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Quote of the Day

 

“Lose money for the firm and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.”

-Warren Buffett, then Chairman for Solomon Brothers, in testimony in front of Congress to defend the bank, which was in crisis after bond trader Paul Mozer attempted to corner the U.S. Treasury market on this day in 1991 (Video below).

 

 

May 22nd – This Day in Stock Market History

 

 

May 22nd, 1990 – Microsoft releases Windows 3.0.

 

New York Times coverage of Microsoft's release of Windows 3.0
New York Times coverage of Microsoft’s release of Windows 3.0

 

“When the annals of the PC are written, May 22nd, 1990 will mark the first day of the second era of IBM-compatible PCs. On that day Microsoft released Windows 3.0. And on that day, the IBM PC, a machine hobbled by an outmoded operating system…was transformed into a computer that could soar.”

-PC Computing Magazine, on the reaction to the reveal of Windows 3.0, on this day in 1990.

 

Bill Gates and Microsoft spent over $3 million to put on one of the most expensive and lavish product reveals in history. Gates even called it “The most extravagant, extensive and expensive software introduction ever.”

Windows_3

It would sell 1 million copies in 4 months and become the best selling software in history. The latest version of windows was priced at $150 (About $280 in today’s dollars) or $50 for those upgrading from an older version.

Although Microsoft had been successful with previous versions of DOS and Windows, it was Windows 3.0 that really propelled Microsoft into the dominating position it enjoys today. 1990 was the beginning of a huge decade long run up in Microsoft stock. (All prices in the chart below are split adjusted)

msft_chart

Source: Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire

 

 

May 22nd, 1991 – Solomon Brothers trader Paul Mozer attempts to corner the U.S. Treasury market, illegally placing orders and buying 90% of the bills in the $12.26 billion auction. The result would lead to a massive crisis at Solomon, turning Warren Buffett into its temporary chairman and nearly ruining the company.

No one knew what Mozer had done until much later. However, newspapers reported strong demand for the bond auction. One trader describing the auction as a “Very unusual auction” and that there seemed to be an “Isolated source of demand” for the securities. Little did they know, a rouge trader at the most infamous investment bank in Wall Street had broken the law.

 

New York Times coverage of the U.S Treasury bond auction that Mozer cornered in 1991
New York Times coverage of the U.S Treasury bond auction that Mozer cornered in 1991

 

The incident would lead to Warren Buffett testifying in front of Congress. Here is a video clip of his now famous testimony, where he gives the quote “Lose money for the firm and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.”:



 

Best May 22nd in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1986 – Up 1.75%, 31.13 points.

 

Worst May 22nd in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1929 – Down 4.22%, 13.26 points.