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Stock-Surfing the Tsunami

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He’s screaming at the S&P 500 Futures Index to tack on points as each one flips more green numbers on his profit-and-loss gauge. The S&P is back down but preparing its next climb, to 901, 902 …

“C’mon, threes,” says Milman, with six minutes till the closing bell. “C’mon, fours, bitch. C’mon, fours, higher!”

“Treasury Secretary Paulson says major institutions have been stabilized,” intones the news announcer.

“C’mon, panic buyer! Let’s see five. Don’t be shy. Fives, baby. C’mon!”

Thirty-six thousand dollars.

“This is a volatile motherfucker. Holy Skiff!”

He’s tapping furiously.

Taptaptaptaptaptap.

He’s nearly sold off.

“Got 2,000 left.”

Taptaptaptaptap.

3:57 p.m.: $42,000.

Taptap.

“Oh my God. Finished.”

He pushes away from the desk with a great exhalation, eyes glazed over, the whole room reeking of body odor. The chatter starts to rise as traders stretch and eyeball each other’s screens to gauge their relative success or failure. A man in Milman’s group stares at his screen as if through a broken windshield. At two minutes till the bell, he glances over at Milman’s screen: He’s up $50,000.


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