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Quote of the Day

Once in the dear dead days beyond recall, an out-of-town visitor was being shown the wonders of the New York Financial District. When the party arrived at the battery, one of his guides indicated some handsome ships riding at anchor. He said,

“Look, those are the bankers’ and brokers’ yachts.”

“Where are the customer’s yachts?” asked the naive visitor.

-Opening to Where are the Customers’ Yachts by Fred Schwed

February 17th – This Day in Stock Market History

February 17th, 1977 – Blue Chip Stamps, with Charlie Munger as chairman and Warren Buffett as principal shareholder purchases the Buffalo Evening Newspaper – Entering Buffett into the newspaper business.

New York Times covereage of Blue Chip Stamps purchase of Buffalo Evening News on this day in 1977
New York Times coverage of Blue Chip Stamps purchase of Buffalo Evening News on this day in 1977

Buffett and Munger paid $35.5 million for the paper, which was their biggest purchase ever at that time. The history of Buffett and the Buffalo Evening Newspaper is an interesting one – it takes up a whole chapter in Alice Schroeder’s biography on Buffett: The Snowball

Initially, the paper was the most read local paper in Buffalo, but after a court case and managerial trouble, the newspaper began to quickly lose money, losing $1.4 million by November 1977. But things would slowly turn around and by 1983 the paper was making more than $19 million a year.

buffalo_news_turnaround

(The above image comes from Charlie Munger’s Blue Chip Stamps’ 1982 letter to shareholders – see below for link)

February 17th, 2000 – Total trading volume for the day on NASDAQ tops 2 billion shares for the first time, as 2,008,438,100 shares change hands and the NASDAQ Composite Index closes above 4500 for the first time, finishing the day at 4548.92. The record comes as technology company stocks are rapidly appreciating. But the fun does not last much longer, there is less than one month left in the bubble before the NASDAQ begins one of the worst crashes in history.



Best February 17th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History:

1987 – up 2.48%, or 54.14 points

Worst February 17th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History:

 1932 – down 4.09%, or 3.51 points

Read of the Day

Charlie Munger’s wrote the end of year shareholder letters for Blue Chip Stamps from 1978 to 1982 – and they are as great as you would expect.

The full set of letters can be found here:

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