss” Tweed, placed its assets at Gould’s disposal, issuing him certified checks in virtually unlimited amounts against purchases of gold which were used as collateral.

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In its early years, the stock market was dominated by brokers who abided by an informal code of gentlemanly conduct. By the Civil War, however, market dominance had passed into the hands of a small group of free-wheeling speculators — Jay Gould, “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt, Daniel Drew, James Fisk, Jr. and others.

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