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.