If you look at a enough charts it’s not hard to draw historical comparisons to fit your frame of mind. After reading an article comparing this market to 1928-29 I was reminded of Roger Babson, founder of my alma mater Babson College who correctly called the crash of ’29. His “ten commandments” ring true even today.
Babson authored more than forty books on economic and social problems, the most widely read being Business Barometers (eight editions) and Business Barometers for Profits, Security, Income (ten editions). Babson also wrote hundreds of magazine articles and newspaper columns. He was a popular lecturer on business and financial trends.
Babson was an investor and sometimes director of many corporations, including some traded on the New York Stock Exchange. He established an investment advisory company Babson’s Reports which published one of the oldest investment newsletters in America.
Babson had “ten commandments” he followed in investing and encouraged his readers to do the same. These were:
- Keep speculation and investments separate.
- Don’t be fooled by a name.
- Be wary of new promotions.
- Give due consideration to market ability.
- Don’t buy without proper facts.
- Safeguard purchases through diversification.
- Don’t try to diversify by buying different securities of the same company.
- Small companies should be carefully scrutinized.
- Buy adequate security, not super abundance.
- Choose your dealer and buy outright (i.e., don’t buy on margin.)
On September 5, 1929, he gave a speech saying, “Sooner or later a crash is coming, and it may be terrific.” Later that day the stock market declined by about 3%. This became known as the “Babson Break”. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression soon followed.
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