Kosmo, the options trader, and Paul, who traded volatility, were the only occupants of the ten seats on our row of ten terminals other than me. Kosmo pointed to and touched his computer screen and nodded to himself. Paul sat motionless. In contrast, I rocked back and forth in my Aeron, tapped my index finger on the computer mouse and bounced my knees up and down. I sucked in my cheeks, jutted my jaw and exhaled as if I were blowing out cigarette smoke.
It had been six months since I had walked home from CarCash with a box of medical textbooks and a balled-up white coat under my right arm and the license plates from the Toyota Land Cruiser that I no longer needed in my left hand, having temporarily permanently retired from medicine. My year off to write a book about reproductive bioethics had lasted about five weeks, and I happily found myself consulting on a quant trading desk, swapping good healthcare stocks from the short side to the long side and replacing them with not-so-good healthcare stocks that the trading algorithm should have bet against from the start. Within a few weeks I was running my own small portfolio, first using play money through a Wall Street flight simulator, later making real, albeit small trades.
At no time was I more than a rounding error of a rounding error for Deutsche Bank, but I took my trading seriously. I set up a market neutral healthcare book, small to large cap, biotech to healthcare services to healthcare IT. I set out to learn merger arbitrage, convertible arbitrage, option spreads, delta hedging and event-driven trades. The last category included the scary binary events in my favorite sector, biotechnology, the sector where I figured that my science and medical backgrounds were most likely to provide an edge. My first big (for me anyway) one-directional, unhedged, make-a-lot or lose-a-lot on a single outcome trade was based on the coming FDA approval decision for a tiny Massachusetts company's drug that treated the urgent impulse to empty a not quite full bladder. The company's name was Indevus. It's ticker was IDEV.
The FDA had promised to provide the company with an answer at the end of May, and I had a large long position (in other words I owned a lot of stock) in anticipation of the drug being approved. Approval transformed the company from a drug developer to a drug seller. Approval meant revenue and then profits.
Approval meant that the stock had to go up. Rejection meant the stock would go down. Get hammered. Get crushed. Get killed. Be decimated. And I would get hammered, crushed, killed and be decimated with it.
The morning passed slowly, and just before noon I got up to get lunch, barely making it to the door when I heard Kosmo calling me.
I turned back into the room.
"...your IDEV. It's halted."
More to come.