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Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

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1

The Fluctuation

THE STOCK MARKET—the daytime adventure serial of the well-to-do—would not be the stock market if it did not have its ups and downs. Any board-room sitter with a taste for Wall Street lore has heard of the retort that J. P. Morgan the Elder is supposed to have made to a naïve acquaintance who had ventured to ask the great man what the market was going to do. “It will fluctuate,” replied Morgan dryly. And it has many other distinctive characteristics. Apart from the economic advantages and disadvantages of stock exchanges—the advantage that they provide a free flow of capital to finance industrial expansion, for instance, and the disadvantage that they provide an all too convenient way for the unlucky, the imprudent, and the gullible ...

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