Last week, the most captivating interview on CNBC — the one that made traders all over Wall Street un-mute their TVs and perk up — consisted of stock-picking advice from an unlikely source: Rachel Fox, the 16-year-old actress best known for playing the psychopathic stepdaughter Kayla Scavo on Desperate Housewives.
Fox, who is pushing her new blog (Fox on Stocks), is a day-trading hobbyist. This by itself isn't all that unusual; what makes it so remarkable is that she's really good. From her MacBook Air, using e-trading software and self-taught technical analysis, Fox traded 338 stocks last year for a total return of 30.4 percent. That's more than hedge-fund titans like Ray Dalio and John Paulson made, and it would put her in the tippy-top tier of all funds run by much more experienced traders.
We caught up with Fox after her CNBC hit to talk technical analysis, her investment idol Warren Buffett, and what's she's hoping to buy with her profits.
Was it fun being on TV as a market guru?
Honestly, it was great. My site crashed from all the hits.
How did you even get involved in stock-trading?
My parents explained the stock market to me because it’s such a big, important part of life. They didn’t expect me to take such a liking to the whole day-trading idea, though.
So, like, what's your strategy? Do you have a Bloomberg terminal?
Well, I don’t like trading stocks that are very news-dependent. I trade on the technical analyis of stocks.
Do you trade penny stocks?
OH GOD, OF COURSE NOT. No, I go to Yahoo Finance every morning, that's my thing. And then I go to my trading platform [Scottrade] and do the technical stuff in there.
And this is fun?
Definitely. There are certain things making it easier for common people who work and have a day job to do this as well. I'm not just a typical guy who has a suit and goes to Wall Street. My point in writing this blog is not trying to compete with the finance professionals. It’s more just to inspire people to trade.
These are your personal savings, right? What are you going to do with the money you've made?
I’m getting my driver’s license in a week. I’d love to be able to buy my dream car: a white Porsche Carrera.
What's your trading routine? Morning? Afternoon? All day?
I get up at 6:30 a.m. and then I like to place at least one trade before the end of the day. If I'm on set, I'll be trading between takes.
Who do you go to for investing advice?
Well, um, really ... nobody? I mean, I'd have to think about that.
Any people you really look up to? Who's your investing idol?
I heard a story about Warren Buffett, that he has none of his college degrees hanging on his wall. He only has his certificate for public speaking, which is so awesome and inspiring. If you can learn public speaking, you don't have to have a ton of education to do well.
You had a good year last year. What was your worst-ever trade?
My first trade. It was a $2 stock, and the guy I was talking to said, 'This will go to $10 in three months," so I bought into it. And it kept inching down and inching down, and seven months later, it was at a quarter of a penny.
You couldn't let go, huh?
It’s hard to master the psychology. You’ve got to know when to step out of things.
I bet you got a lot of calls after your CNBC appearance.
I'm going to keep those confidential, but there may or may not have been some requests.
So when do you start managing other people's money?
[Laughs.] Maybe I’ll start a hedge fund. I'd have to let people know the extreme risk they’d be taking, though.
And then you'd quit acting?
Oh, hell no. I’m an actor for life. That’s who I am. I really love it. I think I can do both. Trading is absolutely not a full-time thing.