Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Near-Perfect Market Indicator Discovered

Years of Research Reveals Consistent Trading Edge in Aurora, IL

Stock market researchers at the University of Chicago yesterday announced a breakthrough in their efforts to find the perfect market indicator. He is Delbert Dunmore, a home-based trader in Aurora, Illinois.

According to Giovanni Celini, Ph.D. of the University's Institute for Market Research, Mr. Dunmore has failed to make money for 18 consecutive years of trading, with only a single month of gains during that time.

"This is a result far beyond chance," Dr. Celini noted. "Mr. Dunmore has been remarkably consistent in his ability to lose money."

At first, the University researchers thought that Dunmore had discovered a key to losing in the markets. Only after careful observation, however, did they find that Dunmore himself was the key.

"The man has incredibly poor judgment," Dr. Celini reports in The Behavioral Finance Journal. "We call it a 'Reverse Midas Effect': everything he touches turns to shit."

Dr. Wayne Byerly, behavioral finance researcher at Cornell University, believes that the Reverse Midas Effect may win the Chicago researchers a Nobel Prize. "Mr. Dunmore is helping us answer questions that have never been asked before, such as 'What keeps people trading when they are so obviously devoid of talent?'"

None of this seems to faze the 42 year old Illinois trader, who was recently hired by a well-known New York investment bank to head their Contrary Opinion desk. "People say I lose all the time," Dunmore explained, "but at least I'm good at something." Indeed, his incredible consistency has brought him celebrity status, as he recently shared a STuBY award with Native Americans, Salem witches, and the Chicago Cubs, honoring America's greatest losers.

His brush with fame, however, almost never came to be as he recently experienced his first winning month in nearly two decades of trading. "I felt pretty good coming into June," Dunmore explained, "and I bought a boatload of Harold's Stores (HLD) stock in the middle of the month. I didn't realize that I typed in the wrong symbol, though, and wound up owning the exchange-traded fund for gold (GLD). Damn thing went through the roof."

This was quite a blow for Dunmore. "I couldn't believe I lost my losing streak," he lamented. "For days, I went around feeling like a total loser."

Lately, however, the Chicago suburbanite has returned to consistent form, as he shorted the oil market after reading an online bulletin board tip that massive new hurricanes had not demolished the Gulf coast overnight. This trade was so spectacularly misconceived that it landed Dunmore a spot on a local access cable television show in Aurora.

Dunmore attributes his success as a market failure to a strategy a trading coach helped him implement many years ago. "At the end of every year, I replenish my trading account," he explained. "If I didn't do that, I'd never have become the trader I am today."


Brett N. Steenbarger, Ph.D. lives perilously close to Aurora, IL and offers a tip of the hat to The Onion and the many Delbert Dunmores who keep trading psychologists busy.