A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 09, 2008
“Don’t fight the tape” (Wall Street proverb)

Entry in progress—B.P.

The Free Dictionary
don’t fight the tape
A market axiom that asserts an investor shouldn’t buy stocks during a major decline or sell stocks during a strong market advance. The guidance is based on the belief that price movements for individual stocks and the overall market gain momentum so that it is more likely to be profitable to trade with the trend than against the trend.
[Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today’s Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company.]

Wikipedia: Ticker tape
Ticker tape was used by ticker tape machines, the Ticker tape timer, stock ticker machines, or just stock tickers.

History
The term “ticker tape” came from the sound made by the machine as it printed, and tape simply refers to the machines using a paper tape printout as a rolling display of stock prices. In 1867, Edward A. Calahan of the American Telegraph Company invented the first stock telegraph printing device. Early versions of stock tickers provided the first mechanical means of conveying stock prices ("quotes"), over a long distance over telegraph wiring. In its infancy, the ticker used the same symbols as Morse code as a medium for conveying messages. Previously, they were hand-delivered via written or verbal messages. Since the useful time-span of individual quotes is very brief, they generally had not been sent long distances; aggregated summaries, typically for one day, were sent instead. The increase in speed provided by the ticker allowed for faster and more exact sales. Since the ticker ran continuously, updates to a stock’s price whenever the price changed became effective much faster and trading became a more time sensitive matter. For the first time, trades were being done in what we think of as near real-time.

By the 1880s, there were about a 1,000 stock tickers installed in the offices of New York bankers and brokers. In 1890, members of the exchange agreed to create the New York Quotation Co. in order to buy up all other ticker companies. The move was done to provide accuracy of reporting of price and volume activity.

Stock ticker machines are an ancestor of the modern computer printer, being one of the first applications of transmitting text over a wire to a printing device. One of the earliest practical stock ticker machines, the Universal Stock Ticker developed by Thomas Edison in 1869, had an alphanumeric printing speed of approximately 1 character per second. A special typewriter designed for operation over telegraph wires was used at the opposite end of the telegraph wire connection to the ticker machine. Text typed on the typewriter got displayed on the ticker machine at the opposite end of the connection.

Technology
Stock tickers in various buildings were connected using technology based on the then-recently invented telegraph machines, with the advantage that the output was readable text, instead of the dots and dashes of Morse code. The machines printed a series of ticker symbols (usually shortened forms of a company’s name), followed by brief information about the price of that company’s stock; the thin strip of paper they were printed on was called ticker tape. As with all these terms, the word ticker comes from the distinct tapping (or ticking) noise the machines made while printing.

Newer and more efficient tickers became available in the 1930s and 1960s but the physical ticker tape phase was quickly coming to a close being followed by the electronic phase. These newer and better tickers still had an approximate 15 to 20 minute delay. Stock ticker machines became obsolete in the 1960s, replaced by computer networks; none have been manufactured for use for decades.

11 July 1954, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, pg. 22, col. 3:
Such a statement runs counter to the Wall Street adage, “Never argue with a ticker tape.”

9 May 1958 Marysville (OH) Journal-Tribune, “Wall Street Experts Have own Answers,” pg. 8, col. 2:
And the reason is that the Wall Street variety of economist adheres to an old adage which says, “Never Fight the Tape.”

In other words, go along with the market. Ride it up and down, say the old timers.

26 July 1958, New York (NY) Times, “Stocks Advance” by Burton Crane, pg. 18:
Their motto is, “You can’t fight the tape,” which in their accents means that the market will continue to go up because it has done so in the past.

16 February 1961, New York (NY) Times, “Market Climbs in Heavy Trading” by Burton Crane, pg. 43:
“Everybody knows that the market is getting dangerous but the slogan of the moment is ‘never fight the tape.’”

8 November 1969, New York (NY) Times, pg. 47:
The pyrotechnics in Telephone and in the glamour-laden computer issues came from heavy buying by mutual funds, other institutions and market traders following that old adage, “Don’t fight the tape.”

Google Books
Dictionary of Jargon
By Jonathon Green
Published by Routledge
1987
Pg. 178:
don’t fight the tape v phr [US] [Stock market]
this is an adage in the US stock market meaning don’t attempt to run against overall market trends.

New York (NY) Times
ECONOMIC SCENE; Behind the Surge Of the Dollar
By LEONARD SILK
Published: May 26, 1989
With the necessity of putting their money where their mouths are, money managers are falling back on their oldest maxim: ‘’Don’t fight the tape.’’ Indeed, even the Government does not choose to fight the tape in an effort to hold the dollar down. It does not have the resources to do so successfully, when the rising tide is running strongly against it.

Google Books
Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms:
Over 3000 Terms Defined and Explained:
Covers Stocks and Bonds, Banking, Corporate Finance, and More, in Accordance with Federal Income Tax Revisions

By John Downes and Jordan Elliot Goodman
Published by Barron’s
1991
Pg. 115
DON’T FIGHT THE TAPE
don’t trade against the market trend.

Google Books
The Complete Option Player
By Kenneth R. Trester
Published by Institute for Options Research, Incorporated
2002
Pg. 207:
Never buck a strong uptrending stock, or in Wall Street parlance, “Don’t Fight the Tape.”


Buy the Rumor, Sell the Fact: 85 Maxims of Wall Street and What They Really Mean - Page 29
by Michael Maiello - Business & Economics - 2004 - 256 pages
Google Books
Buy the Rumor, Sell the Fact:
85 Maxims of Wall Street and What They Really Mean

By Michael Maiello
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional
2004
Pg. 29 (The Trend is Your Friend):
The myths of Wall Street are replete with contradictions. You will hear “the trend is your friend” quite a bit, maybe because it rhymes. Folks also used to say “don’t fight the tape,” although the phrase as fallen into
disuse because, well, who has a stock tape running out onto the floor these days? But another saying, as much Wall Street wisdom as “the trend is your friend” is that “trend is not destiny.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Thursday, October 09, 2008 • Permalink