Tuesday, April 14, 2009

stock pros who survived the depression

IRVING KAHN SITS AT HIS CLUTTERED DESK, PEERING AT his computer screen through thick, dark glasses. The Dow inched up 38 points today, a small move in light of its 332-point drop earlier in the week. But Kahn has made a career of betting on beaten-down stocks, and he’s hard at work poring over annual reports and studying balance sheets looking for companies that have lots of cash, not much debt and good long-term growth prospects. General Electric has a solid business and looks pretty good at these prices, he muses. General Motors? Not so much.

Like a lot of us, Kahn has seen good times and bad, bull markets and bear markets, recessions and recoveries. But he’s also seen something most of us haven’t: the Great Depression. Kahn, who still shows up at work every day and puts in a good six hours, worked as a stock analyst and brokerage clerk on Wall Street in the 1930s. He’s 103 years old.

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