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Learning to Invest / My Dumbest Investment


Subject:  The Fishbach that got away Date:  12/17/2012  9:30 PM
Author:  grahamsway Number:  3606 of 4585

I've got quite a few real clunkers that always cheer up my friends intensly when I tell them. I'll try to occasionally post some of them here to spread the cheer.

When I first started investing in the mid 80's, I used to go down to the city library near work and look over the Value Line at lunch.

I stumbled upon a small company called Fishbach. It looked like it didn't make any money, was cash flow negative, had a small CPA firm auditor and greatly overvalued.

Easy pickings I thought. When I got back to a phone I called the company for an annual report and investor package, the lady on the other end, secretary I guess, said, "We don't send out that stuff."

I figured I had a winner and shorted a decent position.

Well, not being that experienced, I didn't notice the small float due to some large insider holdings. I also didn't notice or know at the time of the insider being Victor Posner.

Posner, an early corporate raider, was notable for having debatable ethics when it came to the world of finance.

It didn't take long until I was caught in my first (though not last) short squeeze. I think I lost something like 50% in three days before bailing.

As slight compensation, the proported merger talks that pushed the squeeze were later found to be questionable and Fishbach did not really end that well but the news didn't really make me feel much better at all.
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