The Master of Candlesticks
My first job on Wall Street was as a “runner,” delivering messages and margin calls. I then picked up valuable experience working on the floor of the Commodities Exchange (Comex) in the World Trade Center. After moving to Southern California, I worked as a stock and commodities broker. In early-1987, the manager at my La Jolla brokerage firm gave me an important piece of advice: “Study all the methods of analysis, pick the one you like best, and use it.” Coincidentally, my father had recently sent me the first English translation of a book on Japanese charting techniques, The Japanese Chart of Charts, by Seiki Shimizu.
I devoured the book and threw myself into the study of Japanese stock analysis methods, which continues to this day and will for life. Two things became clear. First, the Japanese methods, developed for the mid-eighteenth century rice market, were simply a superior way to depict price movement. Second, none of the professionals around me had ever heard of them.
Practice Makes Perfect
I remember going back through stacks of months-old copies of The Wall Street Journal, clipping out the daily commodities price page, and carefully drawing each day’s line on vellum graph paper in accordance with the Japanese method. Over time I developed a lapidary skill, drawing the price by hand, and am convinced the exercise gave me an inherent feel for price movement.
The first subscribers to receive my reports were all professionals. When the Reno, Nevada, branch manager of a major Wall Street brokerage firm (with an entire research department of their own) wrote me a personal check for my service, it encouraged me that I was on to something good. When venerable Richard Russell, publisher of Dow Theory Letters since 1958, subscribed and later faxed me an unsolicited testimonial, I knew I was on to something good.
A Family Affair
In 1995 I joined my father, Paul Sarnoff, as associate editor of the Options Hotline, a newsletter he created back in 1989. He had always wanted one of his children to carry on his work, and working closely with him was a great joy for us both. When I was young I would bristle at talk of taking over for him one day, and he would say something I’ve since repeated to my own children: “Parents are the bones upon which children sharpen their teeth.”
Upon his sudden passing in October of 1999 at the age of 81, I stepped up to take the helm of the Options Hotline, which was being published by Baltimore-based Agora Financial. With a steady hand on the tiller, I guided our growing list of subscribers through turbulent times. Along the way, we compiled a remarkable record of success.
In 2014, I was given the opportunity to take over publishing the Options Hotline. Through the years I had always been happy to let others take the risk of publishing, while I concentrated on the editorial side and raising a family. But, as an empty nester, I realized the risk is in not seizing the opportunity to lead the service we’ve built over 25 years. My father would be very pleased with the result. And I hope you are, as well.
Steve Sarnoff has a BS in Finance from the University of Idaho and is editor, publisher, and CEO of Sarnoff’s Samurai Strategies, Inc. based in San Diego, California. He is married, with two children.
Always make sure potential rewards and risks are clearly stated. Always be professional, prompt, positive, responsive, considerate, and courteous with clients.
The Dean of Commodities Analysts
A Wealth of Knowledge
Born on the day they shot down the Red Baron in 1918, my father was fond of saying he came from “Suffern” (New York). Married to his wife Lucille for 60 years, he was a proud pop to three sons and three daughter-in-laws, and a proud Zaydeh to six grandchildren.
He had to leave college as a result of the Depression, but went on to earn a BS in Chemistry and MBA in Finance from the College of the City of New York. Called “Dean of commodities analysts” by The New York Times, he was an internationally known expert in precious metals, stocks, options, and futures. He held just about every position imaginable during an exciting and unique 62-year career on Wall Street. He foresaw much of what is happening now in the world and markets.
A natural speed-reader and prolific polymath, my father authored more than 60 books (on a wide variety of subjects) and edited several investment letters. He was editor of Science and Technology magazine, Lecturer-in-Finance at Hofstra University, Curator of Economic History at the University of Wyoming, and more. He enjoyed traveling the world as a featured speaker at investment conferences, and appeared often in newspapers and on television.
His love of life and learning lives on. It makes me smile when subscribers write to me, even to this day, with their fond memories of him.