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 13, 2008
“When in doubt, get out” or “When in doubt, stay out” (Wall Street adage)

"When in doubt, get out” or “When in doubt, stay out” (also “If in doubt, get out” or “If in doubt, stay out") is an old stock market saying that dates at least to the 1920s. If you’re not sure of what to do, it’s best to stay out of the stock market (at least according to this phrase).


TradingMarkets.com
A twist on the Wall Street adage “if in doubt, stay out”
By William F. Eng | TradingMarkets.com
A twist on the Wall Street adage “if in doubt, stay out”:
“If you don’t know what’s going on, don’t do anything.”
-- William F. Eng, from Trading Rules: Strategies for Success, (1990, Dearborn Financial Publishing, U.S.).

24 July 1921, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, pg. 10 ad:
IF IN DOUBT STAY OUT.
If you are in doubt about the soundness of this investment, I am sure you will never find one that will meet your ideas.

19 January 1938, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Stock Market Draws Back Within Shell” by George T. Hughes, part II, pg. 8:
Wall Street in Doubt.
“When in doubt, stay out,” is a good old-fashioned precept of the street. 

25 January 1939, Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE), pg. 13, col. 1:
When the stock market appears to be meeting a critical test, however, it is the practice of many experienced operators to stand aside while awaiting the outcome. They are guided by the old rule, “when in doubt, stay out.”

Google Books
45 Years in Wall Street: a review of the 1937 panic and 1942 panic,
1946 Bull Market with new time rules and percentage rules with charts for determining the trend on stocks

By W. D. Gann
Published by Health Research Books
1949
Pg. 16 (Twenty-Four Never-Failing Rules):
6. When in doubt, get out, and don’t get in when in doubt.

Google Books
Trading for a Living:
Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management

By Dr. Alexander Elder
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
1993
Pg. 128:
“When in doubt, stay out” is a good old trading rule.

Google Books
Investment Psychology Explained:
Classic Strategies to Beat the Markets

By Martin J. Pring
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
1993
Pg. 208:
When in Doubt, Stay Out
When trading the markets, it is important to have a certain level of confidence in what you are doing.

Google Books
The Hedge Fund Edge:
Maximum Profit/Minimum Risk Global Trend Trading Strategies

By Mark Boucher
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
1998
Pg. 156 (General Rules):
When in Doubt, Stay Out or Get Out; Do Not Get Back in until You Are Sure about a Position.

Google Books
The Compleat Day Trader II
By Jacob Bernstein
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional
1998
Pg. 206:
When in Doubt, Stay Out
The old expression “when in doubt, stay out” is especially appropriate for the day trader. Not all indicators or signals will be completely clear all the time.

TheStreet.com Real Money
The Truth About Trading Cliches
By Dave Baker
RealMoney.com Contributor
8/28/2003 4:29 PM EDT
The famous market cliches that I often use are more than just a reason to use my knowledge of French. It’s to remind you of the many rules that have kept traders in the game.

I recently heard someone reuse the classic phrase, “When in doubt, get out.” A fellow trader laughed and said those old cliches were ridiculous. I thought to myself, “No, it’s true, they’re all true.” Most of these sayings are based on the experiences of numerous traders.

Google Books
Inside the Investor’s Brain:
The Power of Mind Over Money

By Richard L. Peterson
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
2007
Pg. 227:
“When in doubt, get out,” as the old Wall Street saying goes. If you let your guard down just a little, Mr. Market will always make you the sucker. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, October 13, 2008 • Permalink