There Is Nothing You Can Learn From George Soros

Geroge Soros Market Wizard

Earlier this week the Irish Times ran a piece celebrating the 84th birthday of one of the most successful — and arguably, most well-known — investors of the last century, George Soros.  (Hat-tip to my friend Josh Brown).

Soros’ prowess in the markets is legendary, so much so that deconstructing his process in order to learn the secret to his success has become a cottage industry in financial circles.  In the world of  “Market Wizards,” Soros is Saruman.  Tolkien baby…look it up.

However, in the Times’ article, his son Robert demystified the source of the Elder Soros’ alchemy in such a simple and definitive way that it may drive market historians to acts of self-immolation.

Apparently It all comes down to a pain.  In the back to be specific.

According to his son, Robert, Soros’s trading was always influenced by more than reflexivity. “My father will sit down and give you theories to explain why he does this or that”, he once said, “but I remember seeing it as a kid and thinking, ‘Jesus Christ, at least half of this is bullshit’.

“I mean, you know [that] the reason he changes his position on the market or whatever is because his back starts killing him. It has nothing to do with reason. He literally goes into a spasm and it’s this early warning sign.”

Soros has admitted to relying greatly on “animal instincts”, saying the onset of acute pain was often “a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio”.

His decisions, then, “are really made using a combination of theory and instinct”.

That’s right.  Though you and I did our damnedest to read between the lines and glean some sort of insight from The Alchemy of Finance in the 80′s and again with Soros on Soros in the 90′s, it was all for naught.  Now we know the true source of this modern-day Tim The Enchanter’s genius.  Monty Python baby…..look it up.

This revelation might tempt some of you to adopt the same market style as Mr. Soros, a view I wholeheartedly endorse, as long as the profile fits.  It’s easy to see if a spasm based methodology is right for you by answering a few simple questions.

  1. Are you a passionate student of the market?
  2. Are you open to considering a wide range of investment themes?
  3. Have you ever booked a $1 billion dollar single-day profit by breaking a sovereign bank?
  4. Did you marry a 41-year junior third wife on your $22 million dollar Westchester estate while Paul Tudor Jones and Julian Robertson looked on?
  5. Have you booked over $40 billion in cumulative profits?
  6. Do you have a full head of hair well into your eighth decade on this planet?

If you answered “Yes” to 5 out of 6 of those questions, then by all means, adopt the “discomfort” approach to your investments.  Let your back pain, your trick knee, or even your throbbing headache from the 13 Jack and Cokes you threw back at the bar last night be the guide to your entries and exits.

For the rest of us who move in more mortal circles we will try to use objective, data driven, risk averse methods to move our thousands, and if lucky, millions, in and out of the market.  We’ll try not to let our fear nor our greed drive our decision-making process, and ascribe that pain in our back simply to less than optimal ergonomic choices in our office furniture.


Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

What if everything your parents taught you were salty snack filled lies?

Bugles-50years-1You ever get the sense that your parents lied to you?  Not trivial lies about the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.  Serious lies.  Ones that have the potential to effect your health and well-being, as well as that of your children.

I get that sense every third Monday when I enter St. Columbine’s gymnasium cum bingo parlor.  My presence there is part of the price I pay for sending my kids to private school — mandatory volunteering for parents.

It’s not so bad.  The people who run it are the salt of the Earth and the elderly players who show up each week are charming in their own way.  But they are fucking liars.

Once they get behind the gymnasium doors they repudiate everything they taught their children while growing up.  I watch in horror each week as bag upon bag of dirty, salty, and often flaming hot lies spill forth from their backpacks and macrame’ shoulder sacks.

I was told growing up that junk food was bad for me.  That if I ate too much of it, my teeth would fall out. That I would get morbidly fat.  And at some point, my arterial veins would be so blocked up with plaque that my heart would explode out of my chest, knocking anyone in its path into unconsciousness.

Yet these folks, these bingo loving Baby Boomers, from the same generation as my parents, from start to finish, shove some of the most heinous crap down their gullets without even blinking an eye.  I’m talking the hard stuff.

They don’t just do Funyuns, they do Chile Limon flavored Funyuns.

Doritos?  Get the fuck outta here!  Nachos Pisco Habanero Rolled Doritos bitch!

If it ain’t Ranch Dipped, Flamin’ Hot, or Jacked, they don’t want to know about it.

In fact, even the most wholesome of snacks, Cracker Jacks, has been mutated into some perverted and “extreme” derivation.

Cracker Jacks — no, sorry, “Jack’D” with a capital “D” — now come in Cheddar BBQ, Zesty Queso, Spicy Pizzaria, and Buffalo Ranch flavors.

OH…..THE…..HUMANITY!!!  Let’s just admit it!  Al Qaeda has already won!

How many other mothers and fathers of Gen X’ers like me are meeting at bingo halls, craft fairs, and “wine tasting events” and secretly pounding down this crap?

All this stuff is bad, but the demon seed of this Snackocalypse is the one they call “Bugles.”

According to the General Mills snack blog — yes, you heard that right, the General Mills snack blog — Bugles were the first cone-shaped corn snack.  It’s origins pre-date the cell phone, personal computers, and even man’s landing on the moon.  From the blog;

Fifty years ago, Bugles was actually among a trio of new General Mills snacks that represented our entry into the snack food market. And we’ve never looked back, as our snack portfolio has since grown wider and more diverse.

Back then, Bugles’ snack siblings were Whistles – a cheddar-flavored corn product in the shape of a whistle and “taste like grilled cheese on toast, only crunchy”; and Daisy’s – a flower-shaped snack that had the flavor of “puffed popovers.”

While Whistles and Daisy’s went by the wayside within just a few years, Bugles outlasted them and many other snacks that General Mills introduced.

But as with all cutting edge innovations, technology drove the evolution of Bugles onward and upward over the ensuing years.

No longer must you be content with putting pedestrian style salted corn flavored cones on your fingertips. Now you can put Chile con Queso, Salt & Vinegar, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Sweet & Salty Caramel, and even Crazed Southwest Ranch style Bugles on your digits.  Yes, you heard me right.  Not regular Ranch, but CRAZED SOUTHWEST RANCH!  That’s crazy!

God only knows what style of Whistles and Daisies we would be enjoying right now had they survived?

It’s hard when you find out that everything you have been taught, every ounce of belief you held sacred is just a pack of lies, perpetrated upon you by those you trusted most.

Sure, my mom puts up a good front these days, stocking her pantry with low sodium Triscuits, organic gluten-free pretzels, and Popchips, but I’m no longer an extreme snack newbie.  If she suddenly starts hitting a pottery class or begins hanging out at the “senior center,” I’ll be watching.


Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

Mad Max: Fury Road Trailer Drops At Comic-Con

The trailer for the fourth film in the Mad Max saga premiered yesterday at Comic-Con.  Original director George Miller is on board and I have to say, it looks like one remake/sequel that will hold up to its predecessors.  Check it out.


Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

When Billionaires Cry


The Lund Loop is a once-weekly curated slice of what I am writing, reading, and hearing about in finance, tech, music, pop culture, humor, and the good life.  But no sports or knitting….ever!  You can subscribe for free by clicking here.


Welcome back folks.  I know it’s been a tough week for all of us given the horrible news out of the Jay-Z-Beyonce camp but I appreciate you putting on a brave face and checking back in with the Lund Loop.

By the way, if you are getting this by mistake or no longer wish to receive the Lund Loop, be a sweetheart and refrain from reporting this email as “spam.”  Just click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page and I promise I will never darken your doorstep again. Thanks. Now let’s do this….




Short and sweet….

“Nobody solves poverty by going broke.”

-Adam Braun, founder of “Pencils of Promise” which has built over 200 schools in 3rd world countries.


“People go where they grow.”

-Seth Godin on what attracts people to certain content or products.



 -Marc Maron when asked by Norm Macdonald what other professional options he had before starting his podcast.


“He was a natural movie star, not a natural actor. He had to learn that.”

-Scott Eyman, author of “John Wayne : The Life and Legend.”


“Get up, do it, prove you can do it, then do something else.”

-Magician Lance Burton on how to keep people engaged.


And finally….

  • When I die, turn me into one of these and then huck it at Justin Bieber/Kanye West/A random Kardashian/Anyone on “The View.”

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and if you liked The Lund Loop why not forward this email to a friend and tell them they can subscribe here.

See ya next week!



Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

CNBC Is Dead – Here’s Why Retail Investors Won’t Miss It

To those of you who have been loyal readers of this blog over the last few years it might be apparent that I have “slacked off” a bit in 2014.  And by slacked off I mean, barely blogged at all.

At the first of the year I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to begin writing for AOL’s Daily Finance and’s Stock Guide, and I am just now starting to figure out an editorial schedule that will let me handle those obligations as well as post regularly here.

In the meantime, check out my piece on the death of CNBC for the retail investor.  Here’s a slice….

CNBC was never really a useful tool for the retail investor, but now it occupies an awkward space where it’s neither fast enough to compete with social media, nor deep enough (nor accountable enough) to compete with long-form digital content, and not accessible enough to compete with online personalities.

Advances in technology have finally revealed the dirty little secret about CNBC — and financial news television in general: Their shows are window dressing for clients in the offices of institutional investors, and obsolete badges of honor for financial pundits.

And if you get a chance, take a look at an “Intro to Technical Analysis” series I just finished.

Thanks for your patience while I get my shit in order.  I hope to be back in the groove of things here on StockTwits very soon.

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

The Financial Professional As A Brand

For the last five years I have spent the bulk of my time helping financial professionals monetize their “brand.”  I’ve literally spoken to hundreds, maybe thousands, of traders, investors, RIA’s, money managers, and newsletter publishers trying to get them to think about what they do, and how they do it, in a completely different way.

At times it’s been an uphill struggle because those in finance are often constrained in their thinking by outdated and obsolete ideas.  Nor do most understand that in today’s content rich world their product is no longer just performance driven, but access driven as well.

There was a time when if “A” made a 20% annual return and “B” made only a 15% return it was a no-brainer whom the client would pick.  However in a post Madoff, post financial crisis world, clients are not just satisfied with raw numbers; they want context for those numbers.  Methodology context and personality context, and this is where most financial professionals fail.

Clients no longer just want to know where their money has been allocated, but why it has been allocated there — not the “because my research department said so” why — and who the person is that allocated it there.

Well-Known World Brand Logotypes

A “brand” in financial terms has traditionally been associated with the firm a financial professional worked for.  Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year by those firms to paint a broad picture of honestly, integrity, and competence, but as technology and information flow became more democratized, individuals began to set up their own shops and could no longer rely on macro branding.   And even for those who stayed with their firms, the public has started to view them as separate entities from their firm.

These breakaway advisers have evolved in their thinking about their industry, but not about their brand, because they have never had to think in those terms before. Today, as always, a financial brand has to be about trust, but a modern version of trust which can only be achieved by access, familiarity, and relatability.

Clients want to know not just what your performance is but what your methodology is.  What you like to do with your free time. How your tastes run in books, music, and movies.  Are you single or a family man? They want to know who you are — the person and the professional.  

Time and time again I have seen clients put their money with an individual who provides them better access and visibility, though not necessarily better performance, because they are a known quantity.  A great, but opaque, track record is of no comfort to the public today because without visibility there is no way to tell when a star performer does a “Madoff.”

Financial professionals who understand, and more importantly, accept this concept will have a greater advantage over their peers in the years ahead.

The key is to use technology to provide access that is inherently personal but administered in a general way which helps keep them on the right side of the regulatory fence.

Imagine how a client feels when they are in a position initiated on a Tuesday morning and Tuesday evening have access to a live webinar where the methodology that led to that position was explained? Client attrition rates drop tremendously when they understand the context of their positions and allocations, because that context creates an ongoing narrative — personal yet general — that engages them and creates a stickier customer.

I have even found customers to be more forgiving with their financial professional, at least in the short-term, when they underperform as long as they understand the reasons for the underperformance.

Social media in all it’s forms then rounds out and provides the color for who the financial professional is as a person; completing their brand.

These day you no longer have to work in a high-rise in downtown Manhattan in order to a part of the world of finance, but the public is changing the way it views financial professionals and a trusted brand is something they are beginning to expect for those whom they choose to put their money with.

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

Your 10 Trade Ideas For The Week

All good trades start with an idea.  Here are 10 of them for this week.

Watch for a flag to set up right here at gap resistance in $ANF.

Wozniak related company $FIO is a dog so far. A break of box & the 200ma may get things started.

Might be a big move starting in $FLIR based on this long-term chart.

High and tight on $FLS.

Don’t tell Todd Hoffman, but there is resistance coming up on the weekly $GLD chart.

A break of this little rising channel would be bearish for $GS.

A break of this channel on good volume would get me interested in $JOY.

A strong break above the arrow on $TLT and we have bottomed.

No idea what they do, but I like this rounding pattern just below all-time highs in $TU.

$WFC near all-time highs, while $C, $GS, $MS, $JPM, $BAC etc. are all way below 2007 highs.

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

You Take The Money Where You Find It

You would not believe the amount of shit I took after posting this to the StockTwits stream a couple weeks back….


I recieved anonymous tweets, angry emails, and sky-written messages above my house lambasting me for suggesting a possible trade in Sears Holdings ($SHLD).

Real traders – - the cool ones at least – - would not touch Sears with a ten-foot science pole I was informed.  I mean after all, it’s not Netflix ($NFLX), or Apple ($AAPL), or Amazon ($AMZN), or Twitter ($TWTR), Facebook ($FB) or Google ($GOOG).  Those are serious “trading” stocks.

Didn’t I know that Sears was a dog?

Didn’t I know retail was dead, and that Sears was the deadest of the retail dead – - literally with zombie stores  - – where the only activity is the occasional visit by a hoodie wearing Brian Sozzi, pursuing his fetish-like documentation of sloppy end caps and under-stocked shelves?

Didn’t I know that Sears was going to go the way of Circuit City, Borders, and Woolworths?

Not much however was said when I posted this to the streams less than two weeks later…

Up 22% since this. RT @bclund: $SHLD has put in a double bottom. If you’ve ever wanted to bottom fish it, now is a good risk/reward spot.

— Brian Lund (@bclund) Feb. 13 at 08:34 AM

Look, the point of this post is not to show how great I am – - though there is a pretty powerful argument that could be made for how great I am – - but to illustrate the point that you find opportunities where they present themselves, not where you think they should present themselves.

And if you are trading, which by definition means you are only using technicals to buy and sell, then whatever the narrative is for the company underlying the stock is irrelevant.

I haven’t bought anything in a Sears in years and regularly joke that if I need a bumper pool table in hurry, it’s the first place I will go.  But none of that matters when sizing up a trading opportunity.  Price, volume, and support and resistance levels have no relation to what Brian Sozzi, or anybody else for that matter, thinks about Sears.

Remind yourself that the point of trading is not to “be cool,” but to make money.  Money can be made in all types of stocks, in all sorts of sectors, no matter if they are hot or not.  And if by chance you happen to look cool while doing it, well then consider it a bonus and move on to the next trade.

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

My Advice For Larry Page And Sergey Brin

If there is one thing I know, it’s that multi-billionaires love to get unsolicited advice from semi-anonymous bloggers.  With that in mind I thought I would take an opportunity to dole out some friendly advice to Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

First though, I have to confess that I don’t have a good track record when it comes to Google.

Back in early 2001, I got a call from my best friend who had just attend a tech conference in Silicon Valley.  He told me about a gentleman he sat next to who was an investor in what he described as a new search engine company.

Hearing this I laughed out loud. “What sort of idiot invests in a search engine company?” I asked incredulously.

The internet bubble had barely finished popping and many of the companies that survived looked as if they were in their death throes.  Tech companies specifically had seen their stock prices plummet and former darlings like Alta Vista were going out of business or being absorbed into larger entities.

I wondered how much money that poor sap would lose investing in this silly new company.

That “silly” new company of course was Google.  And the sap?  Well, that was a guy named John Doerr.

Suffice to say, I have gone from a Google skeptic, to a Google user, to a Google believer.  Though some may see them as a benevolent dictator, they make my life easier and more productive, and I enthusiastically use most of their products.

More importantly, I believe that Google believes that there is no industry they can’t dominate with a proprietary algorithm, an elegant user interface, and a boatload of the most talented programmer’s money can buy.  Their interest in companies like Uber, Nest, Waze, and a number of others in “non-core” industries proves that.

Thus I submit that the next industry in their crosshairs should be the residential real estate industry, crushing in the process the National Association of Realtors.  Why?  Because they are crushable.

Though everyone will tell you they know a really good real estate agent, as a group, there may not be another profession where compensation of individuals so outpaces their value; the financial services industry excepted.

The average commission for a real estate agent is between two and a half to three percent per transaction, and with two agents per sale – - one representing the seller, and one the buyer – - up to six percent of the transaction value is lost in their fees.  What’s worse is that their compensation scales with price – - they get twice the commission on a $500K sale than they do on a $250K sale, yet they perform the exact same amount of work.

There have been a number of companies that have tried to disintermediate realtors over the last few years, but none has had any real success.  The biggest obstacle has been the NAR, which has a powerful lobby in Washington and is hyper-vigilant in pushing legislation to keep their industry protected.  However, Google has the muscle in DC to take them on.

There are other obstacles related to the consumer, like the fact that buying a home is the biggest financial decision most people will make, and the fact that real estate expertise involves deep local knowledge.

But the biggest issue is that the home buying (and selling) process is intimately personal and emotional.  Consumers have very specifics wants and needs when it comes to purchasing a home, which sometimes they themselves don’t even understand, let alone have to capacity to convey to their agent.

If a client only wants to look at houses with large backyards, and their agent isn’t inquisitive enough – - and most aren’t – - they will never know if it is because they host an annual summer party, like to garden, or sunbathe nude.

But if a series of questions could discover that the buyers want a large back yard so their dogs could run, then maybe that opens up the possibility of purchasing a home with a smaller backyard, but that is close to a dog walk or public park.

There are hundreds of different types of criteria like this that people use to search for a home, and an infinite number of undiscovered motivations attached to those criteria.

Companies like and E-Harmony have shown that even the most personal and emotional consumer decision – - finding a marriage partner – - can be successfully navigated with a set of intuitive decision tree questions.  This is also known as an algorithm.

I believe Google can use their expertise at algorithms to find the best properties for the consumer, and their expertise at everything else to move them seamlessly and efficiently through the home buying process.  This efficiency would commoditize the business and the role of the realtor, destroying the current commission structure in the process.

I imagine that a move by Google into real estate would follow the Uber model; rolling out in select metro areas where it would be most likely to scale well.  I also imagine that they would not focus on the very low-end of the market (not enough profit), nor the very high-end of the market (too much hand holding).

Once Google Realty was established, the transaction process would be the perfect platform to bundle additional products such as mortgages, insurance, and home improvement.  Think of the consumer, who just saved tens of thousands of dollars by purchasing their home through Google; what do you think the chances are that they would spend some of that money on an integrated Google Home technology package based on Nest’s products?

The possibilities seem endless.

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

Even The Professionals Can Be Wrong

I’ve never been much of a hero worshiper.  The fanboy gene just doesn’t seem to be a part of my DNA.

I’ve eaten dinner an arm’s length away from Lindsay Lohan and the Hilton sisters.  I once gave Justin Timberlake directions to the men’s room.  I’ve even cracked wise in Ellen DeGeneres’ living room (she laughed but Anne Hecht stood there stone faced).  Despite the star power present, none of these encounters seemed extraordinary to me.

There are however some public figures whom I find “interesting.”  People who I wouldn’t mind picking their brain for a couple of hours over a few pints of fine craft beer.

Anthony Bourdain comes to mind.  Neil Peart of Rush definitely.  And in the world of finance, Carl Icahn and David Einhorn would be at the top of my list.

On the surface these two couldn’t seem more different.  Icahn is a street wise kid from Queens who is known for saying exactly what’s on his mind.  Einhorn on the other hand grew up in Wisconsin and exudes a quiet, confident, and reserved nature in interviews.

Yet both attended Ivy League schools – - Icahn at Princeton  and Einhorn at Cornell – - both run hedge funds, and both are wicked smart.  To me, Einhorn, out of all the current crop of “star” fund managers, seems most likely to have a long and profitable career like Icahn.

But even a pro like Einhorn can be wrong.

Einhorn has been shorting $GMCR ever since unveiling an hour-long presentation two years ago that criticized the company and what he believes is their fraudulent accounting.

Even as recently as last November he reiterated his position on CNBC’s Fast Money.

Paraphrasing Einhorn he said…

There are many ways to win short on this stock.

I have questions about their numbers and how they have been disclosed.

The company has lost the patent on K-cups. 

The have earned monopoly type margins in the past, but as more competitors come in, price will fall, along with margins.

The day of that interview $GMCR closed at $70.57 per share.  Yesterday, after $KO announced that they were taking a 10% stake in the company, the stock soared 45% in after-hours trading to $117.33 per share.

Though it’s not clear if Einhorn still has his short position or if he had hedged it, I think it is safe to say that he was wrong.  And really the only type of wrong that matters, price action wrong.

David Einhorn will no doubt survive this setback and live to short another day, but this is a good reminder to those of us that don’t run multi-billion dollar hedge funds, that, in the words of my friend Brian Shannon, price is the only thing that pays.  No matter what we think the script is or how it might play out, we always have to respect and obey price action, as it is never wrong.

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.