At first Bruggemann had used that cash to buy some big, well-known stocks: Apple, Verizon, and a few others. 300,000, principally trading penny stocks, a practice rife with risk, fraud, and wild swings of fortune. He took off school that day, but for most of the time when Bruggemann was trading, he was also a 16-year-old high school junior in Wyckoff, New Jersey. What Bruggemann did with penny stocks isn’t new, but technology has changed what’s possible. Twenty years ago even the best home internet wouldn’t have supported this kind of real-time trading. A decade ago you might have done it from a home office. Today, with the supercomputers we carry in our pockets, a kid can put his life savings on the line while sitting in Spanish class.
In kindergarten his parents dressed him up as a concession boy for Halloween, complete with a tray carrying popcorn and candy. He came home with money, but no candy,” remembers his mother, Lynn. Later he tried his luck with a lemonade stand in front of the house. We’re on a cul-de-sac, so almost no cars come down here. He got a job as a busboy at a local restaurant at 14 and worked weekends.
He put his money into a savings account, but was unhappy with the paltry interest he earned. His grandfather encouraged him to try the stock market and his father, a former Wall Street trader, eventually agreed to act as the custodian for an Etrade account. He was a fantasy football fanatic with a head for numbers and an attention to detail. He had dabbled in sports betting and online poker, getting into trouble with his parents when they discovered it. ACYD was Bruggemann’s first big trade.
It’s a manufacturer of industrial grade wireless equipment for municipal Wi-Fi systems. He had listened to a conference call where the CEO announced it would buy back shares of the company to try and spur the price towards 1 cent a share. Four days later, Bruggemann accumulated a position of several million shares at the price of roughly one-third of a penny each. By October, the price of ACYD shares had risen to around 6 cents, 20 times what Bruggemann paid for them. He sold off most of that position by the end of the December, by which time the stock was down to 4 cents. 0036 a share, almost exactly where it was when Bruggemann got started. It’s a reminder to him that trading such volatile stocks is a dangerous game. I guess the rule of thumb is, when you invest in a penny stock, expect to lose every dollar you put in. So there is always that risk,” he told me.
There have been several times where I put every dollar I’ve had on the line, and fortunately it’s worked out almost every time. The Verge reviewed Bruggemann’s trading records and bank statements for this piece. 300,000 came from his ACYD trade. The other half came from hundreds of trades that netted him much smaller amounts. Despite his strong returns, experts insist, do not mean he’s got some secret formula for success.
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It just makes sense in the way everything is explained. 000 worth of improvements — are borrowing billions now that finance rates are low and may be going up. And even brokers — high fee account with American Funds. Taking small amounts of money and investing it longterm to amass tremendous wealth.
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Smartphones have exacerbated the monkeys and typewriters problem,” says Paul Kedrosky, a veteran investor. It’s worth noting that he’s only been trading for about 17 months. And it helped, of course, those months took place during the last year and half, while the stock market was climbing to new highs. Like gambling at a casino, the odds when playing penny stocks are stacked against you.
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The high levels of fraud and volatility mean it’s very difficult to anticipate what’s coming. Connor’s staggering success, say seasoned traders, is not a magic method others could replicate. In fact, many I talked to doubted it was real at all. There are NO prodigies, just bull markets,” says Howard Lindzon, an investor and founder of Stocktwits.