HOW TO LOSE MONEY IN THE STOCK MARKET: A Complete Guide to Not Going Broke on Wall Street by Herbert Ringold

HOW TO LOSE MONEY IN THE STOCK MARKET: A Complete Guide to Not Going Broke on Wall Street

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KIRKUS REVIEW

While scarcely above reproach, Wall Street mores deserve a fairer shake than this bill of impeachment. Using mainly secondary sources of widely variant credibility and venerability, Ringold launches an all-out assault on virtually every sector of the financial-services field. The objects of his disaffection range from advisory publications through commodity and securities brokers, insiders, and institutions. In brief, he charges that individual investors invariably get a fast shuffle from a stacked deck. On occasion, Ringold does raise some valid points, e.g., the dubious economic utility of options on futures contracts. Mostly, though, he whales away at such familiar targets as registered reps who churn accounts, the lackluster recommendation records of designated analysts, the uneven year-to-year performance of many mutual funds, and the capital punishment that can result from trading in penny stocks. Unaccountably, Ringold overlooks obvious opportunities for market killings. The Dennis Levine scandal is of recent vintage, granted, but there's no evident reason why he couldn't have included the case of Paul Thayer, the former chairman of LTV Corp. and Deputy Secretary of Defense who was nailed for insider trading last year. More disturbing than omissions of this sort are the text's many factual errors. To cite but one: R. Foster Winans, late of The Wall Street Journal, has yet to be imprisoned. Inspiring even less confidence are his misapprehensions. He seems to believe, for instance, that elected state officials routinely abuse their trust, using ""the tremendous commissions generated"" by public pension funds to secure campaign contributions. Perhaps so, but it's an indictable offense. Ringold counsels electing ""the people who run our state and municipal pension funds."" His proposal may seem belated to New York's Edward V. Regan as well as other state (and city) controllers (or treasurers) who must hit the hustings every few years. The bottom line: a gratuitously shrill and consistently ill-informed exercise which neither concedes the possibility that investing--a manifestly risky business at best--has redeeming socioeconomic value nor advances any plausible alternatives for putting money to work.

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's