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GFD Blog

The Panic of 1792

The first attempt at a stock corner in the United States came at the birth of the American stock market, occurring even before the New York Stock Exchange had been established. Instead, it occurred in trading at Philadelphia. In 1792, Philadelphia was both the capitol and the financial center of the United States. Consequently, it is not surprising that politics and finance intermixed to create the nation’s first financial panic and the first time the government stepped in to save the markets from themselves.

Alexander Hamilton and the Bank of the United States

Alexander Hamil ...

Jacob Little and the First Stock Corner

Jacob Little was the first and one of the greatest speculators on Wall Street. He engineered the first successful stock corner on the New York Stock Exchange in 1835, and was known as “Ursa Major,” or “the Great Bear of Wall Street.” Like any bear, he was loathed by the bulls, but through his stock operations, he became one of the richest men in the United States. Although Little is now mostly forgotten, his speculative expertise laid the foundation for Jay Gould, Daniel Drew, Jesse Livermore and others who followed in his footsteps.

Jacob Little was born in 1794. His father was a man ...

Eddie Gilbert: The Boy Wonder of Wall Street

Eddie Gilbert died on December 23, 2015, four days shy of his ninety-third birthday, though few people outside of Albuquerque, noticed his passing.

This is surprising. Gilbert was once known as the “boy wonder of Wall Street” for his successful stock market trading and his takeover of E.L. Bruce in which he created the last corner on a U.S. Exchange. Gilbert also went to prison twice, was friends with Jack Kerouac, John Dos Passos and other luminaries, made and lost fortunes, and finally succeeded with his real estate business in New Mexico, becoming a multi-millionaire. Despite havin ...

Are the Markets Up A Creek?

This year started weak. So weak in fact that the first ten trading days of January were the worst in US history. The television is rife with talking heads exuberant over who they can point the finger at. “Oil,” one shouted. “Tech,” said another. A third bemoaned turbulence on the other side of the pond in European banks staring down a dry well of capital. Lastly, on February 10, 2016, Janet Yellen, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank, faces tough questions from the White House on Capitol Hill, discussing the condition of the economy and interest rate hikes.

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The Piggly Crisis

The next time you go to the grocery store, pull out a shopping basket and walk down the aisles, you should think about the fact that the modern grocery store is a result of the innovations of one man: Clarence Saunders.

Saunders’ Self-Shopping Innovation

Until the 1920s, customers did not pick up their own groceries. Instead, they went to clerks who stood behind a counter and put together their purchases for them. Think of the way an old country store was set up.Saunders was obsessed with the idea of efficiency, and thought that customers wasted a lot of time waiting on cler ...

The Perpetuities that are No Longer Perpetual

At the beginning of 2015, the British government had £2.59 billion in undated securities outstanding, representing about 0.23% of the British government’s gilt portfolio. These bonds had no set redemption date, but could be redeemed with three months’ notice. In theory, the gilts could have existed forever.

These securities had originally been issued between 1853 and 1946 and replaced securities that originated back in the 1700s. Unfortunately, they are no more. The last undated gilt, also referred to as a perpetuity because it had no redemption date, was called in by the British gove ...

Biddle’s Bank

“I sincerely believe, with you, that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies.” – Thomas Jefferson

At the end of the Bush administration’s time in office, the government, to the chagrin of some and applause of others, instigated one of the biggest bail outs in history. In 2009 the Obama administration continued Bush’s policies in this regard, however, they hoped they’d use the government’s generosity as leverage over the banking industry, arguing for lower bonuses and concessions on increased transparency and regulation. Fast forward ...

United States Bank Database Adds Data on Over 4,000 Banks

Global Financial Data has expanded its unprecedented coverage of U.S. Stocks with the addition of data on over 4,000 banks unavailable from any other source. No other data provider can compete with the robust nature of GFD’s emerging US Stocks Database. Through the efforts of our economists and research department, Global Financial Data has assembled 200 years of stock history covering every bull and bear market. GFD has eliminated both the survivorship bias and the exchange bias by including every US exchange as well as stocks that traded over-the-counter.The United States Bank Database inclu ...

Crazy Chris

 I met Chris while I was a broker. As everyone knows, brokers are salesmen who happen to deal in the stock market. It is better to know nothing about the stock market and be a good salesperson than to have twenty years’ experience in the stock market and have no sales experience.

The first thing the brokerage firm tells you when you are hired is to call up all your friends and get them to invest with you. Once you have gone through your list of friends, then you call your friends’ friends, and then you call the friends of your friends’ friends. When you run out of leads, start co ...

High Noon at the NYSE: Stutz vs. the Shorts

Until 1934 when the Securities and Exchange Commission outlawed rigging the market, Wall Street was occasionally treated to a battle between shorts and long that ended in a corner on the market. A stock is cornered when shorts have sold more shares in a company than are in the outstanding float, and one shareholder owns the floating stock. Since the shorts must cover their positions by buying back the shares they have borrowed, if one person owns all the shares, he can set the price and the shorts have no choice but to pay the price the owner demands. There were only four stock market corner ...

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