Dear Stock Market Investor: Are you feeling depressed, and possibly worthless? Are you suffering from mood swings that make the daily gyrations in the Dow Jones industrial average look like a smooth ride on a flat country road? Have you watched in slow-motion horror as your Keogh, your I.R.A. and your children’s college-tuition funds have shriveled and shrunk, and finally been reduced to something resembling slightly less than the gross domestic output of the Turks and Caicos Islands?
Or put another way: Have you felt left out, as others made hundreds of millions in stock options, bonuses and retention payments-cashing out on top-while you held onto those measly, pathetic 100 underperforming shares of Lucent, Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing, hoping against hope that somehow, some way, some day, the stocks wouldn’t go any lower?
Well … you can’t win ’em all. But put away that Prozac. Because there’s a new financial-management company in town, and we want your business.
INTRODUCING INFECTIOUS GREED ASSOCIATES
At Infectious Greed Associates (formerly known as Irrational Exuberance Capital Management), we know what it’s like to lose money.
In fact, we’ve lost trillions of dollars over the past 18 months.
And now, we’d like to lose some of yours.
That’s right-we said “lose.” We won’t kid you: From top to bottom-from Harvey Pitt to the trading pits-the market is 100 percent corrupt.
A NEW KIND OF TRANSPARENCY
At Infectious Greed, we’ll be the first to admit that the old adage “Historically, the market is your best investment” is a complete lie. It’s statistical gibberish, based on the market as a whole, while you own individual stocks.
We also know that the daily explanation for stock-market activity is a hilarious fiction: The phrase “stocks moved higher today on falling interest rates” has roughly the same relation to reality as claiming “stocks were down today because of heightened sunspot activity.”
And we know how crazy it was to put any faith-or trust-in the likes of Merrill Lynch. From Henry Blodget’s e-mails, to using the comedian Steve Martin as the voice in their advertising, the joke was always on you.
The AOL Time Warner merger? Merrill thought it was brilliant. Jean-Marie Messier’s Vivendi strategy? Inspired. And the best yet: Quoted in The New York Times on May 23-yes, just two months ago-a Merrill media analyst said of Gemstar’s accounting, “I don’t know that it’s fraudulent,” but that it was “misleading.” Nevertheless, she rated the stock as a “near-term strong buy.”
Since then, Gemstar has fallen by 50 percent.
Sure, that’s bad. But trust us: We can do worse.
YOUR LOSS IS ALWAYS OUR GAIN
At Infectious Greed, we realize that we’ve entered a new financial era-one that cries out for honesty and full disclosure. Thus, we’re pleased to offer the following investment opportunities:
Blind Trust Capital (formerly known as “The Cheney Fund”): You give us your money. We take it to a secret location. You never see it again. Sound simple? You bet. Trust us: You may go broke. But Dick-and his friends-always make out, “Big Time.”
The Fritter Group : Every day, we buy some stocks and sell some stocks. Not too many. And not too wisely. But like water dripping from a leaky faucet, we slowly dissipate your wealth at a prescribed rate. And you feel good about it, because you haven’t lost as much-or as quickly-as your in-laws or golf partners.
The Aggressive Wealth Diminisher : A high-risk fund in which we attempt to lose as much money as we can, and as quickly as possible, in stocks that no one in their right mind would buy. Run by Shtarker Associates of Forest Hills, Queens, this fund gives you huge, big-dick bragging rights: You’re rich. You’re tough. And-bartender, another Maker’s Mark, neat-you can afford the losses, damn it.
Vanishing Capital Associates : We buy. We hold. We never sell. Formerly known as “The Samuel Beckett Fund,” this is for the introspective investor who enjoys pondering the long, inexorable slide into nothingness.
The Emerging Felon Fund : Why bother with research or due diligence when you can pick up stock tips at New York City social events? Sure, Eliot Spitzer may accuse our analysts of collusion and our traders of being vapid, insider-trading social butterflies. But we prefer to think of them all as “sunny optimists” who want nothing more than to help their friends. Really now, c’mon: What’s the crime in that?
The Churn Group : We buy and sell and buy and sell lots of stocks daily. We have no idea what we’re actually buying, or why we’re selling, but we generate huge amounts of paperwork, along with providing jobs for an entire generation of clueless 28-year-old financial advisers who would otherwise be living at home with their parents-or worse, making independent films.
Bull’s-Eye Financial Services : No research. No analysts. No computers. We lose your money the old-fashioned way: Ouija boards, darts at the financial pages and listening to tips from Murray, a cousin’s college roommate who knows a guy who knows a guy who’s Warren Buffet’s podiatrist. The Magic Eight-Ball says, ” Yes !”
The Private Jet Index : Show us any corporate leader who travels exclusively on a private jet, and we’ll show you someone who’s lost touch with reality. It never fails. By removing their last point of friction-or interaction-with the real world, the corporate leader will never again see, hear, talk or encounter anyone who does not look like, talk like, agree with or in some way service their being on this planet. Investing in these people is a win-win: You lose billions. And we love flying out of Teterborough.
A FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT
At Infectious Greed, we’re optimistic that things-lots of stuff-will continue to happen in the future. We expect interest rates to remain interesting. And we’ll be watching the Fed-or, more precisely, the Feds-ready to respond to subpoenas, indictments or invitations to appear in front of a Congressional committee.
We see better times ahead, with the economy turning around late in the next quarter. Or maybe not. Whatever.
In the meantime, please, please send us some cash. And remember: At Infectious Greed, nothing is our fault. You may lose money at an unprecedented rate, but rest assured that we’ll continue to collect our fees.
Have a nice day.
Tony Montclair, Chief Financial Officer.