CHAPTER XXVI. SUCCESSFUL SPECULATION

Success in stock speculation depends upon a few things that are very simple.

If you know what to buy, when to buy, and when to sell, and will act in accordance with that knowledge, your success is assured. You may think it is impossible to know these things, but it is not so difficult as it is supposed to be.

Many people buy stocks at the wrong time, and most of those who do buy them at the right time, buy the wrong stocks. Right now (early in April, 1922) is buying time in the stock market, and it is possible that this buying time may continue—with some interruptions—for another year or two, or even longer.

It is more difficult, however, to tell you WHAT stocks to buy. First of all, we advise you against buying stocks that are put up to high prices by manipulation. Of course, if you get in one of those stocks right and get out right, your profits are very large, but you take a great risk, and those who win once or twice by this method are almost sure to lose everything sooner or later in an effort to do the same thing again. Your chances are not much better than if you gambled at Monte Carlo. The chances in buying manipulated stocks are invariably against the outsider.

There always is so much publicity about these very active speculative stocks that the public is attracted towards them. Newspapers and brokers' market letters give altogether too much space to them. Such stocks sell far too high, and when the break comes, it brings ruinous losses to many people.

On the other hand, by following a conservative course, you really have a chance to make large profits with a minimum risk. We are giving below sixteen stocks that we recommended in our Advisory Letter of February 14th, 1922, with the approximate prices of them then and the approximate prices on March 31st. In arriving at these prices, we took the closing prices on February 13th and on March 31st, and omitted the fractions. We recommended only sixteen stocks on that date, and you will see that every one of them made substantial gains.

Stock Approximate
Price
Feb. 14, 1922
Approximate
Price
Mar. 31, 1922
Profit
C. R. I. & P. pfd (6) 75 79 4
C. R. I. & P. pfd (7) 88 93 5
New York Central 76 88 12
Pacific Gas & Electric 64 68 4
Consolidated Gas 90 109 19
American Telephone & Telegraph 118 121 3
General Motors Deb. (6) 70 78 8
General Motors Deb. (7) 81 91 10
U. S. Steel 87 95 8
Dome Mines 23 26 3
Laclede Gas 50 63 13
Missouri Pacific Pfd 48 54 6
C. R. I. & P. Common 33 40 7
Am. Smel. & Refining 45 53 8
Anaconda 47 51 4
Erie Common 10 11 1
Total 1005 1120 115

Let us suppose you bought ten shares of each of these stocks on February 14th. They would have cost you $10,050. We recommended 30% margin on the first ten, all of which were dividend payers; and 50% margin on the last six, because they were more speculative and would have been more affected by a reaction in the market. To buy ten shares of each on that margin basis would have required a little less than $3,500, but let us suppose you put up $3,500. After allowing for buying and selling commissions and interest on the balance of $6,550, but crediting you with dividends paid, your profit would be about 32% or at the rate of about 250% per annum.

Of course, we do not claim that by following the conservative course we advise, you always will make such large profits, although you might do just as well as that if you took advantage of some of the opportunities so frequently to be found in the market; but keen discrimination in what you buy always is necessary. However, let us suppose you made annual profits of one-fifth the above amount, or 50%, which is easily possible without taking the risks that are usually taken in stock speculating. If you invested $1000 and made 50% profit per annum, reinvesting your profit at the same rate each year for twenty years, you would have more than THREE MILLION DOLLARS.