Telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp. The offer price fell 5 percent, then more, and still there were no takers. Other buyers followed, momentum built, and the stock ended the day as one of only two gainers in the Nikkei stock average. The man who made the market for SoftBank that winter morning was sitting in pajamas in a bedroom cluttered with manga. He was leaning into the glare of four computer screens and munching a carrot — something to calm his stomach.
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Betting on rebounds was dangerous, but he had watched SoftBank lose a fifth of its value over nine days, and a drop in U. The odds were tilting further in favor of a bounce, by his reckoning. He decided to pull the trigger, rat-a-tat-tatting the orders in. Then it was on to the next trade for the former video game champion and pachinko gambler who goes by the name CIS. CIS has been the subject of much chatter and speculation. A Wikipedia page attempts to track his investment results.
Only a handful of his peers know his real name, and no one has watched him work. CIS did not offer a complete accounting of his investing returns and his wealth for this story, and some of his claims cannot be verified.
He did show multiple statements from one of his many brokerage accounts, in addition to his tax return. The nickname is a holdover from his gaming days, when he used to crush foes in virtual wrestling rings and online fantasy worlds. Rail thin, with a shaggy mop of hair, he showed up in a gray sweater, jeans and sneakers.
No one would have taken him for a multimillionaire. CIS wants people to know what he has accomplished; he just does not want them to know who he is. Even after six sit-down interviews over many months, CIS asked not to be named for this story.
Married with three kids, he says he is worried about being targeted for robbery or extortion. Last year was a very good year to be a Japanese day trader.
On top of that, a relaxation of borrowing limits allowed people trading on margin to roll over loans the instant they exited a position. Taken together, the two made for a potent cocktail.
The benchmark Nikkei jumped more than 56 percent inthe most in four decades. The Mothers Index of small-cap stocks, a magnet for retail investors, rocketed up percent. The number of shares traded by individual investors more than doubled, according to the TSE. Rather than selling a single share of a small recruiting company called J-Com Co. The order was for 42 times the number of outstanding shares. CIS saw it had to be an error and was among a small number of day traders and institutional investors who pounced.
CIS says he bought 3, shares, about a quarter of the actual total, at the limit-low price. Efforts to reach Kotegawa were unsuccessful, and it is unclear whether he still trades. But he did not celebrate. He did not even pause.
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Instead, he shifted his winnings into Nintendo Co. Then he shorted the brokerages. Somebody had screwed up, and financial shares would probably get punished for it. That site is no longer around, but in summersomeone authored a Wikipedia page about CIS.
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He came onto the set with a translucent box trading tilt secret ways to protect his head and spoke through a voice modulator to maintain his anonymity. The average trading tilt secret ways to protect might not have known who he was watching on TV, but day traders did.
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Some people might not have liked them, but most people knew he was kidding. Some even vacation together. It was Bali the spring before that. In person, it is not easy to square CIS with the bravado of his online alter ego — or his wealth. Pale from hours staring into computer monitors, he looks like the video game junkie he once was.
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Stress has given him chronic stomach pain and a dusting of gray at the temples. You have to conserve your assets. One secret was identifying the machines most likely to give bigger payouts.
Another was being able to endure 13 hours at a time in smoke-filled and deafeningly loud pachinko parlors; he had to play thousands of consecutive games to take advantage of the odds. He calls this an early exercise in building and protecting assets.
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Wicked keyboard skills were a must. He memorized more than keystroke shortcuts — control-A to guzzle a healing potion or shift-S to draw a sword, for example — and he could dance between them without taking his eyes off the screen. But option this video game taught a bigger lesson: when to cut and run.
CIS says he bets wrong four out of 10 times.
The trick is to sell the losers fast while letting the winners ride. For him, a well-played stop-loss is just about the most beautiful trade there is. That is why he says a less flashy SoftBank trade than the one from February may turn out to be his best move of He took a 2.
SoftBank slid 18 percent in the month after he sold, and weeks later, regulatory filings showed why: Capital Group Cos. Stocks entered the picture for CIS when he was in his early 20s and working as a designer of industrial shock absorbers at a small manufacturer.
He began by betting on what he thought were undervalued companies, and he lost money.
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He found success after a friend gave him a piece of advice: Forget the fundamentals. CIS does not subscribe to the Nikkei or any other newspaper. Nor does he scrutinize earnings reports or parse central bank statements or spend much time looking at moving averages or other price chart patterns normally associated with technical trading.
The human mind is hard-wired to bet on reversals, Shefrin says. At a craps table, for example, players tend to shift their bets toward numbers that have not come up, even though the odds do not change with each roll of the dice. In the same way, even the savviest investor has a built-in bias for buying when stocks fall and selling when they go up.
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In latehe quit the salaryman life to work the market full time. Since then, there have been more than a million trades, CIS estimates. Early on, he held most positions for just seconds at a time, making hundreds of moves each day. Now that he has more money, there is no choice but to hold positions longer, because shifting such large sums in and out of the market influences prices. It was a snapshot that looked pretty much like others he had shown in person over the course of the year.
The holdings:shares of Toyota Motor Corp. When CIS is not betting on stocks, he is gaming elsewhere. He plays low-stakes mah-jongg most afternoons after the market closes and is ranked in the top And if it is not mah-jongg, it is poker or blackjack, online and sometimes in trading tilt secret ways to protect. Walker Hills declined to comment on individual clients.
He also holds corporate bonds and gold, he says, and has stakes in three small businesses. But CIS is on a different level. How he managed to build a fortune of such size is a subject of much speculation among his peers. It could be an ability to spot weaknesses in trading algorithms used by the big banks, Murakami says.