Throughout Wall Street history, there have been a handful of traders who have reached legendary status. They inspired a generation of traders with outstanding results as well their willingness to teach others how to follow in their footsteps.
Names like Jesse Livermore, Richard Dennis, Bernard Baruch, and Ed Seykota come quickly to mind.
Another name that has reached Hall of Fame status in trading is Nicolas Darvas.
Nicolas Darvas was just an “average Joe” making his living as a traveling ballroom dancer in the 1950s when he turned his attention to stock trading. Over a period of just 18 months in the late 1950s, Darvas turned his personal trading account of $30,000 into a fortune of $2.25 million.
Darvas would be the focus of a Time Magazine article and would eventually write several bestselling books, most notably “How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market” – a book that remains a Wall Street classic, found on the bookshelf of numerous professional traders.
Nicolas Darvas’ success undoubtedly inspired a generation of traders.
But perhaps much more significant than Darvas’ personal success in the market was the success of those who learned from his teachings and mastered his strategy.
There are many “Darvas Millionaires” who credit Nicolas Darvas and his stock trading system with their success and this article will give you a snapshot of just a few of the more famous Darvas-influenced people who have traded their way to millions and recommended Darvas’ teachings to others who wish to do the same.
William O’Neil is probably the most famous name on this list of Darvas Millionaires.
From 1962-1963, O’Neil took a $5,000 account and turned it into $200,000. He used his winnings to buy a seat on the NYSE and never looked back. He would later become the founder of the highly-respected financial newspaper, Investors Business Daily, and the powerful investment website, Investors.com.
O’Neil lists Nicolas Darvas as one of his trading strategy’s primary influences and recommends that all traders learn from his teachings.
Beginning in 1999, over a period of less than two years, Dan Zanger turned his $10,000 account into $42 million. His amazing story garnered national attention, but what wasn’t surprising was the method he used to produce such phenomenal returns.
Zanger quickly become somewhat of a celebrity in trading circles and his advice was highly sought after. He recommended Darvas’ strategy and told traders that the Darvas System is, “widely used and followed today by the best traders in the world, and still this breakout method is little understood by most…”
His statement could not have been more accurate.
Zanger is still a big advocate of Darvas’ teachings and he tells traders that applying the Darvas method will “yield fortunes beyond the reader’s wildest dreams.”
Zanger was listed by Trader Monthly magazine as one of the top 100 traders in the world with an annual income of $25 million!
David Ryan got started with a $20,000 account in 1982. He more than doubled this account in less than one year.
This quick success gave Ryan the confidence to enter the prestigious U.S. Investing Championship in 1985. He won the event with a return of 161%. To prove that his performance was not a one-hit wonder, he entered the competition again in 1986 and, despite finishing in second place, achieved a gain of 160%.
Ryan ended up winning the event twice and from 1985-1987, he produced a compounded return of 1,379%!
Not surprisingly, Ryan credits Darvas as being a major influence on his trading method.
In 1985, a nearly bankrupt Gary Smith took a meager $2,200 and turned it into an account that now produces annual profits of more than $190,000.
How did he get started? He credits Nicolas Darvas for having the most impact on his career as a full time trader.
In 1999, Gil Morales wowed investment circles with a one-year return of 971%! But how did he do in the bear market that followed? In the period ending from 1998 through 2005, Morales achieved a total return of 10,904.25%!
Today, Morales is a sought-after fund manager and publicly recommends that investors learn from Nicolas Darvas’ teachings.
Ced Moses made a big name for himself when he entered and won the 1991 U.S. Investing Championship with a record-setting return of 379%! He would go on to start his own hedge fund where triple-digit returns became the norm and he was named to Nelson’s list of The World’s Best Money Managers.
Who does he credit as a major influence on his trading strategy? You guessed it, Nicolas Darvas.
When Timothy Sykes was 18, he took his Bar Mitzvah gift of $12,415 and started trading with it. In just three years, at the age of 21, Sykes had traded that small account into a $1.65 million fortune. He would go on to start his own hedge fund, which quickly became one of the top-rated funds in the Barclays Fund Rankings.
Sykes lists Nicolas Darvas as a key influence on his trading approach and states succinctly that Darvas’ system is “timeless” and that despite the fact that Darvas created his system in the late 1950s, “his technique still works to this day.”
What They ALL Have in Common
These prolific traders all became well-known for achieving seemingly impossible returns in a very short period of time. They all started with relatively small accounts and turned them into fortunes. And they all have one thing in common: their tremendous respect for the teachings of Nicolas Darvas.
Perhaps this is something more than a coincidence. Perhaps Nicolas Darvas truly deserves recognition as a Hall of Fame trader.