Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is there a place for empathy in the stock market?

So, I am checking on the after hours news regarding my stocks and options. Copper is up due to an earthquake in Chile. My initial reaction? Great! Those PCU options that expire on Saturday may be worth something after all! Since I own the stock and some December calls as well, this is a big score from me, in a month where my portfolio has taken a beating, great news!

And then I read further.

"A powerful earthquake hit mineral-rich northern Chile on Wednesday, killing at least two people, injuring more than 100 and halting output at some of the world's largest copper mines."


Authorities said an 88-year-old woman was killed when a wall fell on top of her in Tocopilla. A 54-year-old woman also died in the small city, although the cause of death was not immediately clear.

Buildings crumble, people are trapped in the rubble, people injured, people dead, there homes and belongings in a shambles. From their misery, their pain, their bad fortune, I will make money.

I love everything about my new job as a day trader, everything but this.

Always perform your own due diligence before making any investment.


Anonymous said...

I know it's obvious, but it may help to hear someone say it:
The earthquake woudl have still happened no matter what your investment portfolio held.

You didn't profit from their misfortune; your profit and their misfortune are independent events triggered by the same uncontroable natural phenomenom. It's not the same as (for example) investing in a tobacco compnay or a drug company that knowingly sells a product that harms people.

But you know that already - I just wanted to try to ease your emotional quandry.

Anonymous said...

That comment was from me (52).

(As if you couldn't tell!)

CaPrincess said...

Hi 52.

Copper futures actually defied the news and went down this morning, so I bought the PCU puts and made a few bucks on it's way down, then bought some calls when it bottomed for next month.

I decided to keep track of the money that I make in October on PCU, and if it turns out that the damage was bad enough, to warrant a relief fund, I will donate 10% of my profits on PCU to it. That decision helped a little bit.

As you know, I realize that they are independent events, but it really gave me some pause. I don't often think about it, but every dollar I make in the stock market comes at someone else's misfortune. Of course every dollar I lose is someone else's gain, so I guess it all evens out in the end.

Anonymous said...

Not every dollar gained is a loss for someone else. At the simplest level - people sell stocks for all kinds of reasons. A stock that continues to go up may be a lost opportunity for someone who sold too soon; but it may be someone who took their profit and went on a dream vacation, or paid for college for their kids, or bought their dream home, or maybe they worked hard all their life and decided to cash out and "party like a mo-fo" (I got that from an SNL episode.)

Every buyer is an opportunity for the seller to do what they want - sell. Like when you sold the house that time,

Alright - I feel like I'm telling you things you certainly already know.

Wishing you continued good fortune and happiness! (Recognizing that they too are completely independent.)


CaPrincess said...

Yes, I know there are a myriad of reasons that someone chooses to sell a stock. I was being overly simplistic and should know better with you. *wink*

Have a great Thanksgiving friend.

Anonymous said...

And a very Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!