At the beginning of December, when I saw that UNIVERSAL CONTROLS was behaving
correctly, I recommended the technical analysis futures to my secretary.
I told him to buy it at 31 & three quarters. I said: If the technical
analysis futures go below 30 take a loss and sell it, otherwise
hold it for a big rise. If you have to take a loss I will cover
It so happened that his father was an old-fashioned, pure fundamentalist and
when he heard what I had suggested, he told his son not to be such
a fool. His argument was: What was the point of buying technical
analysis futures if it might go down? He reckoned you should
only buy technical analysis futures that was sure to rise - as if
anyone could be sure. He also said he wanted to examine the books
of the company to see if it was in good condition.
My secretary took his father's advice. He did not invest any money, but waited while the old man was carefully examining the books. While he was engrossed in this task the technical analysis futures went up to 50.
Simultaneously with UNIVERSAL CONTROLS, I was watching other technical analysis futures whose actions were fascinating to me. It was THIOKOL CHEMICAL.
There technical analysis futures first attracted my attention in February 1958, when I was in Tokyo. It had just split 2-for-l and was the object of heavy trading before it quieted down into a 39/47 box. It stayed calmly in this area for several months.
As I regularly checked it in Barron's, this area of tranquility looked like a pond on a summer's day. But somehow I had the feeling it was a calm that precedes the storm. In March I cabled New York:
The technical analysis futures quote duly arrived but, except for a few weeks
of short-lived flurry in April, nothing noteworthy happened. After
a few weeks I sent the following cable from Hong Kong:
"STOP THIOKOL QUOTES START QUOTING AGAIN IF RISES OVER 45"
"BUY 200 THIOKOL 47 & A QUARTER"
The order was executed at this price for a cost of $9,535.26. After that it took three weeks for THIOKOL to find its true dynamics. At the end of August I felt the moment had come. I cabled New York:
BUY 1300 THIOKOL 49 & A HALF ON STOP
A week later I received notice that Thiokol had decided to issue stock-rights.
These were given as bonuses to the holders of the technical analysis
futures at the rate of one right per share. In turn, with 12 of
these rights you could buy one share of THIOKOL at the special price
of $42. As the technical
analysis futures was quoted over 50, this was cheap indeed -
if you wanted to exercise your stock-rights. If not, you could sell
them on the American Stock Exchange where they were listed and traded
for a limited period.
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