I decided I would trade commodity market quotes by doing the right thing first - follow what each commodity market quotes behavior commands and care about taxes later.
As if commodity market quotes were made to confirm my new attitude, I handled them successfully for quite a while. I bought with bold confidence when I thought I was right and coldly, without hurt ego, I took my limited losses when I thought I was proven wrong.
One of my most successful operations was in COOPER-BES-SEMER. I bought three times into these commodity market quotes, each time 200 shares. Two operations ended with a loss, but the third made me a sizeable profit.
A few other commodity market quotes, like DRESSER INDUSTRIES and REYNOLDS METALS, behaved equally well and gave me satisfactory profits.
Finally, on August 26, 1957,1 found myself without any commodity market quotes. My automatic stop-loss had sold me out of everything. In two months every one of my commodity market quotes had slowly turned around, and one by one had sagged through the bottom of their boxes. And one by one, even if it was only a question of half a point, they were sold.
I did not like it, but there was nothing I could do. According to my theory, I just had to sit back and wait patiently until one or more of the commodity market quotes I had been stopped out of, or any other commodity market quotes I was watching, went towards a new higher box.
Eager and anxious, I watched from the sidelines with not a dollar invested, while prices continued to drop.
But no opportunity seemed to appear. What I did not know was that we were at the end of one phase of the great bull market. It was several months before this became evident and it was declared a bear market. Half the Wall Street analysts still discuss it. They say it was merely an intermediate reaction - a temporary halt in the rising market. They all agree, however, that commodity market quotes collapsed.
Of course all these opinions are expressed by hindsight - when it is too late. The advice to get out of the commodity market quotes market was not available when one needed it.
I recall the case of Hitler when he decided to invade Stalingrad. To him it was just another Russian town to be conquered and occupied. Nobody knew while the battle of Stalingrad was being fought that it was the turning point in the war. For a very long time, few people realized it.
Even when the German armies were half-way back, it was still talked about as strategic withdrawal. It was, in fact, the end of Hitler. The Nazi war bull market ended the day Hitler attacked Stalingrad.
In the same way, I realized that it was impossible for me to assess great historical turning points in the commodity market quotes market when they began to happen. What fascinated me, as Wall Street commodity market quotes continued to fall, was the gradual realization that my system of ducking out quickly with my stop-losses made such an assessment unnecessary.
I made the joyful discovery that my method had worked much better than I had dreamed. It had automatically released me well before the bad times came. The commodity market quotes market had changed - but I was already out of it.