When hordes of panicky investors dumped stocks last Oct. 19, Stan Weinstein basked in the wisdom of a personal adage, "You make your own luck." He had warned his newsletter readers a month earlier to cash out.
"I sounded like a real party pooper," recalled the market strategist and publisher of "The Professional Tape Reader," which proclaimed an alert in mid-August to switch from stocks into other investments.As it turned out, he was one of the few professional tipsters who predicted Wall Street's dazzling rally was about to collapse.
Since then, Weinstein said, he has received hundreds of letters from grateful subscribers who told him, "You saved my life."
His prescient warning earned him the title of "Timer of the Year," bestowed by the market publication "Timer Digest." It also landed him guest spots on such television shows as "Moneyline" and "Wall Street Week" and inspired sales of his recent book about investing, "Secrets for Profiting in Bull and Bear Markets."
The fame and publicity are mixed blessings to Weinstein, a transplanted New Yorker who works out of his Hollywood, Fla., house and does most of his analysis with a pencil and paper.
His newsletter business is booming at a time when many competitors are suffering a decline in subscriptions, a direct result of the October crash.
On the other hand, Weinstein said, he now spends extended periods on the lecture circuit away from his home, wife and three daughters, gets hoarse talking about his strategies, misses swatting a tennis ball and sometimes just wants to vegetate in his backyard pool.
"I don't want to be a guru," Weinstein said during an interview in New York. "I don't want the idiot investor who's looking for the perfect stock strategist. The stock market is sort of like gambling, it's another form of probability playing. I'm a real good probability player."
As for luck, the 46-year-old Weinstein said, "I don't go for that. I think you make your own luck."
Weinstein wouldn't disclose his worth or income from the newsletter business but dropped a few hints - through the jewelry on his fingers and a big gold watch on his right wrist.
"It's very, very lucrative," he said. "The newsletter costs $275 a year and I've got 12,000 subscribers. You figure it out."
Weinstein's professional and personal lives are so intertwined that wife Rita is his business manager, overseeing an eight-member staff that works in an office addition to their house.
He said he typically works a 15-hour day, often late at night, on the twice-monthly newsletter. He exercises by jogging on a treadmill machine while watching the Financial News Network on cable TV.
That's not to imply he thinks business headlines are useful, however. As a technical analyst, Weinstein dismisses interest-rate forecasts, government economic reports, corporate earnings and dividends as "yesterday's news."
Rather, his approach is based on a stock's charted behavior over time, which reflects what Weinstein calls its differing stages of supply and demand. Learning how to interpret those stages correctly is the key to success in the stock market, he said.
The broader market barometers, such as the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, react in much the same way as individual stocks do and can flash significant signals about future opportunity or risk.
Even when he vacations with his family, the newsletter must go on. Weinstein said he's dictated copy via telephone from holiday spots ranging from Israel to Hong Kong. He nearly had a disaster, though, when he went to the South Pacific island Bora-Bora on a deadline day.
"I found out after I arrived there was no phone," he said. "I spent half a day making arrangements for a mobile telephone hookup. "
Weinstein's approach isn't infallible; he readily admits he can be wrong. But he claims his percentage of error is often less than others in the same business.