Dan Zanger holds the World Record for boasting a 29,233% return in his own portfolio in single year.
Through his website, chartpattern.com, Dan runs a nightly newsletter featuring his latest stock picks and analysis.
Dan Zanger Records
According to his website, Dan Zanger has spent some 20 years and 10,000+ hours studying every type of chart pattern formation imaginable. He combines chart patterns with fast growing companies that boast great earnings and revenue growth. These stocks then go on to yield big returns of sometimes a few hundred percent or more.
Dan holds two world records for the largest portfolio returns in both a 12-month and 18-month time period. He did this during the late 90s and turned roughly $11,000 into $18 million between June 1998 and December 1999.
Dan Zanger Newsletter
Being a reader myself now since 2007, how it works is three evenings each week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday) Dan emails a summary of the overall market and his latest charts analysis. Each newsletter includes around 16 charts on average.
Each newsletter always includes analysis of the major indices alongside short term sentiment via NYMO. From there, the newsletter will cover the major trends, story stocks, Dan’s personal picks, and setups he’s watching. It’s important to note that Dan does not say in the newsletter which stocks he’s actually holding.
During each trading day Monday – Friday, Dan will also pop in and out of his chat room and chat with subscribers, answer questions, give feedback on stocks, etc. The chat room is open 24/7 to subscribers.
Like all stock picking services, Dan has a variety of big winners he promotes on the site. Obviously, big winners like these are extremely rare; furthermore, while it can be assumed Dan traded these stocks and profited, no one knows for sure to what magnitude. “How long did Dan hold these positions?” “How much did he make?” are all unknowns.
Here are several examples:
1. Baidu (BIDU) – BIDU was recommended at just over $100 a share. The stock ran up several hundred percent before splitting 1 for 10 and now trades at around $80 or $800 with pre-split pricing, a return of 500+%.
2. First Solar (FSLR) – FSLR was recommended at $31.14. The stock ran up over $110 a share before being marked as a sell, a return of 250+%.
3. SanDisk (SNDK) – SNDK was recommended at $22.00 a share (chart on left). The stock ran up to over $80 before being marked as a sell as it broke down, a return of some 400%.
From talking to other subscribers at Dan’s seminars and being a reader for multiple years, I have heard stories and can certainly see how subscribers can profit from Dan’s analysis. I personally have not gotten rich off the newsletter.
While testimonials like the ones below (emphasis mine) are certainly exciting and encouraging, potential subscribers should know success stories like these are rare and require substantial personal skill, not too mention a healthy dose of luck. Dan’s newsletter does not make it overly obvious which stocks are good buys. Instead, he simply shares his thoughts and leaves it up to the reader to use their own analysis to make a trade decision.
“Dan, Today is my biggest one-day gain – almost 6 figures gain. Thanks for your wisdom. When some people in the chat room today felt the market might sell off after the Fed announcement, but you said judging by the way BIDU was breaking out today, you did not feel the market would sell off. I had a lot of calls of GS, BSC, MA & some stocks such as BIDU, etc. What you said stopped me from selling any before the Fed announcement. What you said came from your many years of experience. Can’t find it in any books or from “financial experts”. You are the best. By the way, I’ve been to your seminar 3 times & been a subscriber for many years, Still learning. Tony”
“Hi Dan, I attended your seminar in May. Since your seminar, I made over $200,000 on your long trades from May through July. Because of the correction, I haven’t traded during August, until August 15th, and shorted RIMM and ICE, after your calls, and made $35,000, for two days, during the market steep decline. Thank you for your newsletter, seminar, and your messages in the chatroom. Thank you for being a great trader and not just another guru, whose salesmanship is better than his trading. I have been a successful trader, that has traded for a living for many years, and you have made me a lot better trader. Thank you very much. David Frank”
“Hello Dan, Just wanted to let you know about one of the stories your responsible for…. My parents are celebrating their 47th Wedding Anniversary today and I had the great pleasure of letting them know that I had surpassed $1,000,000.00 in profits year to date.…. I have been reading your newsletter and benefiting from your intra-day information for over a year now…. Priceless, amazing, unbelievable,… I could go on and on…. Just wanted to say thanks for all the dreams you have allowed me to turn into reality… All my thanks, Jeffrey S.”
Three Important Caveats
Dan Zanger’s newsletter is a subscription service for a reason. The newsletter easily takes several hours to write every night. Clearly Dan isn’t doing it for charity, otherwise he wouldn’t be charging $125 per month.
While Dan grew his portfolio to $42 million by the end of 1999 and set two world records, he had to pay a massive tax bill to Uncle Sam. Thereafter when the bubble burst in 2000, Dan openly admitted in a 2004 interview with Active Trader Magazine that he made mistakes and lost 75% of his portfolio.
After the dot-com boom and bust, Dan had some strong years of 50% returns or more, but from what I’ve read and heard, he has never come close to seeing similar returns.
Just like my 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Trading Before I Got Started article, here are several important points to understand before subscribing to Dan’s newsletter or ANY stock picks newsletter subscription:
- The only publicly audited returns Dan Zanger has are from his world records in 1998 – 1999. He has not had any of his returns audited or published since.
- Dan’s newsletter service is a business, not a hobby. Let’s say Dan has 1,000 paying subscribers. At the current $125 per subscriber, that is $1,250,000 per year in revenue each year for sharing his market analysis. Not a bad lifestyle.
- Subscribing to the newsletter doesn’t guarantee returns. Dan Zanger will not make you rich. Those who profit from Dan’s newsletter are seasoned traders with ample experience and a lot of personal skill.
Why I Read Dan Zanger’s Newsletter
Caveats aside, the reason I read Dan Zanger’s newsletter and recommend it here on StockTrader.com is because of the educational value and market insights Dan provides.
Dan does a terrific job following big trends, reading the market environment, and identifying setups. As a subscriber, you have to understand that for every 10 trades ideas Dan posts, he will probably only trade one himself, if any. Dan often shares his actual positions in the chat room with subscribers, and it is clear to me that the majority of stocks ideas mentioned are not traded.
The newsletter isn’t designed to tell you exactly what to buy and sell and what to do. Instead, it’s there to provide a well respected trader’s opinion and thoughts.
The comments and analysis within each newsletter serve as both a phenomenal source of education and a fresh perspective on the markets you won’t find anywhere else.
Ultimately, regardless of what Dan’s performance has been in the years since the dot-com boom and bust, Dan has proven himself and earned the title as the world record holder for the largest return of a single portfolio in one year. How many people do you know that have done over 29,000% return in one year?
Dan Zanger Seminar Review
Stepping away from the newsletter, back in January 2012 I attended Dan’s seminar in Los Angeles California (I later attended the 2014 seminar as well). I was offered tickets to both (I paid for my own flights, lodging, etc) as a thank you for being one of Dan’s top affiliates over the years.
Here is my detailed review from back in 2012.
Now that I am back in town, I want to share a full review of the seminar and my personal thoughts as I know multiple people have already asked me how it went.
In a nutshell, Dan Zanger’s seminar was awesome and the knowledge gained is simply priceless.
What made the seminar so unique was Dan himself. I realized after that it doesn’t matter how many different books I’ve read or how many charts from Dan’s nightly market newsletter I’ve saved and studied over the years, nothing compared to getting a full day walk through from Dan live in person.
Why? Because Dan put’s everything into perspective.
Dan is a proven, extremely successful investor who has accumulated vast wealth doing what he loves. His experience and passion resonated through everything he said to us who were in attendance.
Whether it was talking about the market as a whole or the many specific patterns and chart examples from the past, the little tips and tricks of the trade alone easily covered the price of admission.
The seminar revolves around a 174 page spiral book we all received upon arriving. Dubbed the “Game Book”, the beginning summarizes the key pieces of Dan’s strategy and some basic educational material while the rest is all stock charts, both current and historical examples, that Dan uses to teach from.
Dan kicked off the seminar by going through all of his tools of the trade. From his eSignal quote stream to his AIQ charts, TD Ameritrade iPhone app, and MarketSmith. He explained why he uses them and more importantly how he uses them to be successful.
From there he went into an overview of what he looks for in making his stock selections, discussing basics bar setups, the market, and patterns. This also included the companies themselves, why earnings matter, why the brand matters, and how to distinguish the big winners from the rest.
A quick side note, Dan is a CANSLIM investor at heart and part of the initial overview was more or less a recap for myself personally as I already understood the CANSLIM philosophy. However, the quick refresher was nice and his personal wisdom was really helpful to focus in on what works for him specifically. He calls William O’Neils best seller, How to Make Money in Stocks, the “traders bible.”
After a nice sit down lunch (seriously though it was delicious, and I would have taken a picture had I not inhaled my plate as soon as it got to the table), Dan then went straight into the charts, explaining scenario after scenario.
When it came to the charts, every so often Dan would discuss some of the actual trades he had made which was excellent. Hearing about wins, losses, big wins, and big losses, mistakes, lessons, etc. really was impactful.
Then with multiple hours of chart flipping complete, Dan went into an open Q & A and then wrapped up the seminar. All in all, the seminar started around 9:30 AM and wrapped up close to 6 PM.
Who Should Attend Dan’s Yearly Seminar
To really maximize the seminar, having prior market experience and being a Dan Zanger subscriber is important. I am by no means a full-time trader, and the aspiration to be one day was a driver to attend. However, I understand the market and have been a hobby investor for close to 10 years so I could better take in and translate what Dan was saying throughout the day.
New investors will surely learn a lot, but they will not be able to fully appreciate all the personalized tips and tricks that Dan shares from his career of trading. Also Dan spends next to no time explaining the basics. It is expected you know the fundamentals of the game.
Lastly, being a CANSLIM investor or at least having a fundamental understanding of CANSLIM trading is useful. While channels, consolidations, bull flags, breakouts, and other technical patterns are applicable to any strategy, a good benefit comes from applying the lessons taught to momentum trading, CANSLIM style.
Dan Zanger someone who has made and lost millions investing in the market. With more profits than losses, Dan understands what it takes to be successful.
With Dan’s seminar, there is only one each year, and while it comes at a cost of $1995 + travel, the investment could very well be worth it.
As far as the newsletter + chat room service goes, the educational value coupled with fresh market perspective is worth the $125 per month price tag for those who already have market experience.
I do not recommend Dan’s newsletter or seminar if you are a new investor. Instead, read my getting started guide and purchase several recommended investment books. See also: 10 Trading Secrets I Wish I Knew When I Got Started.
Reviewer Disclosures: As noted above, I was provided with free passes to Dan’s seminars (I paid for my own travel expenses each year). Also, my monthly subscription to Dan’s newsletter is provided to me for free as a thank you for recommending the service over the years.