Friday, July 6, 2007

Too bad, so sad

The SF Chronicle reports that apparently there are no financial returns to speculating in iPhones:

David Flashner thought he had it wired: Buy two iPhones last Friday when they first went on sale, keep one and sell the other at a profit so big it would pay for most of the first one.

Flashner wasted no time. He began advertising the extra phone while still in line at an Apple Store in Burlingame. During his 21-hour wait, he posted half a dozen ads to Craigslist -- with prices ranging from $800 to $1,200 -- and waited for the calls to come in.

But no calls came because people expect that stores will soon have phones in stock. He continued to advertise the extra phone through the weekend, and ended up with just one call, which went nowhere. On Wednesday, he returned the phone.
Oddly, this story about iPhone speculation in the Bay Area actually originated with the NY Times.

I personally find speculators annoying: they artificially push up the price of concert tickets, houses and lots of other stuff, and tend to make financial markets excessively volatile.

So I am really happy when (now and again) speculators lose a lot of money — at an emotional level, a policy level, and a pedagogical level (teaching my students). Periodic losses (e.g. in California real estate) are necessary to remind people that risky bets can be losing bets — that's why they call it speculation.

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