William O’Neil: Trading Legend

An excerpt from an interview inThe Market Wizards by Jack Schwager:

Q. Where did you first develop your trading ideas?
A. I went through the same process that most people do. I subscribed to a few investment letters and most of them didn’t do too well. I found that theories like buying low-priced stocks or stocks with low price/earnings (P/E) ratios were not very sound. Back in 1959, I did a study of the people that were doing very well in the market. I got copies of their prospectus and quarterly reports and plotted on charts precisely where they had purchased each of their stocks. There were over 100 of these securities and when I laid them out on a table, I made my first real discovery: Not some, not most, but every single stock had been bought when it went to a new high price. So the first thing I learned about how to get superior performance is not to buy stocks that are near their lows, but to buy stocks that are coming out of broad bases and beginning to make new highs relative to the preceding price base.

Born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas, William O’Neil began his career as a stockbroker with Hayden, Stone & Company where he started to formulate his comprehensive investment strategies. His fascination with the securities market led him to develop his own computerized study of what makes a stock successful. This study was adapted and published as The Model of the Greatest Stock Market Winners.

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