Sam Collins, our chief technical analyst, has been one of the pillars of InvestorPlace for many years. His trades and market examinations have made their way into the lives of hundreds of thousands of people — for many, as much of the daily routine as breakfast.
After many years of service, however, Sam is taking a well-deserved exit into retirement to enjoy time with friends and family.
We’ve set up this page as a token of our appreciation for Sam and his many years of service, but we’re far from the only ones who will miss Sam’s daily tidings. Below, we’ve set up a comment section where readers can express well wishes and thanks as Sam heads off into retirement.
Once again, Sam, thank you kindly for your decades of hard work and commitment to our readers.
A Note from Sam
Since I am now going into full retirement, I want to send thanks to all who have stuck with the Daily Trader’s Alert and my Trade of the Day — some for the past 17 years! Yes, it was 17 years ago that Tobin Smith met with me and offered me the opportunity to become his technical analyst. I had seen Toby on CNBC and suggested, via the new media of email, that his “ChangeWave” method required a technical analyst. I suggested several stocks for his review. Within five minutes he called asking, “Sam, what are you doing that’s different?” I briefly explained my new but untested (didn’t tell him that) CBR system, and within a month he set up a daily subscription with me as his “Chief Technical Analyst.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
During service as a regular U.S. Army Armor (Tank) officer, following the Berlin Wall Crisis of ’61, the Army formed a new branch (The Army Intelligence Service “AIS”) and sought “regular” officers to staff it. In February ’65, I returned to the States, following a one-year assignment as an Admin Officer in a Counter-Intel unit in central Germany, and received the standard promotion to Captain. I was assigned to the Army’s Intel school, and following that was scheduled for language training in California — a skill for which I have zero ability. Before starting the class I made the decision to resign my commission, much to the chagrin of the top NCO, a Sergeant Major, who said that what I planned (i.e., my resignation) “couldn’t be done.” The deal was completed in three hours during a visit to the Pentagon that afternoon.
For six miserable months I ran a “zero-defects” program for a major food company in New Jersey, promoting cleanliness in the plant and responding to customer complaints. One complainer insisted that when she opened a can of soup, a fly flew out — surely that fly should win Ripley’s prize for “Insect Holding Breath Longest in Boiling Water.” Batman was popular back then, and when my boss insisted that I promote the program by running through the factory in a Batman costume, I concluded that the Army was more attractive!
In August, President Johnson made his now infamous call for a buildup of 50,000 troops to go to Vietnam. I applied to have my commission reinstated in late August, but heard nothing. Following a letter and a phone call to the head of the Intel branch, I learned that the Pentagon was short of staff but that I was “guaranteed to soon be back in uniform.” We (my wife and I) invited my close boyhood friend, Howard Elliot and his wife, for Thanksgiving dinner. Howard had accepted a trainee position with Merrill Lynch to help staff their new office on the Main Line of Philly and he encouraged me to apply for one of two positions available –“sure better than getting your red head shot off.” Over two dozen candidates had been interviewed, but following the interview and spending two days in the ML Philly office, I knew that my future career was set. The class of trainees started in January and graduated in April. The week after arriving at our new office, I received conditional orders (upon my acceptance) from the Army to report to Fort Jay, New York, for further assignment. God is good! My thanks to Howard, Norm Tonkin (both deceased), and my wife, Aileen, for their support and encouragement.
For over 50 years, I’ve enjoyed serving as a compliance director, broker, branch manager, regional manager, and Chief Technical Analyst writer (since November 2000). When I began this journey, I had no idea that I would outlast everyone in that original ML training class (let me know if I’m wrong about that).
The DJIA was at 933 in April ’66, my first month as a broker, having risen to just 5 points below 1,000 in February. During my service to clients, I’ve experienced bear markets from 1966 to 1982 (what a time to start, with the Dow falling 45% to the bottom of a 20-year range), 2,000 to 2003, and 2007 to 2009. But there were good times, as well, with bull markets from 1982 to 2000 (which at that time resulted in the Dow’s most spectacular rise in history growing more than 1,500% and including the one-week crash of ’87 resulting in the largest daily percentage loss in the Dow’s history), the cyclical bull market of 2003 to 2007, and the current spectacular secular bull market that began in January 2009.
So why stay with this very cyclical profession? The answer is simple: service to clients, trainees and brokers. I owe many people for my success, especially two trainees who have become successful financial advisers — Joe Monaco (Monaco Capital Management., Raymond James Inc.) and Dick Maurer (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management), both are friends and colleagues. And my last boss in the brokerage business, Furman Wall, retired from BB&T Capital Management. Also, as noted, Tobin Smith, without whose confidence and foresight I would never have entered the financial letter-writing business, and my many friends over the years at InvestorPlace Media, including Kyle Woodley, Eric Harding, Reagan Brown, Andrew Taylor, Greg Tucker and Dave Durham. Also, my editors: Aileen, my wife, for her skill and daily encouragement, Jessica Loder, Emily Norris, and Dawn Pennington. My deep apology if I’ve missed you.
And, of course, to you, my faithful readers who have persevered with me through bull and bear: You have been the mainstay of my writing. I apologize for any bloopers and hope that you have benefited from the successful recommendations.
God bless you all.
A Note from Serge Berger
Over the past six years, I have read Sam Collins’ daily take on the markets with great pleasure and admiration. I am enthralled by his steadfast analysis that is unfazed by the daily noise in global financial markets. He has a way of analyzing the markets that is flexible as to the outcome, yet rigid on the process. I personally know and follow dozens of analysts, and I can honestly say that few if any of them have the knowhow and track record of Sam Collins.
As a full-time trader, analyst and InvestorPlace contributor myself, Sam has become a source of inspiration for my own process in analyzing the markets. Sam understands that markets don’t act in a linear fashion and that “single-factor” models rarely bring about satisfying results. Furthermore, understanding markets in multiple time frames is crucial to trading and investing success, and Sam has done an exceptionally admirable job of applying this type of analysis.
I have had the pleasure of filling in for Sam from time to time over the years as he took well-deserved time off. As Sam has announced his retirement, I am being given the amazing opportunity to fill his large shoes. I am honored beyond measure to grab the proverbial baton, and I’m looking forward to giving you a good look at what’s front and center at my company’s trading desk via my daily takes.
Sam, as you ride off into the sunset, I wish you all the best. And thank you once again for the tremendous guidance in the stock market, and for being such an inspiration.