A Few Losses Is Completely Normal When Trading In The Option Markets

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The Nicholas Darvas Option Markets Success Story (part 6)

When I did invest $100 I almost always lost $20 or $30 at once in the option markets. But a few stocks did go up and I was comparatively happy.

Even when I had to go to New York I continued to telephone my option markets orders to brokers in Toronto.

I did that because I did not even know you could transact Canadian option markets business through a New York broker. The Toronto brokers would telephone tips and I always bought

the option they or the Canadian financial advisory services suggested. Like all small hit-and-miss operators, I put down my losses to bad luck. I knew - I was certain - that one day I would have good luck. I was not wrong all the time - in some ways it would have been better if I had been. Once in a while I made a few dollars in the option markets. It was always a complete accident.

Here is an example. The Canadian option tables had become obsessive reading with me. One day when I was looking through them I saw a option called CALDER BOUSQUET. I still do not know what it was or what the company produces. But it was such a pretty name. I liked the sound of it, so I bought 5,000 shares at 18 cents, for a total of $900.

Then I had to fly to Madrid on a dancing engagement. One month later when I came back I opened the paper and looked for the name. It had gone up to 3 6 cents. That was double the price I had paid. I sold it - and made $900 in the option markets. It was just blind luck.

It was doubly blind luck because not only had it gone up for no good reason, but if I had not been dancing in Spain I would certainly have sold the option when it rose to 22 cents. I could not get Canadian option markets quotations while I was in Spain so I was saved from selling too soon by being in blissful ignorance concerning the option markets movements.

This was a strange, mad period, but it only seems so in retrospect. At that time I felt I was really beginning to be a big-time operator. I was proud of myself because I was working on option markets tips of a more educated nature than my previous headwaiter, dressing-room information. My Canadian option markets brokers called me, my financial services advised me, and if I did get a tip I felt I was getting it from the source. I cultivated more and more the society of prosperous businessmen in cocktail lounges who told me about oil companies which were going to strike it rich. They whispered where there was uranium in Alaska; they confided about sensational developments in Quebec. All these were guaranteed to make a great fortune in the option markets if you could only get into the stocks now. I did, but they did not make me any money.

By the end of 1953, when I returned to New York, my $11,000 was down to $5,800. Once again I had to reconsider my position. The businessmen's tips did not produce the Eldorado they promised. The advisory services did not provide the information that enables you to make money in the option markets. Their stocks tended much more to go down than up.

I could not get quotes for some of my Canadian stocks in the New York newspapers, yet option markets quotations fascinated me so much that I began to read the financial columns in papers like The New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. I did not buy any of the stocks that the New York exchanges quoted, but I still remember the impact of the beautiful names of some of the stocks in the option markets and the appeal of some of the mysterious phrases like "over the counter."

The more I read, the more I became interested in the New York option markets. I decided to sell all my Canadian option except for OLD SMOKY GAS & OILS - and I kept this one because the man who gave me the option in the first place advised me that fantastic developments were expected. As usual, no fantastic developments took place, and after five months in the New York option markets I gave up the unequal struggle. I sold my last Canadian option, which I had bought for 19 cents, for 10 cents.

In the meantime I had begun to wonder if the bigger jungle nearer home, the New York option markets, would not be easier to assail. I called a friend of mine, a New York theatrical agent, Eddie Elkort, and asked him if he knew a New York broker. He gave me the name of a man whom I will call Lou Keller.  


This article is actually only a small snippet of Nicolas Darvas' work...

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