Some very basic human activities are #Hunting, #Fishing, #Trapping, and #Herding (it might stretch the metaphor to include #Farming). In all these activities #Humans are the #Predator and the rest of #Nature is the #Prey. The trouble with this is we don't very often get to think about some humans as the predators and other humans as the prey. I can guarantee Captains of Industry instinctively know that you are their prey and use it to their advantage; they also get away with it and get rewarded by society with respect and admiration. Think about this quote for a moment:
Eddie Izzard wrote:
Pol Pot killed 1.7 million people. We can't even deal with that! You know, we think if somebody kills someone, that's murder, you go to prison. You kill 10 people, you go to Texas, they hit you with a brick, that's what they do. 20 people, you go to a hospital, they look through a small window at you forever. And over that, we can't deal with it, you know?
Someone's killed 100,000 people. We're almost going, "Well done!
You killed 100,000 people? You must get up very early in the morning. I can't even get down the gym! Your diary must look odd: “Get up in the morning, death, death, death, death, death, death, death – lunch- death, death, death -afternoon tea - death, death, death - quick shower…"
So back to the main point. If you don't know what the warning signs are that you are the prey in the securities business, you will be somebody's dinner entrée. If you have no experience as a predator, you should watch a bunch of nature shows or search the Internet for hunting tips. In lieu of that and to get you started, here are a few scenarios.
When fishing, a common formula is a lure, a hook, and a line. The lure pretends to be easy food for the fish. In finance, the lure can be two businessmen in a public place acting as if they are having a private conversation about a stock that is about to go big. Instead, they are having a purposefully public conversation about a stock they need to get suckers to buy, and you are the audience. They don't know for sure, but they think when you take that bait and get on the hook by buying the stock, you will unwittingly volunteer yourself as bigger bait to hook more and/or bigger fish. They expect you to tell friends and loved ones about the "hot inside info" you got by being lucky.
When hunting there are callers for a variety of specific animals; mating calls. Their's nothing better for attracting mammals than shouting "Who wants to get laid?" in public places, am I right? Well, it works in general. So how does the finance community use mating calls? They do it by proxy. They know people thing having more money is a proxy for getting laid more often. Their mating call is to make you think you are in for a lot of money if you do something that they are broadcasting breathlessly to the public in an urgent voice. The last wave I recall with a massive push was for "Pot Stocks". It was because some of the States in the USA decided to decriminalize or even legalize marijuana possession and consumption. It's almost a given that everybody instinctively knows that the demand for cannabis is huge so it's woefully assumed that stocks which do work in that newly freed industry will all be very valuable. That kind of assumption is what makes a duck swim towards a gun. Most of the ticker symbols being hyped during the mating call cycle are dead & buried already. Some of them were thin-air type shell companies, others were ill-advised entrepreneurs who were "high on their own supply," or "believing their own fever dreams." One way or the other, they took a lot of money from people thinking they were going to get rich quick and probably get laid next. They spent that money and nobody is getting it back. That doesn't mean there aren't reasonable companies worth investing in within the cannabis industry. I'm in one myself. It just means that if you think you're investing "of your own free will" after a massive broadcasting campaign urging people to do it, it was NOT your own free will.
When herding, the Shepard typically employs trained dogs that get special treatment for convincing the herd to follow a predefined path which is best for the rancher, not for the herd. The dogs see the rancher/cowboy give signals on what to do, and they go out and deliver the message by barking at the herd along the edges where the ranchers chattel starts to try moving off the course. In finance, the barking dogs are all over the place. One of the most iconic characters I love to hate is Jim Cramer of the show Mad Money. He is perhaps the least refined of all the dogs. I cherish the time Jon Stewart showed the world that Jim Cramer is one of those shepherding dogs. (see full interviews part 1 and part 2 on Comedy Central) In the part 2 segment it's revealed that he was causing the owners of his own hedge fund (his herd) to act in a way to depress its value because he took a bet that it would go down. It's akin to shearing sheep. It's really hard to find people telling the public how to invest who aren't just shepherding dogs for some wealthy rancher trying to turn you into chattel on their ranch. You don't need to learn everything about finance to be safe, but you do have to really understand where you will wind up if you take somebody's advice.
I think I made my point here. I hope this helps you to stay safe in your investing endeavors, and always remember ... stay frosty.