Can I Quote You on That?
Six Hilarious Stock Market Sayings and the People Who Coined Them
The stock markets of the world are a constant subject of debate that generate many quotes and some of the investment giants of the last 100 years have come out with some pearls of wisdom and also some highly amusing observations about their stock picking habits and philosophies. Here are some of those fascinating people from the investment world and their quotes.
The Oracle of Omaha as he is modestly known has dominated investment stories for many decades and the billionaire next door who likes to come across as a humble person who often resorts to self-deprecating humour, no doubt stemming from the fact that he has lived in Omaha, Nebraska for most of his life.
His number one rule about investing is “never lose money” and his number two rule is “Don’t forget rule number one.”
To call one of the richest investors on the planet “stingy” would seem a little churlish but he is famous for “Penny Pinching” in sometimes the most bizarre ways considering his wealth, such as the time he was late for a meeting and explained that he was delayed due to circling the block several times to find a parking meter that still had some credit left in it. Presumably it was some high powered meeting away from the stock exchange as he once said of investment bankers there,
"Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”
Probably the one quote that sums him up more than any other is when he said
“I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them, because sooner or later, one will." No room for manoeuvre on that explanation then.
In a real chicken or egg scenario, Peter Lynch who is credited with not just beating Wall Street with his stock picking prowess but absolutely destroying the opposition, once said
"Go for a business that any idiot can run - because sooner or later, any idiot probably is going to run it."
There seems to be a theme going on with these great minds. One can only hope that the Government’s Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt does not take up a CEO role anytime soon, as London’s business leaders branded him an idiot recently, so they could potentially argue that he has all the credentials already then. Peter Lynch takes a sensible no nonsense approach to investing and said in his “Beating the Street”, “Gentlemen who prefer bonds don’t know what they are missing."
He clearly loves his job and once stated
“It's human nature to keep doing something as long as it's pleasurable and you can succeed at it - which is why the world population continues to double every 40 years."
Whilst he might have a high opinion of his stock picking ability the people that make a living out of financial predictions do not escape so lightly as he says
“If all the economists in the world were laid end to end, it wouldn’t be a bad thing."
This tough lady is the epitome of longevity and has been working at Fortune Magazine for longer than most of us have been on the planet. She obviously knows how to stay on the right side of Warren Buffett and is the journalist closest to the oracle of Omaha, even to the point of sometimes editing his annual statement to his group of investors. As Ms Loomis once said
You can fool most investors some of the time and some investors all of the time. But you can't fool most investors indefinitely.”
She famously wrote about the 15% Delusion, saying that
“Brash predictions about earnings growth often lead to missed targets, battered stock, and creative accounting--and that's when times are good. Why can't CEOs kick the habit?”
Even as an octogenarian, she pulls no punches and said about the recent financial downturn
“I've always heard that you never know who's swimming naked.”
Hope she wasn’t thinking about Mr Buffett!
The late Mr Templeton mainly financed his education through Yale by playing poker for high stakes and no doubt his risk taking persona was what helped him to become a billionaire in his lifetime. He tried to maintain a humble outlook in his life despite the impression that he might be a high stakes roller and was mainly uninterested in consumerism, driving his own car and never travelling first class. Like most people in his position, despite what some might consider to be eccentricities, he was not tolerant of failure and noted
"The most dangerous words in the investment business are, "this time it's different."
Money magazine described him as arguably the greatest stock picker of the century and despite his philanthropic and spiritualist outlook he still found it within himself to denounce his U.S citizenship in 1964 and avoid a cool $100 million in income taxes (A staggering amount when you consider it was in the 1960’s), by taking up residence in the Bahamas and also acquiring dual nationality as a British citizen. He spent most of his time controlling his investments from his home in the Bahamas rather than in Britain, once of his easier decisions in life.
Benjamin Graham wrote the Bible, no not that one, rather the book entitled “Security Analysis” which is widely regarded as a bible for serious investors everywhere. Benjamin Graham once said
"In the short-run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, the market is a weighing machine."
A very philosophical view from a man that Warren Buffett credits as being one of the greatest influences on his life. According to Buffett, Graham had said that he wished everyday to do something foolish, something creative and something generous, fortunately he is credited as excelling most at being generous.
It's not whether you're right or wrong that's important, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong.”
These are the very words of the man credited with profiting from “Black Wednesday” to the tune of over $1 Billion. One can only imagine the thoughts running through the mind of Mr Soros every time that the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Lamont, kept trotting seemingly every half an hour in order to announce to the press yet another interest rate rise, rather like a poker player down on his luck collecting some more chips to go back to the table, only to find his opponent still has a winning hand. It is fair to say that Mr Soros would not have won a popularity contest at that time but as he pointed out;
“Well, you know, I was a human being before I became a businessman."
He has tried to redress the balance with some remarkable philanthropic gestures and has some interesting advice for raising some additional revenue, such as regulating and taxing marijuana, which he argued would save taxpayers millions in enforcement costs whilst providing many billions of dollars in revenue. It would almost certainly also earn him the freedom of Jamaica if it ever came to pass.