The stock market is full of incredible stories. In 1954, Armen Alchian guessed the secret fuel for the newly developed hydrogen bomb simply by looking at the share prices of chemical suppliers. In 1999, someone paid $2.65 million to get on the board of the New York Stock Exchange. In 2005, an inexperienced trader sold 640,000 J-Com shares for ¥1 each instead of selling 1 share for ¥640,000. The stories go on.
But this article is not about stories, it’s about people. A number of stock traders became known worldwide for their skills. From Richard Dennis to Ken Griffin, this article will share the tales of the top 5 traders of all time.
1. Jesse Livermore
Jesse Livermore holds the title of one of the most famous stock traders due to his unmatched gains by 1920s standards.
Without the convenience of modern-day charts, Livermore still managed to build a robust system for spotting price patterns. Almost a hundred years later, a book on his life, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre, is considered a must-read for all traders.
2. David Tepper
Before becoming arguably the greatest hedge fund manager of his generation, David Tepper had an exceptional career in finance. He has worked as a credit analyst and head trader in firms like Equibank, Republic Steel, and Goldman Sachs.
Tepper was also a specialist in distressed debt, which contributed to him becoming a debt investor. For years, he has bet and succeeded on bond purchases of troubled companies, such as Enron, Worldcom, Marconi Corp., and Williams Co. His investments during the 2008 market crash are still some of the greatest stock trades ever made.
3. Paul Tudor Jones
Paul Tudor Jones became one of the most famous market traders by making macro trades. He started as a cotton futures trader at the New York Cotton Exchange and branched out into stocks just before the 1987 Black Monday crash. What was severe and unexpected for some became a money-maker for Jones.
Jones believes the best money is made at market turns. While he may have missed out on opportunities in-between turns, he made up for it by short-selling (like during the Japanese stock market in 1990).
4. Ray Dalio
One of the best-known stock traders, Ray Dalio, made his first successful investment at the age of 12. He saved up $300 and bought some shares, which he sold for triple the price a year later.
Fast forward a few decades: Ray Dalio now manages the world’s biggest hedge fund firm, Bridgewater Associates ($154 billion in assets), and his book “Principles,” which outlines his experience as a trader, is a bestseller.
5. Ken Griffin
Ken Griffin is the founder of Citadel Securities, which is responsible for one of five stock trades in the U.S. He also managed to benefit from the Black Monday of 1987, the profits from which incidentally allowed him to build Citadel.
Unlike other prominent investors, Griffin doesn’t share a lot about his investment strategies and decisions. But an average annual return of 20% suggests that they work well. Of course, the list of top stock traders of all time could be much longer. Keep on learning about other great traders and how they achieved their level of success—each story can teach you a valuable lesson, no matter how different their journeys seem to yours.