Going long a security has always had a wholesome ring to it; it says you believe in a company, you see a bright future for it, you stand by its management, and you back it up by investing in it.
Going short however has the stigma of nastiness; its Machiavellian, sinister, a bit like doing the old in out to an unconsenting devotchka or watching a new Tom cruise movie. It's wrong, leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and has been called "un-American".
Unlike Tom Cruise however, going short is awesome, and often leads to interesting stories.
Without further ado, here are the 7 most epic plungers in history.
Shorted stocks during the 1929 crash all the way to the bottom to the tune of $100,000,000. But he came home to an empty house; his wife, who heard of the crash, feared they became insolvent and moved all their furniture and belongings to the guest house. Upon meeting Mrs. Livermore he said, "I made the most money I ever had today" and then had the stuff sent back.
"It's going to be Rock and Roll." "It will have Wall Street in a tizzy and it will create headlines that will dwarf anything at this point in time." Hell yeah it did, Tudor gained over 80% that October alone shorting S&P's. PTJ, who was in his early 30's then, supposedly banked $100 million for himself.
In the aftermath of Black Monday, Krieger; a vegetarian, Sanskrit expert turned cheeseburger munching FX trader at Bankers Trust, set his sights on the New Zealand Dollar. Amassing a short position larger than the entire New Zealand money supply, he caused massive losses in local industries and turned the Kiwi into "a wounded pigeon." He worked for Soros the next year but quit before getting his bonus, setting stage for...
If Black Wednesday was a horror movie, "Go for the jugular" would have been the last words the GBP would have heard before its screams. The Quantum fund spent two days selling the Pound out of the ERM, banking them a billion and naming Soros "The man who broke the Bank of England."
You know when a trades going your way when the price ticks the way you want it, and even more so when you get the CFO fired. Einhorn already had a name in the hedge fund world but when he publicly took down Lehman, and saw Fuld and crew burn to the ground, he cemented himself as a heavy hitter.
So which of these was the greatest of all?
Would you rather have made $100 million shorting the world in 1929?
Or would you rather take down Fortune 400 companies?
Enjoy your weekend WSO.