A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“I could burn water” (i.e., I can’t cook) (10/31)
“When you think, you stink” (sports adage) (10/30)
“Real estate is a relationship business” (real estate adage) (10/30)
Shit-in ("sit-in” for gender-neutral bathrooms) (10/30)
“Ask a basketball player for change of $1, get 75 cents back because no fourth quarter” (10/29)
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Entry from October 06, 2008
“No tree grows to the sky” (Wall Street adage)

"No tree grows to the sky” (or, “No tree grows to heaven") is an old Wall Street saying meaning that a bull market (good business times) cannot continue forever. The saying dates back in print to at least the 1910s.


17 December 1915, Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) Herald, “Bitter Times, But Worth Their Cost,” pg. 9, col. 2:
We must fight hard against the tide to prevent trade and wealth pouring in upon us. The danger is that we may lose our heads and fancy that truth grows on every tree and that every tree grows to heaven.

Google Books
The Problems of Peace
By Thomas Gibson
New York, NY: The Financial World
1919
Pg. 134:
However, by careful attention to the progress of events, and with the Persian proverb, “No tree grows to Heaven” always in mind, it will be possible for shrewd and observant people to escape the deluge.

25 October 1928, New York (NY) Times, “Topics in Wall Street,” pg. 40:
Proverbial Philosophy.
The divergent opinions being expressed concerning the stock market and the uncertain movement of prices caused one conservative banker to remark yesterday that Wall Street seemed to be divided in its view of things between two proverbs: one, that “you cannot keep a squirrel on the ground”; the other, that “even (the? --ed.) tallest tree cannot touch the sky.” “Personally,” he added, “my favorite is the tree proverb.”

27 March 1930, Olean (NY) Evening Times, “Spectator of Wall Street,” pg. 8, col. 6:
No tree grows to the sky and no bull market goes on forever.

15 August 1959, New York (NY) Times, pg. 23 ad:
Hamilton himself cautioned that “no tree grows to the sky”.
(...)
E. GEORGE SCHAEFER
May 2, 1959

9 November 1962, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Stocks Take First Dip in 8 Sessions,” section 4, pg. 5:
“No tree grows to the sky,” they said, repeating an old maxim.

Google Books
The great boom and panic, 1921-1929
By Robert Trescott Patterson
Chicago, IL: H. Regnery Co.
1965
Pg. 29:
Beyond offering the somewhat trite reflection that no tree grows to the sky, there is no need to ...

Google Books
“Let’s Look at the Record”:
Sutro & Co., 1852-1965

By Sidney L. Schwartz
Published by S.L. Schwartz
1965
Pg. 30:
... to that growing optimistic group of people who apparently feel that prices can continue upward indefinitely when he wrote, “No tree grows to the sky,” and that “every Bull Market has its ending.”

4 November 1966, New York (NY) Times, “Dealers Assess Note Allotment” by John H. Allan, pg. 60:
The old market cliche, “No tree grows to the sky,” cropped up more than once. 

Google Books
A Pride of Prejudices
By Vermont Royster
New York, NY: Knopf
1967
(Essays first published in the Wall Street Journal.)
Pg. 294:
But also remind him that in Wall Street, as in any other arboretum, no tree grows to the sky.

Google Books
Exploring New Ethics for Survival:
The Voyage of the Spaceship Beagle

By Garrett James Hardin
New York, NY: Viking Press
1972
Pg. 151:
There’s a saying on Wall Street that “no tree grows to the sky,” referring to the price of stocks.

Google Books
Crisis Investing:
Opportunities and Profits in the Coming Great Depression

By Douglas Casey
New York, NY: Pocket Books
1981
Pg. 158:
I can only remark that no tree grows to the sky; every bubble must burst.

Time magazine
Is Tokyo’s Bull Riding Too High?
By Barry Hillenbrand/Tokyo and Frederick Ungeheuer/New York
Monday, Aug. 08, 1988
(...)
Many analysts expect the Nikkei index to break the 30,000-yen barrier sometime this year. Says Hideo Nakazawa, general manager of Nomura’s equity department: “We may hit some bumps, but the direction is up.” Yet even Tokyo is unlikely to disprove the adage so often cited by bears in markets the world over: “No tree grows to the sky.”

Google Books
Investment Illusions:
A Savvy Wall Street Pro Explodes Popular Misconceptions about the Markets

By Martin S. Fridson
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
1996
Pg. 3:
Remember, too, that no tree grows to the sky.

Google Books
The Alchemy of Growth:
Practical Insights for Building the Enduring Enterprise

By Mehrdad Baghai, Stephen Coley, David White
Published by Da Capo Press
2000
Pg. 78:
Managing the business for profitability In nature, no tree grows to heaven. In business, even the most rapidly evolving enterprises reach maturity.

14 November 2000, Wall Street Journal, pg. C1, col. 2:
It’s a dead-cat bounce…
The market is in a narrow trading range…
Bonds retreated on bearish comments from the Fed…
We’re near-term cautious but long-term optimistic…
The stock market was own on technical factors…
The market fell on heavy selling by mutual funds…
The trend is your friend: Stocks have been going up…
Trees don’t grow to the sky: Stocks stopped going up…

Google Books
J.K. Lasser’s Winning Financial Strategies for Women
By Rhonda M. Ecker and Denice Gustin-Piazza
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
2001
Pg. 110:
Market Truism #3:
No Tree Grows to the Sky

This is valuable advice for owners of individual stock issues. A good rule of thumb is to monitor your stocks, as they rise, until you see them hit a peak and head downward 10 percent.

Google Books
The Intelligent Investor:
A Book of Practical Counsel

By Benjamin Graham
New York, NY: HarperCollins
2003
Pg. 582:
Here are two age-old Wall Street proverbs that counsel such sales: “No tree grows to Heaven” and “A bull may make money, a bear may make money, but a hog never makes money.”

Google Books
Buy the Rumor, Sell the Fact:
85 Maxims of Wall Street and What They Really Mean

By Michael Maiello
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional
2004
Pg. 49:
No Tree Grows to Heaven

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, October 06, 2008 • Permalink