TL;DR: The founder of lifestyle brand Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy, has taken to day trading, and his exploits are doing more to expose central banking monetary policy and its casino-like effects on otherwise rational markets than entire libraries filled with tomes on economics.
Barstool Sports Founder’s Glorious Trolling Performance Art
“I did say that!” Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy (El Presidente) shouted at his phone after a replay snippet from Ron Insana (Senior Analyst and Commentator at CNBC — see video embed, below). “I did say you buy it, and now I am going to prove it because I am a man of my word. That’s exactly what I say, you clown. Right here,” Portnoy hold’s the audio up to his microphone as Insana recounts Portnoy’s dismissive remarks about stock buying. El Presidente is so confident stocks will go up in price, he claimed any random letter generator could produce a ticker worthy of purchasing, bringing Insana to a Wall Street trading boil of indignation.
Legends abound at such claims. The shoeshine boy offering Joe Kennedy stock picks in 1929 convinced the father of the future 35th President of the United States to sell and sell quickly. When anybody can do it, it’s probably time for the sensible investor to make an exit. The shoeshine boy, and later blindfolded monkeys throwing darts, are simply gambling, guessing compared to seasoned investor types like Insana, gurus and priests who offer specialized knowledge. That’s the theory, anyway, and it serves a certain trading predisposition well as a myth to live by.
Since the Great Depression, speculative markets driven principally by the US have demonstrated something like a natural law: they rise and rise, crash, rise and rise again, and come back down, landing ever-upward over time. It’s a seductive pattern, and economists have been at pains to explain just why. One theory or school of economics claims the advent of central banking in the early 20th century deepened economic downtowns by ironically insulating economies from malinvestment, from their mistakes and bad judgement.
Proof of Scrabble
In other words, the Federal Reserve floods markets with loose credit, propping up businesses otherwise uneconomically justifiable or worthy. They should have failed in the normal course of events, and been allowed to either shatter completely or be reformulated by voluntary market forces. Instead, Fed policies of fearing such evolutionary pressures force it to paper-over unhealthy companies.
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) June 19, 2020
Holding up a Scrabble box, Portnoy continued, “We’re gonna pick out some Scrabble letters and buy some fucking stocks! I guarantee this can beat you Insana. You already proved you suck!” El Presidente shook the Scrabble tiles in a red bag. “Let’s see what we got,” eventually arriving at RTX, Raytheon Technologies Corporati, traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). “Aright, done […] don’t know nothin’ about it,” Portnoy spats.
Within minutes, Portnoy claimed to have put down $200,000 on RTX with a few keyboard clicks. “$RTX comes out of the scrabble bag. Smush letters and buy it. Give it a try Ron, you might not bankrupt your clients,” he posted. The day prior, RTX was trading at about $66. At the closing after Portnoy’s buy? $67, seemingly confirming El Presidente’s thesis stocks only go up.
DDTG Einstein “Pagatherium Therom” Model
And while at publication RTX is trading at $65, his other picks since mid last month (tickers SAVE +126.63%; NCLH +69.33%; DAL +52.57%; CCL +45.31%) yielded a +73.39% even with the day’s reported total loss of -5.19%, according to hilarious Wall Street trading parody account Stonks Capital.
As Insana and most of the financial press are prone, they appear to be missing Portnoy’s deeper point. Media takes are all about the Barstool founder’s outrageous gimmicks and stunts, lumping him in with Bro culture, covering his troll as if he were just too curiously bullish, attributing his latest efforts as due to coronavirus-induced boredom. Portnoy feeds the mainstream press inanity, calling himself a day trader and generally goofing off when interviewed. It’s glorious. They have no idea what to make of him. His meme-able hashtag, #DDTG, Davey Day Trader Global (he adds an extra Global when abbreviated), comes with another confusing warning for stiff financial types, “I’m not a financial advisor. Don’t trust anything I say about stocks.”
Savvier coverage of his anti-Wall Street tirades profile Portnoy as a top-flight branding marketer and businessman. He cut a $163 million deal with Penn National Gaming recently. Spectator sports have been decimated during the pandemic, and yet Portnoy found a way to keep gambling adrenaline pumping not just for himself but while also bringing along his 1.5 million Twitter followers. So smart.
For sure there is a danger many who rush to get rich won’t see the obvious tongue-in-cheek references and perhaps fall into day trading madness. He is, however, sparking conversation and literacy. More folks stuck home have been venturing into online trading, investigating it. With someone like Portnoy who is approachable and fun to watch, they can see much of what constitutes expert financial analysis is little more than folly. Discussions have turned toward why stocks are going up at a time when 40 million in the US are unemployed. Shouldn’t everything be rekt? Inevitably that leads to thinking about the roles of central banking and the interesting relationship between the Federal Reserve and US Treasury. As Bitcoiners know only too well, it won’t be too long now until some of these DDTGers go down a very deep rabbit hole.
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