Old guy throwing in the Towel

Discussion in 'Trading' started by timcar, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. timcar


    As the stock market roared higher in the spring of 2000, Bill's Barber Shop was the place in town for a $10 haircut and a hot stock tip.
    More than a decade later, Bill's shop is still standing. But it is $15 for a trim. And stock-market talk now is taboo.
    So it was a special exception Tuesday afternoon, when William Flynn turned the TV briefly to the financial news and watched the Dow Jones Industrial Average notch a record closing high. After watching in a stoic silence, he switched the channel back to "Dr. Phil" and swept up hair clippings.
    Mr. Flynn has been through two booms and busts in the 13 years since his investing travails were first chronicled in The Wall Street Journal. In those days, Bill's Barber Shop was a hub of stock-market fever. Mr. Flynn, a hefty former high-school hockey star with a handlebar mustache, was hot on technology stocks, with a special passion for data-storage company Corp. EMC +1.46%
    Mr. Flynn would cut hair while he and his regulars—including local Maytag dealer Rick Capobianco; Ron Danforth, owner of a direct-mail business; and gas-station proprietor Rick Smithson—traded news on highflying stocks and mentally tallied their winnings.
    The next few years weren't so kind to him and millions of other investors. Most of those stocks plummeted. Some companies filed for bankruptcy protection.
    Mr. Flynn's mixed feelings as the Dow broke through its 2007 record this week is reflective of a collective shrug by investors across the country. Despite the market more than doubling off its lows, the rally has yet to kindle the public imagination.
    After all, many households have suffered through five years of volatility, only to end up back where they started. Others, like Mr. Flynn, remain so demoralized by the busts of 2000 and 2008 that they have missed the latest boom entirely.
    Mr. Flynn and other investors also are skeptical about the stock surge at a time when the economy feels so weak for many individuals. Unemployment remains high and home prices remain far below where they stood just five or six years ago.
    William Flynn, owner of Bill's Barber Shop, saw most of his retirement savings vanish in the stock market and he's not lured by its latest rally.
    Surveys show that many investors haven't come back to stocks, believing the rally can't last. Other say shares have been artificially propped up by the Federal Reserve's extraordinary stimulus measures. And, while the Dow is back to record levels, the Nasdaq Composite, home to many of the technology stocks in Mr. Flynn's portfolio, including EMC, is still 36% shy of its March 10, 2000 peak—an anniversary that comes on Sunday.
    Mr. Flynn, 73 years old and a life-long barber, has been clipping hair in his small clapboard barbershop just off Main Street for 15 years and figures he will still be standing at the black swivel chair when the next bust comes. Plans for a retirement in Las Vegas have been put on permanent hold.
    On Tuesday afternoon, as the Dow climbed to its record close, a handful of customers came and went. Not one mentioned the stock market. The day's big topics: Plans for the local St. Patrick's Day parade and construction up the road that is holding up traffic.
    A computer in the back room, once ablaze with stock charts and tickers, is now used mainly for the occasional game of Solitaire.
    His old trading buddies rarely drop by, including Mr. Capobianco, who was once a regular at Bill's, stopping by even if he didn't need a haircut. He was never a convert to the tech mania, he said, though he did buy EMC shares at Mr. Flynn's urging. The 61-year-old moved his appliance store a few miles down the road a little more than a decade ago. He switched barbers, and only sees Mr. Flynn from time to time.
    For one thing, Mr. Capobianco has had more luck investing. Mr. Capobianco's skepticism of technology stocks meant he lost only about 12% in the bust. Since then, he has bought such stocks as General Electric Co. GE +0.38%and Yum Brands Inc. YUM +0.70%He sold his EMC shares to expanded his Maytag dealership and help pay for his son's college education.
    Mr. Capobianco is among a growing pool of investors warming up to stocks again. "What I have, I invest," Mr. Capobianco said. "I'm not going to be buying a villa in France or anything, but I'm doing all right."
    Like Mr. Capobianco, Mr. Smithson managed to get out of most of his stocks before the big bust. He used the money to buy a house. He still pops into Bill's Barber Shop for a trim.
    "We still talk about stocks now and then, but not like we used to," said Mr. Smithson, who now runs an auto-repair shop. He remains invested in a few tech stocks, like Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.50%and Marvell Technology Group Ltd., MRVL +3.09%a semiconductor maker.
    Mr. Danforth, who ran the direct-mail business on Cape Cod, said he lost money in the downturn. But he sold his franchise for a profit and now is living in an exclusive lakeside community in western Massachusetts, where he retired and took up woodworking.
    Mr. Danforth, age 74, said he feels bad Mr. Flynn can't retire, too. "At that age, you shouldn't have to worry about those things," he said.
  2. timcar


    Mr. Flynn claimed to have put 100 friends into EMC stock in 2000, including Mr. Capobianco. After Mr. Flynn's appearance in the Journal in March 2000, EMC invited the barber to a shareholder's meeting to meet company executives. Mr. Flynn later wore a jacket emblazoned with the EMC logo around town.
    The barber held EMC stock to a peak of about $130 a share, only to ride it back down to less than $4. His fortune began with $150,000, swelled to $834,000 in September 2000, and then shrank back to about where it started.
    Mr. Flynn said his wife, Jean, panicked. She had always worried about her husband's big stock market bets. Mr. Flynn, meantime, said he grew forlorn.
    "My wife and I were really shook up by it," he said. "I was so despondent over it, I just let it go. I thought to myself, 'If it comes back, it does. If it doesn't, then, well….'"
    EMC closed Friday at $24.30.
    Mr. Flynn took a breather from trading before getting back into the market in 2007. He put some money in Eastman Kodak Co., EKDKQ -0.50%at the urging of a stock broker. The camera-maker filed for bankruptcy last year, wiping out the barber's $28,000 investment.
    A few weeks ago, Mr. Flynn made a decision to sell what was left in his portfolio. "I've been thinking about it a long time, and my wife and I talked about it," Mr. Flynn said.

    """"We came to the conclusion that the stock market is just not for us.""""

    Seems like a lot of people are THROWING in the TOWEL even with the market at all time highs.
  3. Read that just now from weekend WSJ.

    If you are able to read deeper in to why they invested, you may conclude they were not the most intelligent of investors. I take I as a bullish sign...he was wrong then as he is now.
  4. eurusdzn



    What the hell a are you are posting. Go back to making serious money dude.
  5. neke


    That was a big gamble for a then 60-year old man in 2000. Putting all his retirement in one hot stock.
  6. When I first read the thread title I thought this was going to be OldTime's farewell speech. :p

    Interesting article though.
  7. kut2k2


    Ho-hum, another dumbvestor bites the dust. What else is new?

    We are traders, not investors. We don't get married to our purchases, we just take them to a nearby sleazy motel, screw them for all they're worth, then kick them out of bed in the morning. :p

    P.S. I don't treat women like that but I got no problem treating securities like that.
  8. southall


    13 years to the day since the tech bubble peaked.

    Anyone over 35 who had money to play with in 2000 still remembers it all too well.. so 13 years is too soon to have another stock market bubble.

    I think in the 2020's then we get another bubble. the dow runs to over 20,000 and keeps on going, who knows where it will peak, then we get a crash in 2029 just like we had in 1929.
  9. Humpy


    Same ole story. When the little guys like cab drivers, shoeshine boys ( do they even exist anymore ? ) are rushing to get in then the smart guys are looking at the exit and propertie in The Hamptons.
  10. i remember that day,Bill Clinton came out on tube and said something about mapping human gnome, later that day stocks sold off and kept selling off
    #10     Mar 10, 2013