Let’s Call It A Hunch…

July 19, 2018

Yesterday afternoon, I got together with one of my nearby trading friends to catch up, talk about the markets, discuss good foods and wines, and generally just hang.

We met at a local townie dive BBQ roadhouse in my small mountain town. When I say “local” and “townie” and “dive” and “small mountain town” — yes, it’s everything you imagine that would be like.

I’m setting this scene for you because a curious thing happened.

My friend and I were enjoying our meals and discussion while sitting up at the bar. We were flanked on both sides by complete strangers, all presumably locals. And our discussion about trading and markets did not go unnoticed by the people on either side of us.

At one point, the Gentleman to my immediate right heard us mention Robinhood, and proceeded to whip out his smartphone and show us his Robinhood app and wanted to tell us all about how wonderful it is and how he “manages his investments” via this app on his phone. That conversation lasted about 15 minutes.

Next, the Gentleman to the immediate left of my friend decided to chime in and introduce himself as someone who “lives up the mountain” in an even smaller town than the little town we were currently sitting in, and that he’s a full time day trader with an E*trade account. He then whipped out his smart phone, showing us his E*trade app and discussed his positions with us, the fact that he loves trading $AMD, and that trading has been so good to him that he recently paid off his house!

I’m sharing this story with you because it further corroborates a feeling I’ve been having lately.

It’s been more than 20 years since the last time the public began engaging in a mass love-affair with the stock market. It was the 1990’s when Americans from all walks of life last held strong opinions of individual stocks. I’m talking about average folks. Your 9-to-5’ers. In the late 90’s, everybody and their brother was investing in internet stocks, or biotech stocks, or router stocks, or software stocks, or mobile communications stocks, or internet backbone/infrastructure stocks. No matter what type of social engagement you were in, the minute you teased any interest at all in the stock market, immediately people would start gushing to you about all the money they made in XYZ.com stock, or the money they no doubt will make after ABC announces a 3-for-1 stock split.

It was a love affair and seemingly EVERYone was in on it. Office jockeys. Cab Drivers. Pizza Makers. Lawyers. Dentists. Carpenters. Bartenders (especially bartenders). Life Guards. Elementary School Teachers. Grandmothers. Uncles.

I mean EVERYone.

In the 1990’s, people talked about stocks the way people today bitch about politics. It was non-stop.

When the “internet bubble” burst during 2000-2002, the froth was definitely blown away. And stocks conversation became dramatically more muted, mostly because who wants to talk about their losses? It began to be replaced by conversation about flipping homes and zero down payment real estate investments. And then the financial crisis hit, which ruined everything for everyone and since then it has seemed the public has been scared of the stock market and nobody wants to talk about it any more.

Just find me one of them sexy new “passive investment” vehicles and I’ll be ready to buy my starter yacht in 20 years! (LOL).

Which brings me back to today and the feeling I’m having which is shared with some of my closer trader friends (including @TradeIdeas CEO Dan Mirkin)…

I’m thinking we may be on the cusp of another return to a public love affair with the stock market, which in turn in introduces many more opportunities for big profits for those who know what they are doing.

The seeds were sown by the crypto currency mania that attracted an entire class of millennials with no prior experience of market speculation. This new breed caught the trading bug introduced to them by crypto currencies, and is now starting to explore more trading vehicles — and the Stock Market is where a majority of them will likely land thanks to new ways to access the stock market via amazing apps like Robinhood.

We’re still a LONG way away from the public fascination of stocks like the 1990’s, but I’m starting to see green shoots in all kinds of unlikely places. Stocks are starting to come up in conversations again. Random strangers in bars are starting to chat about chip stocks again. The meetups I’ve been running in Denver and Boulder for the past four years are starting to be attended by more and more newbies from other walks of life who are thinking about new ways to earn some side cash.

I don’t think these observations are coincidental.

I think we may be on the verge of a MAJOR stock market breakout. But not just in prices and trading volumes, also in pop culture awareness. Also in dinner table and T-ball practice conversation.

And I couldn’t be more happy about that.

More on my enthusiastic embrace of my future in trading here:

~ @chicagosean