Investment Nuggets: Jesse Livermore

Jesse Livermore has long been hailed as one of the most flamboyant market speculators of all time.

He became popular for making and losing several multi-million dollar fortunes and short-selling (selling stocks ahead of buying them) during the stock market crashes in 1907 and 1929.

Known by epithets such as “Boy Plunger”, “The Great Bear”, and “The Wall Street Wonder”, Jesse Livermore has left behind a working philosophy for those involved in trading securities. Ironically, Livermore lost all his money in trading and attributed his losses to the non-adherence to his own rules.

Here's a selection of his most popular quotes and his rules.

“When I am bearish and I sell a stock, each sale must be at a lower level than the previous sale. When I am buying, the reverse is true. I must buy on a rising scale. I don't buy long stock on a scale down, I buy on a scale up.”

“One should never permit speculative ventures to run into investments. Don't become an Involuntary Investor. Investors often take tremendous losses for no other reason that that their stocks are bought and paid for.”

“No one man, or group of men, can make or break a market today. One may form an opinion regarding a certain stock and believe that it is going to have a pronounced move, either up or down, and eventually be correct in his opinion but will lose money by presuming or acting on his opinion too soon.

“The point I would here emphasise is that after forming an opinion with respect to a certain stock — do not be too anxious to get into it. Wait and watch the action of that stock for confirmation to buy. Have a fundamental basis to be guided by.”

“Markets are never wrong — opinions often are. The latter are of no value to the investor or speculator unless the market acts in accordance with his ideas.”

“It is foolhardy to make a second trade, if your first trade shows you a loss. Never average losses.”

“As long as a stock is acting right, and the market is right, do not be in a hurry to take a profit. You know you are right, because if you were not, you would have no profit at all. Let it ride and ride along with it. It may grow into a very large profit, and as long as the action of the market does not give you any cause to worry have the courage of your convictions and stay with it.”

“Profits always take care of themselves but losses never do. The speculator has to insure himself against considerable losses by taking the first small loss.”

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