Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Pluggers cartoon

h/t Tribune Media Services

“Pluggers are self-deprecating and have a healthy sense of humor about themselves. They represent the majority of us who don’t live for the latest trend, who keep plugging along without fanfare and try to balance work, play and family life.”
— Gary Brookins

Throwback Thursday to this date in 2005 when I made the funny papers (see cartoon above).

Having a good sense of humor and the persistence to keep plugging along through the ups and downs of life are valuable qualities which help you on your way.

Have fun, plug away, and enjoy a great day!

Best regards,


Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

“Don’t anchor your self-worth to your net worth. Almost everything that is important in life can’t be measured in dollars.”
— Ian Cassel

…or pesos.  We’re back, recharged after a wonderful week with my in-laws down on the Baja.

Simple care and lovingkindness for your family, friends, other people, animals, and the planet, that’s the good stuff.  You see, that’s what endures.

Go get ’em, folks!

Best regards,


Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Super Bloom

Super Bloom, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, h/t Sumiko Scott / Getty Images

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
— Hal Borland

So it is, as well, with markets.  Cycles come in, sometimes stronger than others.

Welcome Home, Spring!

This year, we’ve got a Super Bloom of wildflowers in Southern California.  I love seeing the desert in bloom.  For a guy who grew up on Long Island, the desert seems like a place out of the movies.  Seeing such vibrant colors spring forth from the stark terrain gives us hope.

Best regards,



Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Russell Sage

Russell Sage, circa 1870 h/t Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“He wears no crown upon his royal head,
But many millions in his purse, instead;

He keeps no halls of state; but holds his court
in dingy rooms where thrift and greed resort;

In iron chests his wondrous wealth he hoards;
Banks are his parlors; brokers his lords,

Bonds, bills, and mortgages, his favorite books,
Gold is his food, and coiners are his cooks; …”
— John G. Saxe, The Money-King, 1854

Saxe’s lengthy mid-nineteenth century poem is descriptive of the exalted financial state of the European banking families considered to be “Money-Kings.”

In 2019, many of the poem’s couplets ring familiar with today’s growing problem of income inequality.

It’s something to consider, when considering those running for office.

Best regards,


PS My father, Paul Sarnoff, authored a biography of Russell Sage, published in 1965, Russell Sage: The Money King.  Sage banked the tycoons and helped shape the Industrial Revolution.  He became one of the wealthiest people in US history.

Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Firecracker the Pig

Firecracker, h/t

There’s an old Wall Street adage, “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered,” warning investors against excessive greed.

Thinking of pigs reminds us to be kind and compassionate human beings.  We vote with our dollars.  Let’s strive to be socially responsible and conscious consumers, as well as thoughtful investors and speculators.

At the cusp of the Lunar New Year, the Chinese Zodiac’s Year of the Pig, with gratitude galore, we’re sending a shout out to Jordan, Matt, and all the great volunteers at Farm Animal Refuge.

It’s a wonderful place, located in Campo, California, less than an hour’s drive east of San Diego, where people can be educated and inspired by seeing fortunate animals, like Firecracker above, simply living their lives .

Farm Animal Refuge provides a true home to abused, neglected, unwanted animals.  Click here for a 2-minute video report, nicely done by the Union-Tribune.

Check out the Farm Animal Refuge nonprofit and please consider donating to them.

Many thanks,


Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Stockbroker tie

Detail from my father’s stockbroker tie

“Remember, your goal is to trade well, not to trade often.”
— Alexander Elder

I concur with Dr. Elder.  My father, Paul Sarnoff, was fond of saying in his Brooklynese, “Sometimes da bulls gotta get fed and sometimes da bears gotta get fed.  But da brokers eat wheddah da market goes up or down.”

Accentuate That

When I first went west, in the early-1980s, people made a big deal of my New York accent.

I shook my head, “What accent?”

One morning, after I’d been in Idaho for a while, I was on the phone with my dad and asked him about my brother Mitch being in New York City, down from his home in Rhode Island.  What I heard, kinda shocked me, “He met ya muddah fer lunch at some jernt uptown.”

I was taken aback, “muddah,” “jernt,” what an accent!

I guess there’ll always be a little New Yorker in me.

For thirty years now, our approach at Options Hotline is that the only ones sure to profit from doing a lot of trades are the brokers.

Any way you say it, we strive for quality over quantity.

This week’s action should reveal some valuable information about the market’s intended primary direction.

I hope you enjoyed my little story.

Best regards,


Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Cartoon from the Wall Street Journal

Cartoon by Bo Brown, h/t Wall Street Journal

No, I don’t have a crystal ball. Run from anyone who tells you they know what the markets will do.

Yes, back in another century, I did start out drawing my Japanese candlestick charts by hand.  It was a good way to develop a feel for the price movement of stocks and commodities.

Besides the hand-drawn charts, something else jumped out at me from this vintage cartoon.

Note the absence of women in this snapshot of a bygone era.

Some things have changed for the better, but there is still much work to be done in regards to closing the gender wage gap.

Best regards,


Wednesday’s Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

The Sub Treasury Building (now Federal Hall National Memorial) and the statue of George Washington, opposite the Stock Exchange in New York in October, 1929.

by Steven Sarnoff

Selling is setting the tone to start the year in pre-market trading.  Because of the holiday-abbreviated week, today feels like a Monday.  Following, you’ll get two for Tuesday on a Wednesday!

This bit of simple wisdom may be among the most difficult for traders to learn:

“Markets are never wrong; opinions are.”

— Jesse L. Livermore

As a chartist and technician, I am particularly fond of this Japanese adage:

“The chart is never wrong; only the analysis.”

Two bits of personal trivia:

My first job on Wall Street was as a runner (messenger) in the early-1980s and I used to eat lunch on the steps of Federal Hall.

My father, Paul Sarnoff, authored a biography titled, Jesse Livermore Speculator-King, published in 1967.

As Options Hotline begins its 30th year of publication, we’ll continue to tune out the noise and use our charts to focus on what the market is telling us.

Best regards,



Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Kristen Visbal’s Fearless Girl facing the New York Stock Exchange

by Steven Sarnoff

Happy New Year!

In my last Options Hotline social media (facebook, twitter, linkedin) post of 2018, I shared with readers the important idea that traders must not confuse Simple with Easy. Having done that, it sparked a notion that in this new year you might enjoy and benefit from a bit of wit and wisdom to start your trading day.

Even though the market is closed today, let’s go with:

“I will tell you my secret if you wish. It is this: I never buy at the bottom and I always sell too soon.”

— Baron Rothschild

Let me know what you think.

Wishing you good health and good fortune in 2019!


Animal Spirits In The Stock Market

h/t NatGeo

by Steven Sarnoff

Note: The chart within is updated from my original article, which appeared November 21st on other media platforms.

When I was young my father would enjoy telling me a fable, “The Scorpion and The Frog.” With Financial Talking Heads debating whether stocks are still in a bull market or now a bear, I hearken back to that tale.

Continue reading