If you have a pulse and own a stock, The Washington Post points out, you probably have seen Peter Tuchman’s face. But a household name he ain’t.
The 60-year-old trader is perhaps the most iconic face of The New York Stock Exchange - and the US stock-markets - as the trader's Einstein-y look can be relied upon as a real-time indicator of sentiment - be it anguish, anticipation, desperation, or triumph.
Tuchman is without doubt the most photographed person at The NYSE.
"The floor of NYSE is the greatest office on Earth. It has energy, people. These are hallowed floors. It’s 120 years old, and every president, every head of state, celebrities have walked this floor. What goes on on this floor will affect world finance on a daily basis. And I’m in the middle of it. I love that. And once my face became what it’s become, I love that part of it, too."
What does Tuchman do?
"I am the eyes and ears and the conduit for trading and point of sale of buying and selling stocks for customers.
It’s very simple. If Grandma in Kentucky wants to buy 100 shares of XYZ company, she calls a broker at Charlie Schwab, Merrill Lynch or JPMorgan and says, “I want to buy 100 shares of XYZ.” The broker generates the order. It gets sent to a machine on the floor of the NYSE. That machine will route the order to me as a broker into my handheld, which I then route to the market maker and the order enters into the public market. I don’t have to talk to a person.
Electronic markets are all fine and good, to a point. What makes what I do so powerful and meaningful and still so important is the human factor on the floor of the stock exchange.
We have brokers, human beings, market makers, the human safety net set in place to protect against unruly volatility, artificial intelligence. People see us here and they know a human being is watching over their money and their market. That’s what makes a difference. That’s why I’m still here."
However, a seemingly innocent question a little later in the WaPo interview raised a few eyelids (among the cognoscenti)...
Q: Do you own stock?
A: I have never owned a share of stock in my life. I do not eat my own cooking. Funny thing about money. If I started to worry about my own profit and loss, I would be less concentrated on my customers’ well-being.
And I also have two children in college, so I don’t have any money to buy stocks.
The Washington Post reporter seems truly stunned and asks in disbelief...
Q: You must have some investments.
A: I invest in my family and my kids. My kids will graduate college without any debt. That is my investment.
Welcome to real-world America and where the real-world wealth effect does not trickle-down.
Ironically, Tuchman is not alone in "not eating his own cooking."
It seems more than a few of America's great-est-and-good-est analysts are losing their religion in another cult stock.
As Bloomberg's Gadfly notes, among the stock analysts who track Apple, about two-thirds now say the company's shares are worth buying, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That seems like a large share, but it's relatively pessimistic in the grade inflation-prone world of Wall Street stock recommendations. It is the lowest percentage of buy ratings for Apple in nearly three years, Bloomberg data show.
If analysts are losing faith in America's most iconic company's shares and the most iconic image of American stock-ownership can't afford to own stock, one wonders what The Fed's pumpathon for the last decade (or three) has really all been about?
Q: Do you dream about stock trading?
A: I dream about sitting on the beach on a sunny day in the Caribbean. The day I start dreaming about stocks is the day I should retire.
Finally, Tuchman has some parting advice: "Never get emotional about money as a trader. It’s why I don’t own stock."