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VERSION 9.75 IS NOW AVAILABLE, now featuring a number of new features, such as the addition of alerts you can request, notifying you when a commodity price, cryptocurrency price, stock index price, an interest rate, or the GDP growth rate reaches a level you specify. Other changes include provision of a pick list of all the companies in an industry, when you want your company to buy business assets from another company in its industry; or when your company is selling business assets, a pick list is now displayed showing all companies you control (including holding/trading companies) that are potential buyers of the assets. (You cannot select a company you don't control and force it to buy assets from your company -- any sales to uncontrolled companies are still made to a buyer -- if any -- that will be selected by the software.)

Another useful change is the ability to set the maturity year when issuing bonds, as short as three years and (subject to certain limits) up to 10 years for convertibles or 20 years for "straight" bonds. The interest rate your company will have to pay will be somewhat lower on shorter-term bonds than on those with a more distant maturity.

Below are details on upgrades, updates, bug fixes, and other improvements in the Windows version of Wall Street Raider. Click here to see an image of the main screen of Wall Street Raider (for Versions 6.0 THROUGH 9.75).

REGISTERED USERS: If you are a registered purchaser of the Windows version, you can order updates/upgrades of the new version (v. 9.75) at a greatly reduced price of $14.95, which includes the latest version of the (electronic) strategy manual, which now comes in HTML format, for hypertext viewing with your default browser.

To access the reduced price ordering link, simply load your current (REGISTERED) version of W$R, and click on the "Game Options/Updates" menu item, which will take you to the ordering page on the Internet. (If you have a very old copy of W$R, that only takes you back to this page, e-mail us at mdjenk@aol.com with your registration info and we will give you the link for ordering at the reduced $14.95 price.) The file you will download will be the "Full Package" version, 9.75.

SHAREWARE USERS: Download the latest W$R shareware (free) version here or here.

Note that the shareware version, limits games to 2 years in length and options trading is not enabled; stock charts are also not generally available. (The registered version allows games of up to 35 years length, and if that isn't long enough for you, email us with your registration number and we will send you a link to an "experimental" version that theoretically allows games to go on for 999 years, though the compounding numbers will grow so large that they will probably crash the program after about 100 years.)

To order the basic registered version 9.75 ($24.95), which also includes the "Customizer" utility program that lets you permanently change company names and stock symbols, or to order the "Full Package" that includes the W$R Strategy Manual (electronic, HTML file, viewed with your browser, not a print version) and the Customizer, for $29.95, CLICK HERE to go to our ordering page menu.

Check below, to determine if an update has been issued since the version you currently have. As you can see, Wall Street Raider is a "work in progress," and has constantly been improved and made more realistic and usable over the years. The quest for perfection continues....

OUR STOCK TRADING GAME! Speculator: The Stock Market Simulation, Version 4.0, is a "spin-off" from Wall Street Raider, a simulation in which you are not a billionaire tycoon who can influence or manipulate stock prices, but just a small, middle-class investor with a $100,000 inheritance to invest or speculate with. As such, we think you will find it more challenging than Wall Street Raider, as you have to be a nimble trader in stocks, bonds (including convertibles), options and futures. For details, or to try a free (shareware) version, CLICK HERE.


(Descriptions of releases are shown below in reverse order)

We don't expect anyone will read more than the most recent items listed below, but this "abbreviated" page will give you some idea of the tremendous number of improvements and extensions we have made to the Windows version since it was first released in 2001.
  • 9.75 -- Released January 1, 2023

      Many of the popular features in Wall Street Raider have been developed in response to suggestions by users over the years. These include some ideas (like adding Bitcoin) we initially thought were "off the wall," or others, like creating and realistically simulating price action for convertible bonds, we at first rejected as being impossibly difficult to implement, but eventually got around to including, after much trial and error (and hair-pulling) in development.

      Since we seem to be running out of good ideas ourselves lately, almost all the upgrade features in this release are entirely in response to a "to do list" of good ideas for "do-able" features or changes that we have received since we released 9.50, coming from several different users, and which we felt were worthwhile improvements. We always appreciate the good input, though we can't incorporate every idea someone comes up with, as we try to keep the complexity and ease of use for simply playing the game from becoming overwhelming for new players. The changes in this release and prior releases are listed below as follows:

    • Advanced Options Trading Platform Added. We recently received an excellent suggestion by a user of Wall Street Raider, requesting that we create an options trading platform for doing complex options trades all at once, something similar to the real-world Trade Station offering by Ameritrade. Until now, it was possible to construct sophisticated options trading strategies (hedges) in Wall Street Raider, such as straddles, strangles, bull spreads, calendar spreads, Butterfly spreads, etc., but you had to put the different options positions in place one trade at a time. Very often, between putting in the trades, the price of the underlying stock would have moved significantly, making it difficult to implement the complex position as you intended. Now, you can enter up to 8 trades on the trading platform screen and execute them all at the same time with a single click.

      Also, one click on a "Close All XYZ Options" button will now allow you to instantly close all option positions you have (or a company you control has) on a particular stock, for instance, on XYZ Corp. This is a handy additional feature of the trading station platform. Thus, if you have established a complex option strategy on XYZ Corp., such as an Iron Butterfly spread, and you decide it is time to close out all of the positions in that spread, one click on the "Close All XYZ Options" button will instantly settle all of XYZ options at the current market prices.

      To make such complex option strategies simple to implement, we have added a new screen, an "Advanced Options Trading Station" to this release of Wall Street Raider. It lets you do up to 4 put trades and 4 call trades, all at one time. This works out perfectly, since many of the most common esoteric options strategies involve either 4 puts or 4 calls, or 2 of each.

      In addition, the HELP button on this "trading station" screen will take you directly to a detailed discussion, with examples, of all the major options trading strategies -- covered calls, long or short straddles or strangles, vertical bull or bear spreads, calendar spreads, Butterfly (and reverse Butterfly), Condor and reverse Condor spreads, and Iron Butterfly or Iron Condor spreads. You can learn a lot, by trial and error, about complex options trading strategies with this new tool and the accompanying instructions.

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      We have even "automated" the creation of the most widely used complex options trading strategies, where you click on the AUTO-TRADE button on the Advanced Options Trading Station to bring up this menu:

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      You can simply choose one of the listed strategies and enter an expiration month for all of the options that will be created, plus enter the quantity of options for each of the contracts, then click on the "GO" button to post the details of all the components for the selected strategy on the Advanced Options Trading Station screen. The Advanced Options Trading Station image below shows an Iron Butterfly strategy created with the AUTO-TRADE feature:

      Once posted, you can either click on "SUBMIT" to execute all the trades at once, or if you like, make any desired modifications before execution.

    • Commodity Price and Other Alerts Are Now Available. In Version 8.0, we added stock price alerts to Wall Street Raider. In response to requests of users who found the stock price alerts very useful, aiding them in trading and investing in stocks, this release has added price alerts on spot prices of each of the five commodities in the simulation -- crude oil, gold, silver, wheat, and corn, as well as on the Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies, and the Stock Index.

      In addition, you can now set up alerts to notify you when any of the interest rates (prime rate, long bond rate and short bond rate) reach a level you specify, or when the GDP growth rate goes above or below a growth rate you specify.

      Because of the many, constantly changing economic and financial factors in the game, as game time passes, it is often easy for you to fail to notice some major change that is occurring, such as a large increase or decrease in interest rates, or an emerging economic boom or recession or spike in a commodity price. Accordingly, you can now set up alerts for any of the key economic and financial indicators, so you will be alerted when one falls to or rises above levels you specify, which can be very helpful in reminding you to review and perhaps change your current investment strategy.

      Up to 100 stock and/or commodity price or rate alerts can be pending at any one time. As with stock price alerts, each commodity price or other alert will remain in effect for a full year of game play, or until the price or rate objective has been reached and you have been notified by an announcement, whichever occurs first. You can set up alerts at multiple price points or rate levels on a particular item and on one or more stocks.

      Now, instead of a "Set Stock Alert" button on the MISC Menu, that button has been replaced by a "Set Price or Rate Alert" button, which brings up an extensive menu from which you can pick the type of alert you want, either a stock price alert on the current "Active Entity" or an alert on one of the various commodities or other items for which alerts are now available.

    • Buying or Selling Business Assets Streamlined. In this release, when you wish to have your controlled company buy some business assets from another company in its industry, a pick list of all the potential sellers in its industry is displayed. Similarly, if you want your company to sell some of its business assets to another company you control, a pick list of all the companies you control in the same industry, plus all holding/trading companies you control, is listed for you to select as the buyer. If you wish to sell the assets to a company you do not control, then, as in previous versions, the software will pick the potential buyer (if any) and indicate how much it is willing to buy. (You cannot choose a company you do not control and force it to become the buyer.)

    • Setting Term of Bond Issuances. When you decide to have a company that you control or an ETF that one of your companie manages issue bonds, you are now able to set the year of maturity within certain upper limits or for a term as short as 3 years. The shorter the term, if less than 10 years, the lower the interest rate the company will have to pay on the bonds, all other things being equal.

    • New Database Search Features, To Find Companies with Positive Cash Flow. Two new cash flow-related items have been added on the Database Search screen. One allows you to search for companies with projected positive cash flow for the next 3 months. The other allows you to also include in your search results those companies that have negative cash flow overall, but that have positive cash flow before debt repayments on their line of credit and/or the payoff of a maturing bond issue.

    • More New Database Search Features, To Find Short Sale Candidates. Two more database search features have been added, in order to search for possible short sale candidates. Select the "FIND SHORT SALE CANDIDATES" item on the Database Search screen and the program will look for stocks that have a number of negative characteristics, such as downward momentum, excessive price-to-net worth ratios, and negative cash flow, and will list such stocks.

      Since many of the stocks that will be listed will be those that are D-rated (bankrupt, but not yet liquidated or reorganized), and since the simulation will not allow you to short the shares of such stocks, a second button, "...BUT EXCLUDE BANKRUPTS," has also been added, which will exclude any such "walking dead" companies in the selection process, if you also check that box. Thus, if you check that box to exclude the "zombie" companies, the only short sale candidates that will be listed will be those companies with "C" or better credit ratings, which you CAN sell short.

    • No More Automatic Dividend Increases by Companies You Control. While previous editions of Wall Street Raider did not generally do automatic dividend increases for a company you controlled, that was changed when we introduced the "autopilot" feature a few years ago, so that companies you control that are on "autopilot" function pretty much like the companies you don't control, except they don't do major actions like buying a stock or initiating a merger, or issuing new stock. However, some players found it annoying that when they wanted a company on autopilot to stop paying dividends, or only pay a minimal dividend, it would often boost the dividend if the company had big earnings increases or had a great deal of liquidity. Thus, in this release, companies you control will not raise their dividend automatically, whether they are on autopilot or not. (But will still cut their dividend payout when necessary to do so, or in a "cash flow crunch.")

    • Bank's "Hot Deposits" Now Shown on Its Financial Profile. As a convenience to users who control or invest in banks, we have added a line item in the Financial Profile for a bank, showing the amount of its demand deposits that are held by players or companies in the simulation, as distinct from deposits by "the Public," which tend to grow or shrink gradually. Previously, that information was only shown in a Research Report on a bank.

      Demand deposits by players or corporations in a bank should be considered "hot deposits," since they can suddenly be withdrawn at any time, such as when a company makes a large expenditure, like a purchase of a stock or other assets. From the bank's standpoint, it is nice to have a lot of such non-interest bearing deposits, since the cash can be loaned out or invested bonds or stocks. However, having a large amount of such "hot deposits" can cause some instability, because of the possibility of sudden and large fluctuations in those deposits, which might cause liquidity problems for the bank, forcing it to sell assets to pay off the depositor, possibly at an inopportune time.

    • Advanced Options Strategies Added to the Strategy Manual and HELP Files. For purchasers of the W$R "Full Package" and for registered users who purchase this upgrade, the W$R Strategy Manual now has a lengthy section on complex options trading strategies used by real- world professional options traders. Similar explanations are included in the W$R HELP file. Those discussions cover straddles (long and short), long and short strangles, bull and bear call spreads, bull and bear put spreads, calendar spreads, and even more arcane and complex spreads, such as the Butterfly, Condor, Iron Butterfly, and Iron Condor.

      Understanding the mechanics of the complex options strategies may cause short-circuits in your brain as you try to grasp how they work, but we decided to provide this esoteric information for the benefit of players who wish to delve more deeply into the intricacies of options trading.

      (These complicated options strategies are actually easier to utilize in our other game, Speculator, since W$R has some "insider" restrictions on the use of puts and short calls on stocks of companies you control, which may prevent you from being able to create some of the more advanced options trading positions we describe.)

    • Currency Exchange Rates Updated. In the current global economic crisis, exchange rates have been changing rapidly, as the U.S. dollar strengthens against nearly all other currencies. We have updated the exchange rates for the 22 non-US currencies for which Wall Street Raider can be configured, as of late December, 2022.

    • Saved File Compatibility. Version 9.75 is file-compatible with saved games from Versions 6.0 or higher.

  • 9.50 -- Released January 1, 2022 (Major upgrade)

    • It's a sign of the times....Inflation has come to Wall Street Raider! (No, not to the price of the game, which hasn't changed since mid-2014.) In the simulation, inflation is not all bad; this release adds an inflation factor to the price of gold and silver, which will tend to gradually appreciate, all other things being equal, at about 4% a year above an assumed initial price of $1,200 per Troy ounce. (Indexing stops after 35 years of play, which is the "standard" game length.) Thus, buying and holding physical gold, or buying long-term (5-year) futures will tend to be more profitable for gold and silver investors, since their prices will now have an inflationary bias. This will tend to make precious metals somewhat of an inflation hedge, though not a great investment, unless your timing is very good.

    • As requested by a number of players, Bitcoin has been added as a new asset class to trade in Wall Street Raider, and we have also added Ethereum, another popular crypto-currency. As in the real world, we have made the price action in both cryptos EXTREMELY volatile, as pure speculations, and both also include an inflationary bias, as with the precious metals. Thus, both of the cryptos are also somewhat of an inflation hedge, if you are not wiped out by the extreme price fluctuations in the interim!

    • We have also added a new (but rare) scenario, where Bitcoin may be banned by most of the world's major nations. While it will not be completely eliminated if that occurs, as it will still be legal in a few countries like Belarus or Bangladesh, its price will take an enormous plunge of 90% or more and won't ever significantly recover from the banning during the rest of the game. This danger adds another element of risk to your trading in Bitcoin, which is already wildly volatile, both in this simulation and the real world, where China has already decided to ban the use of Bitcoin.

    • Some players have been critical of the antitrust rules in Wall Street Raider (corporate antitrust damage suits and government fines, forced divestitures, and restrictions on anti-competitive takeovers), saying that these rules, as in the real world, make it difficult for the criminally-minded create a good monopoly in an industry. Accordingly, as was suggested, we have added a new "Cheat Menu" item that now lets you turn off either the private antitrust suits or the government fines and interventions, or turn off both. We trust that making the simulation lawless will evoke memories of the "robber baron" days of the late 1800s, when there were few, if any, laws against monopolies. The only downside of this new cheat is that it will disqualify all the players from setting a "personal best" high score in that game.

    • A "Suppress Cash Flow Warnings" item has been added to the Settings Menu, to suppress such warnings, if you control a lot of coompanies and are seeing too many such warnings.

    • Several minor improvements in this release include the following:

      • As one user suggested, we have added a new feature, when you do a merger of a company with a company you did not control prior to the merger. If the acquired company has significantly better management than the acquirer, you may sometimes be asked if you want to replace the management of the acquiring company with the management team of the acquired company. This will only occur under certain rare conditions, when both are in the same industry and their businesses are roughly comparable in size. (This feature is not applicable if either company is a holding/trading company, but applies to mergers in any other industry. It is also not applicable if the player controlled both companies before the merger was consummated.)

      • We have changed corporate cash flow projections to show, as a subtotal, net cash flow before debt repayments, before arriving at the total net cash flow. This is a more useful way of displaying the numbers, since in many cases some or all of the amount to be repaid can be borrowed right back, depending on a company's credit rating at the time repayment is made.

      • Vietnam has been added as another nation in which to incorporate a start-up. As with a number of Third World and Asian countries, incorporation of your startup company in Vietnam will make it more difficult for a hostile acquiring company to effect a merger with your company in Wall Street Raider when there is a large percentage of "public" stockholders who are more likely to vote against the merger in such countries. Thus, incorporating in those countries can be somewhat of a defensive strategy, to avoid losing control of your company in hostile merger attempts, in some cases.

        As suggested by the player who urged us to add Vietnam as another country in which to incorporate, we have made projected earnings estimates for Vietnamese companies much more volatile and often wildly inaccurate, which he indicated is the case for Vietnamese companies in the real world.

      • Vietnam Airlines (a dormant company initially) has been added, replacing Sabena Airways in registered versions of W$R, since the real Sabena, a Belgian airline, is now defunct.

      • The Financial Profile of a company shows the amount of any interest rate swaps to which the company is a party. In this release, if the company is a party to only one such agreement, which is the usual case, the name of the counterparty is also shown in the same footnote, for your convenience.

      • In previous versions, when you wished to do an interest rate swap (if a counterparty could be found), the sim searched only for companies with a solid credit rating and no existing swap agreements. In this version, the search for a counterparty will include companies that have only one interest rate swap in effect, if the second one will be an opposite position. For example, if Company XYZ already has a short position in an interest rate swap, it could become a counterparty in a swap where it becomes the long party; and vice versa.

      • The Database Search function has been modified so that any time credit rating is one of your search criteria for stocks, the companies listed will be sorted by credit rating, rather than alphabetically. A similar change was made when doing bond searches in Version 9.0.

      • In previous versions, a contingency reserve would often be set aside to cover the after-tax costs of antitrust litigation, for a company that was a defendant in one or more pending antitrust lawsuits, but the amount set aside was based on a simple, one-size-fits all computation. In this version, a much more complex algorithm computes the amount needed in the reserve, analyzing each such lawsuit separately, and taking into account the level of risk posed, as a better approximation of what amount should be set aside. Then, if there is still a significant sum left in the reserve after all such pending cases against the company have been resolved, a portion of the reserve will be added back to income each quarter, reducing the reserve, in the case of companies not controlled by human players.

      • We have fixed one tax loophole, to be congruent with Sec. 362 of the U.S. tax code. Previously, if ABC transferred stock of XYZ to sub DEF, and the stock had a "tax basis" of 500 million, but its value had declined to only 100 million, the 500 million tax basis was added to ABC's basis in its DEF sub, and the XYZ stock "carried over" its 500 million basis in the hands of DEF. Now in W$R, as under the US tax law, when the tax basis of the stock that is contributed is higher than its value, the basis of the XYZ stock will no longer be 500 million. Its tax basis will be set at its market value of 100 million. This also applies to capital contributions of bonds. (Clang! The sound of two more loopholes closing!)

      • When a bank you control is selling off a corporate loan, such as where the debtor has a "D" credit rating, the sim will look for another bank that has enough cash to purchase the loan. In prior versions, if you controlled any other banks, the program would first look for any other bank you controlled and ask if you want it to be the buyer; if it could find no such controlled bank, or if it did and you answered "no" to the question for each of your other controlled banks, the loan was then sold to the first uncontrolled bank it randomly found that had sufficient funds to make the purchase.

        However, if, for example, you controlled 20 other banks that had ample funds, W$R previously would go through the list and for each such bank it would ask if you wanted to sell the loan to it. Obviously, if you were dumping a "D"-rated loan, you wouldn't want to sell it to another of your banks, so that could be annoying. In this version, the software simply randomly looks for a bank you do not control (which has adequate funds) and instantly has it buy the loan you are trying to sell.

    • Version 9.50 is file-compatible with saved games from Versions 6.0 or higher.

  • 9.01 to 9.06 -- Released January 8 to March 21, 2021 (Minor upgrades and bug-fixes)

    • Added a question after a cash flow warning, which asks if you want to make the company for which the cash flow warning was issued the "Active Entity," in case you quickly want to have it take actions to deal with the problem, or if you just want to look at its financials, without having to look up its stock symbol and enter it.

    • Changed rule on dividends received deductions for corporations, so that now the 50% dividends received deduction is allowed on dividends a corporation receives from an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF).

    • Fixed bug that was prohibiting a company with less than a "BBB" credit rating from selling covered call options against stock it owns. The general rule in W$R is that a company must have at least a BBB credit rating to initiate a sale of a "naked" call option, but that rule should not have applied to selling a call against stock the company owns, even if the seller has a "D" credit rating, since it can always deliver the stock if the call option is exercised against it.

      Added estimated quarterly storage fees of physical commodities to the cash flow projection, an item which was inadvertently left out of the Version 9.0 cash flow projection calculations for corporations.

    • Fixed an error that could occur when an insurance company tried to sell subprime mortgages at a loss.

    • Expanded the table in Who's Ahead listing to allow full 20-character player names.

    • Version 9.06 is a free upgrade for customers who bought any of the registered versions 9.0 to 9.05. Email us for a link.

  • 9.0 -- Released January 1, 2021 (Major upgrade)

    • We have received a number of requests from users in the last year to include some kind of cash flow projection or warning system when companies you control are about to run out of cash. Our response has generally been, "Nice thought, but devilishly difficult to see how I could do that, especially where there are complex corporate structures involving complexities like the presence of convertible bonds or 80%-owned subsidiaries that are contributing unknown amounts of taxable income and/or tax credits to a consolidated group's tax calculations, all at different times."

      Nevertheless, during our period of house arrest ("self-quarantine") during the COVID-19 crisis, we have had plenty of time on our hands, which we didn't want to waste watching the rubbish on the telly, so we decided to tackle that thorny project, knowing that it would be vastly more complex than the existing cash flow annual projection for the individual players. It was, but we've come up with a cash flow projection for non-bank corporations that isn't perfect, but will generally give you a pretty good estimate of the near-term cash flow of a corporation, with considerable detail, giving you some ideas of what policies you need to quickly change if your corporation is burning through its cash and credit rapidly and headed for a crack-up on the financial rocks. Accordingly...

      This version now includes detailed 3-month cash flow projections for corporations, which can also help you determine when a stock you are considering an investment in (or shorting) is about to run out of cash and/or borrowing power, and perhaps be forced to sell off assets when it has burned through all its cash and credit. Or, it can give you some assurance that a company is sailing along smoothly, with no near-term liquidity problems. The complex code that does the calculations is also a diagnostic tool that can give you warnings (pop-ups or in research reports on a stock) when a company is about to experience a serious cash crunch in the next three months. In such cases, the actual projection and how it is being calculated will also show you where the worst bleeding is occurring, so you can take appropriate action -- if possible.

      This feature is also an invaluable tool, once you recognize that your company has a cash flow crisis coming. You can do "what-if" analyses of changes like cutting the dividend paid, slashing R & D spending, or cutting back on the growth rate, or increasing the dividends paid by stocks your company owns controlling interests in, and doing new cash flow projections to see how such changes in policy will affect the bottom line cash flow, to prevent your company from having to make forced sales of assets. In addition, if you change certain settings that directly affect cash flow (dividend payout, asset growth rate, or productivity spending), you will be given an immediate warning if an increase you make in one of those settings will trigger a major cash flow problem in the next 3 months, in which case you may want to reverse the change you have just made.

    • Another new feature in this version is the addition of another 5 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to the 15 sector ETFs that were added in Version 6.30 (in 2012). These new funds consist of three bond funds, and two triple leverage (3x) index funds. One bond fund invests only in government bonds, another invests only in investment-grade bonds rated BBB or better, and the third fund invests only in junk (high yield or convertible) bonds with ratings of BB or lower, if available, (but not "C" or "D" unless the issuer is profitable and appears likely to improve its credit rating). The bond funds have somewhat volatile share prices, fluctuating mainly in reaction to changing interest rates, but can be a good place for industrial companies or holding companies to invest excess liquid funds.

      We appreciated the suggestion from a user that we build in 3X leveraged index funds, which we thought was a great idea! And while we were at it, we decided that adding bond funds might also be an interesting addition to the sim.

      As in the real world, the two index funds tend to be very poor long-term investments, because of their constant buying and selling of index futures contracts, but are explosive vehicles for short-term trading. The long, or "bullish" ETF attempts to track the movements of the Global Stock Index, times 3. The other, "bearish," index fund is designed to try to approximate 3 times the movement of a short position in the Global Stock Index. Each index fund initiates futures positions no further out than 8 months and seeks to maintain total futures positions that are roughly 3 times the net asset value of the ETF. The bullish fund can quickly be wiped out by either a "Black Swan" market crash event, or, in the case of the bearish fund, a massive "melt-up" in the stock market.

      The best thing we can say about these two 3x leveraged index funds is: "Buyer beware! And hang on to your hat for a wild ride!"

      These 5 new funds do computerized trading according to complex algorithms only. Thus, a player who controls the insurer or securities broker that is the investment advisor to one of these 5 new ETFs will not be able to make any investment decisions for the index funds and only limited decisions for the bond funds, which will attempt to remain almost fully invested in bonds at all times. However, you can still make certain limited financial decisions, such as possibly doing new stock or bond issuances, or calling in existing bond issues. The corporate bond funds will quickly sell off any bonds that no longer meet their investment criteria, such as D-rated bonds or bonds that are much higher- or lower-rated than the credit category of bonds the fund is limited to holding.

      Because your management functions for these new funds will be very limited, your company that is the advisor to such a fund will not be eligible to earn hedge fund-like performance bonuses, or management fees in excess of the 0.2% of assets minimum, unlike what they may earn for superior performance of the 15 (older) equity ETFs. The new ETFs are pretty much on "cruise control," with algorithms doing the trading so that they maintain their character.

    • A new "pandemic" crisis scenario has been added in this release. It will only occur very rarely, but, as in the current real world COVID-19 pandemic, when it does, the effects will be devastating (unless you happen to own gold or shares in the new triple-leveraged inverse index fund ETF, described above)! Like the "Peak Oil" and "Subprime" crises that can some times occur in the simulation, the new Pandemic crisis scenario can drag on for years, crushing stock prices and causing numerous bond defaults and bankruptcies, a time of much fear & loathing for bulls -- or great fun, if you are a bear (short seller).

    • Prices of put or call options on the stock of the two 3X leveraged index funds have been significantly increased in the options pricing algorithm, recognizing the extreme volatility of those two ETFs. Conversely, prices for options on bond ETFs, which ordinarily experience very low volatility, have been reduced in the pricing algorithm.

    • Restrictions have been imposed on the debt leverage that an ETF may take on. An ETF in W$R must now maintain a net asset value that is at least 3 times the amount of its debts (bank loan and/or bonds issued). If its net asset value falls below that requirement it will be required to pay down bank loans, possibly forcing a sale of some of its investments. This means that an ETF's line of credit will be smaller than a corporation with the same credit rating, and that when an ETF issues bonds, the amount will be limited by the foregoing "300% Rule," which is based on a U.S. law (the Investment Company Act of 1940) that similarly regulates investment companies, such as ETFs.

    • Another change has been made to make ETFs more realistic. Capital gains dividends are now only paid at the end of the year, rather than quarterly, as is true of real-world investment funds. Previously, an ETF might distribute large capital gains in the first quarter or two, but then have capital losses in the following quarters, perhaps with little or no net gains for the year, but its assets will have shrunken due to the quarterly capital gain distribution. This change allows for a netting out of gains and losses during the year, which will help to prevent or slow the steady shrinkage of ETFs' assets over the course of a game.

    • At another user's suggestion, a new item has been added to the Database Search function, which allows you to narrow your search to a single industry. For example, you might do a search of all banks rated as a "STRONG BUY" by analysts and which have an increase of 10% or more in projected quarterly earnings for the next quarterly earnings report.

      Another improvement to the DataBase Search routine, for bond searches, now sorts the display of the bonds that meet your search criteria by the maturity date of the bonds. This will make it easier, for example, to find bonds that mature very soon, which can be a good place to park excess cash at a reasonable interest rate. However, if you check the "Credit Rating" button to only display bonds with a specified minimum credit rating, then the bonds will be sorted by credit rating, as in prior versions of the game.

    • Loan amortization has been added for "mass loans" made by banks and insurance companies -- the quarterly principal payments of cash to the bank or insurer are equal to 5% of consumer loans, 2% of prime mortgage loans, and 1% of subprime mortgage securities owned by the institution, but flow in monthly at 1/3 of the quarterly total amounts. Of course, banks that have the asset allocation formula turned on will soon reinvest the cash according to that formula.

      The varying amortization rates for corporate or ETF loans, which depend on multiple factors such as creditworthiness and cash balances of the borrower, have not changed. As before, "margin loans" to players are not amortized, and repayment is only required when the player receives a margin call because of insufficient collateral, due to a drop in the player's net worth.

    • Bank financing (lines of credit) lending rules have been liberalized considerably. Companies may now borrow amounts ranging from 1.5 to 3 times net worth, depending on the Difficulty Level at which you are playing and certain economic conditions. Thus, in the spirit of the times, Wall Street Raider companies will be more leveraged in the new version, especially if you play at the higher difficulty levels 3 or 4.

    • A number of improvements have been made in the anti-trust litigation features. The main change is that the amount of legal fees incurred by both the plaintiff and defendant are now sharply reduced, by roughly half, if a case settles after pre-trial discovery has concluded, instead of going to trial. (Sort of an inducement to stay out of costly court trials.) Also, when a company you control is being sued and you are asked to accept or reject the settlement offer, you are now shown the amount your company has already incurred as legal fees, and the estimated total fees it will incur if you choose to go to trial, and similar information is shown when your company is the one suing, and you are asked to enter the amount you would be willing to settle the case for, on the courthouse steps.

    • Since Internet Explorer is getting long in the tooth, and Microsoft says they won't be supporting it much longer, we have modified portions of the W$R software that previously used Internet Explorer to access the Internet or to view certain files, such as the W$R Strategy Manual. Thus, now the program will use whatever browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, etc.) that you have chosen as the default browser that you use on your computer.

    • When we are planning to buy a stock for Alpha Corp, which we control, we will often select 2 or more companies we do not control as Active Entity, researching each of them, such as DEF Co. and XYZ Company. Then, once we decide to buy some stock of DEF Co., we may want to take another look at Alpha's financial profile before doing the transaction. Until now, this usually meant entering Alpha's stock symbol before we take one last look at its financials and buy the DEF stock. We've often found that to be slow and a bit time-consuming, especially if we have forgotten Alpha's stock symbol.

      In this release, we have replaced the "Line of Credit" item on the main screen (in the "Active Entity Selected" box) with an "Acting Now" item, which will show Alpha's stock symbol or name as the controlled entity that is doing the transaction if, for instance, we click on the "BUY STOCK" button. Now we can simply click on that item and -- presto! -- Alpha is now the Active Entity and we can take a quick look at its statistics, without having to remember or look up its stock symbol and enter it again. Just a small labor-saving tweak we felt most users will like, since the line of credit information is available in various other places, like the "Credit Info" button or in a company's Financial Profile.

    • We have made a number of refinements to the "taxable liquidation" feature. The main change was to close a loophole that could allow a player to weasel out of the ugly situation where his or her company is subject to ongoing asbestos or "SuperFund" environmental clean-up lawsuits or costs, by quickly doing a taxable liquidation before the company's assets are too severely depleted.

      Now the liquidating company will have to set aside 5% of its total assets or a minimum of U.S. $200 million for asbestos claims or $100 million for environmental clean-up costs) before it can liquidate. (No set-aside is required in a TAX-FREE liquidation, since the parent company takes on the liquidated subsidiary's liabilities, including its liability for the asbestos or environmental damages.)

    • When you start to purchase stock in an ETF, you are given a warning that if you and/or your companies acquire more than 15% of the ETF, it will be disqualified and lose its tax-exempt status as an investment company. In this version, the warning will also tell you what percent of the ETF that you and the companies you control already own, so you don't accidentally buy too much of the stock and cause the fund to be disqualified.

    • We fixed a minor bug which could occur in games involving multiple human players. When there is only one human player, the stock ticker, if running, will continue to run even after your turn ends, if W$R becomes the background program, such as when you open another program, like your browser, and W$R is no longer visible on your computer screen. That is what we intended. However, that was still occurring when there were 2 or more human players, which meant the ticker could keep running after your turn ended, when it should have stopped and waited for the next (human) player to begin his or her turn, which it now does since we have fixed the problem. Thus, now, if there are 2 or more human players and you cover the W$R screen with another application while the ticker is running, it will only run, at most, until your turn has ended, at the end or midpoint of a calendar quarter.

    • Version 9.0 is file-compatible with saved games from Versions 6.0 or higher. Although the 5 new bond and index fund ETFs were not created in a game you may have started and saved with v. 8.72 or earlier versions, the 5 new ETFs will automatically be created and inserted into a game you saved with a prior version, when you load the old saved game file.

  • 8.72 -- Released March 15, 2020 (Minor upgrade from 8.70/8.71 and bug fix)

    • Improved the bank loan purchases feature, used when your bank is buying business loans from other banks. Previously, if you were doing several such purchases, your bank had to use only its existing cash balances to make the loan purchases. Now, it can continue buying if it has T-bills and receives deposits of cash from its new loan customers, as soon as it becomes their banker.

    • We have noticed in Versions 8.70 and 8.71 that a bank occasionally will go bankrupt at a time when all banks should be thriving, for no apparent reason, or that sometimes a bank we owned and were watching closely would sudden have more (or less) cash than it should, for no good reason. It only happened on rare occasions but we suspected it was an obscure bug in the banking segments of our code, but we were not sure if was actually a bug, since we knew it could have been one of those random nasty events like "rogue employee embezzles $10 billion from XYZ Bank."

      However, a user of 8.71 reported that a bank he owned and was closely watching sudden got a large unexpected infusion of cash, with no effect on earnings, which gave us a clue of what to look for in the 115,000 lines of WSR code, most of which is convoluted logic, not GUI.

      Finally, after over a month of testing and doing diagnostics, we were at last able to generate the glitch a few times and noticed what appeared to be a pattern -- the dates in a calendar quarter when the loans to a non-existing bank would sometimes randomly occur. We followed a long trail of bread crumbs, and finally found the error -- in a part of the code that deals with antitrust lawsuits, rather than banks, in those rare cases where a plaintiff with little or no cash or line of credit gets a quick emergency bank loan to pursue a lawsuit, in exchange for allowing the bank to earn an additional loan fee equal to 10% of the amount borrowed, if the plaintiff wins, when it is a "slam-dunk" case. So, in short (Hallelujah!), we have FINALLY found this rare and elusive bug and fixed it, after a month of burning the midnight oil, though it is one bug you may never have noticed since you downloaded 8.70 or 8.71.

      Version 8.72 is a free upgrade for anyone who bought Version 8.70 or 8.71. Contact us at the email link at the bottom of this page for a download link for v. 8.72.

    • Version 8.72 is file-compatible with saved games from Versions 6.0 or higher.

  • 8.71 -- Released January 12, 2020 (Minor upgrade and bug fix)

    • Fixed minor text error -- Incorrect text was displayed when attempting to sell stock of a company that is not publicly traded, erroneously stating that the seller owned 100% of the stock, even if he/she/it did not, although play was not affected. In short, good code, bad text message.

      Version 8.71 is a free upgrade for anyone who bought Version 8.70. Contact us at the email link at the bottom of this page for a download link for v. 8.71.

    • We made it less automatic, when you list a stock as "For Sale," to find a buyer, when the value of the company being offered (using the "Offer to Sell Stock" button on the MISC Menu) is too high, though sales of stock in small companies are not affected, other than the fact that it may now take a while longer before a buyer comes along and takes the offer. In previous versions, such stock offers were usually snapped up almost instantly, if there were any buyers that were sufficiently liquid. We simply made this feature more realistic; the greater the cost of a block of stock that is offered, the less likely a buyer can be found.

    • When you conrol insurers or securities brokers that manage one or more ETFs, the quarterly reports for those ETFs will pop up, like companies you control, unless you have turned on the "Suppress Earnings Reports" setting. Also, when you click on the "FILL" button on the main screen, to fill the Streaming Stock Quotes list with stocks you own, have short positions in, or that you control, or stocks on which you have other equity positions in (options or convertible bonds), this version will also add to the list any ETFs that are managed by companies that you control (if there is room on the list).

    • Version 8.71 is file-compatible with saved games from Versions 6.0 or higher.

  • 8.70 -- Released January 1, 2020 (Major upgrade)

    • In response to user suggestions, we have made some major revisions regarding the 15 Exchange-Traded Funds ("ETFs") in the Wall Street Raider simulation. Users have been asking for a way to manage the investments of ETFs and, somewhat like hedge funds, the opportunity to earn large performance bonuses for superior results. As long-time players of W$R are aware, it has always been a rule that you need to buy 20% or more of a company's stock in order to control it, and if you bought over 15% of an ETF, it would no longer qualify as a tax-exempt investment company. While each ETF was nominally "managed" by an investment advisor (an insurance company or securities broker), all that meant was that the "advisor" received quarterly management fees, as a percentage (0.2% to 1.0% annual rate) of total assets of the ETF, but didn't actually direct the ETF's investment activities, which are all managed by the software.

      Accordingly, we have made a number of significant changes to enable players to actually manage most of an ETF's financial affairs, if the player controls the company that is the investment advisor/manager of the ETF. The changes include the following:

      • On the Buy/Sell, Financing, and Misc Menus, if an ETF managed by a company that the player controls is selected as the Active Entity (or was the most recently selected previous Active Entity), the ETF can engage in several actions on each of those menus: buying and selling stocks and options, doing public stock offerings (only once a year, in December, and only if the ETF's shares are up 15% or more for that year), bond issuances, calling or buying back bonds, and borrowing or making repayments of bank loans. Note that issuance of new stock will bring more net assets under the advisor's management (resulting in higher advisory fees).

      • As before, the company that is the advisor to an ETF will receive a "base fee" paid quarterly, based on the ETF's total assets, at an annual rate of 0.2% to 1% of total assets. However, if the base fee is set at the minimum 0.2% rate, the advisor MAY also earn a performance bonus for each 2-year measurement period, if the ETF's net worth (as adjusted for capital gains dividends) has grown by more than 20%.

        In general, this "gain-sharing" performance bonus will be similar to what hedge funds usually take: In this case, 20% of any gain in excess of 20%. Thus, if net worth per share increased by 50%, the excess would be 30%, and the advisor's bonus would be 20% of that, or 6% of the beginning net assets, which can be a very large number, giving a HUGE boost to the earnings of the insurance company or securities broker that is the advisor.

      • To facilitate players' ability to have a controlled company become the advisor to an ETF, the Management Menu now will contain a "Become ETF Advisor" menu item for an insurance company or securities broker that you control. If you click on it, your company will be able to buy the contractual rights to manage an ETF you choose, by paying the existing advisor an amount equal to 10 times the annual base management fee then in effect. (This button only appears if your company does not already manage any ETFs.)

      • Once your company becomes an ETF's investment manager, you can begin trading stocks and options for the ETF, and possibly raising more funds by issuing more ETF stock or a bond issue. You may also want to lower the annual fee to 0.2%, to become eligible for possible performance bonuses, as noted above, or you may just want to raise the annual fee, although that is now only allowed if the ETF stock has outperformed the Global Stock Index by at least 2% in the last 12 months. To be eligible for a performance bonus fee, the base rate must be set at 0.2% for the entire 2-year measurement period. (For some ETFs, the measurement period ends on December 31 of an odd-numbered year; for others it ends on the 31st of December in an even-numbered year.)

      • If you are managing an ETF, you can also have it buy back bonds it has issued or pay an extraordinary dividend of up to 30% of the total of its cash and T-bills, as long as it does not owe any bank debt or bond indebtedness. However, you probably will not want to have it pay any extraordinary dividends, since that would reduce the amount of assets upon which the advisory fees are paid.

      • As in prior versions of W$R, there are limits on how much an ETF can invest in one stock -- which is 10% of the company, and it can only have one put option contract (on up to 10% of a stock), and one call option contract on a given stock at any one time. Each ETF can only invest in stocks or options of companies in a certain sector, such as energy or health care. In addition, as in prior versions, if a particular stock becomes too large a part of an ETF's portfolio, it may be forced to sell part of that stock holding, so you can't put all of an ETF's eggs in one basket!

        Also, only one ETF is allowed to speculate in commodities, and you don't manage that activity -- the commodity trades are deemed to be done by a commodities broker and all such trading will cease once your company becomes the active advisor to that ETF. The same applies to the one ETF that is randomly chosen each game to occasionally engage in interest rate swaps. So you won't be able to take extreme gambles with the assets of an ETF you manage.

      • If you grow weary of actively managing an ETF, you can just put the company that is advisor to the ETF on "AutoPilot," and the software will take over management of the ETF at that point, as it does for other ETFs that players do not have the right to manage. If you are actively managing one or more ETFs, you will periodically get a pop-up reminder, if you have not done any transactions on behalf of an ETF in the past calendar year.

      • In prior versions, the prior stock price history of an ETF was adjusted downward each time the ETF paid a capital gains dividend or an "extraordinary dividend" (a non-taxable return of capital), so that such distributions would not reduce the ETF's total return to shareholders, on which certain incentive fees to the manager were based. Starting with this version, we have decided to also reduce the previous stock price history records by "regular" (taxable) dividends, in order to give a true picture of the ETF's total return on investment for shareholders, which should and now does include share appreciation PLUS all cash distributions.

    • A new setting has been added as an item on the Game Options Menu: "Max Growth Rate (Global) Throttle." This works like a throttle, to set a speed limit, such as 15% (or even a negative percentage), on the rate of growth of all the industrial companies you control that are operating on "AutoPilot." This feature will mainly be useful when you have a large number of controlled companies on AutoPilot and do not want them to grow their business assets at more than an annual percentage rate you specify, from -10% to 60%.

      The default rate, unless you change it, is 60%, but having the "throttle" set at a high growth rate like 50% or 60% does not mean that your companies will all begin trying to grow their business assets at that rate. It simply sets a maximum rate of growth, one that the AutoPilot function will not allow your companies to exceed. Within that limit, AutoPilot will function as it did before, having some companies grow assets faster or slower, or have some actually reduce their business assets, by as much as 10% a year. But none will exceed the "speed limit" growth rate you set by changing the "throttle" number setting.

      The throttle feature will be particularly handy at times when there is a sudden change in the economy, such as a depression, when you have a large number of controlled companies on AutoPilot, at which time you could simply change the throttle setting to a minus rate, like -10%, to quickly have all your companies start DISinvesting in assets that are likely to become unprofitable. In the past, you had to change the growth rate for all your companies, one at a time, using the SET GROWTH RATE button on the Management Menu, and the AutoPilot function could in many cases quickly reverse your changes, unless you turned off AutoPilot for each such company.

      Keeping your companies from trying to grow too fast has other benefits, such as preventing them from getting too large a market share, which would make them targets for antitrust lawsuits; or preventing them from creating oversupply vs. demand in their industry; or from pouring too much money into assets that are earning a low (or negative) rate of return, which could hurt the company's earnings and/or its credit rating.

      Note that the limit on growth rate set by use of the "throttle" setting does not apply to companies that you actively manage (i.e., those that are not on AutoPilot) and does not apply to financial companies -- banks, insurance companies or to holding/trading companies.

    • In prior versions, the "Buy" or "Strong Buy," and "Sell" or "Strong Sell" recommendation buttons at the bottom of Research Reports could be clicked on to immediately buy or sell the stock in question. However, those buttons were not always very helpful, in certain situations. We have made some major modifications to those functions, to very quickly identify entities you control that might be sellers of that stock if you click on the "Sell" button on the research report for that stock.

      Also, in prior versions of W$R, when a company you controlled was the Active Entity and you clicked on such a "Buy" button to buy that stock, you would get an error message that the company cannot buy itself or sell its own stock short. (An LBO or Greenmail buyback is required, for a company in W$R to buy its own stock, and a stock offering is required for a company to sell its stock.) Now, if you click on the "Buy" button on a Research Report on the current Active Entity, the software will suggest an entity you control (or you, personally) as the buyer.

    • Players who have gotten in a weakened financial condition have probably encountered the aggressive action whereby one of the computer players does a hostile merger, merging a company with massive, ongoing asbestos litigation liability or "Superfund" environmental cleanup costs with a company of yours, doing major damage to your financial empire. We think it is a neat feature, but not when it occurs repetively in one game, so we have made changes to prevent such multiple occurrences of this nasty tactic over a short period of time, like 5 years.

    • A new "ethical scenario" has been added, for firms in the security industry, involving the sale of its clients' passcodes and and other security secrets to criminals.

    • Version 8.70 is file-compatible with saved games from Versions 6.0 or higher. As in all upgrades, the "Help" files and optional Strategy Manual have been fully updated to reflect all significant changes in the simulation.

  • 8.57 -- Released May 1, 2019 (Minor upgrade)

    • A new item has been added to the Settings pull-down menu. It allows you to clear the stock price history of the currently selected Active Entity. You may have noticed that if, for example, you add $10,000,000 M. as a capital contribution to a small company that previous had only $50 million of assets, that will greatly increase its stock price, and the prior stock history on the stock chart for the previous 5 years will look like an almost flat line, which isn't particularly useful, going forward. This new menu item lets you zero out the previous stock history, and start a new stock history, to make the information the company's stock chart provides much more useful.

      If you, as Player, are the current Active Entity, this feature will zero out your prior net worth history that appears on the chart of your net worth changes.

    • Version 8.57 is file-compatible with saved games from Versions 6.0 or higher. It is a free upgrade, on request, for anyone who bought Versions 8.50 or 8.55 (which had serious bugs) or Version 8.56.

  • 8.56 -- Released April 1, 2019 (Minor upgrade and bug-fix from 8.55)

    • This is a free upgrade for anyone who has registered Versions 8.50 or 8.55, as we fixed bugs that several users reported in those two versions.

      If you are a registered owner of Versions 8.50 or 8.55, email the author (link at bottom of page) for a FREE download link for Version 8.56.

    • Some crafty players have found a way to (temporarily) get around the W$R restriction on circular chains of stock ownership, and by inflating the value of one of the companies' shares, caused the stock prices of all the companies in the circle to shoot upwards to near- infinite prices, before W$R stepped in and broke up the circle, by forcing a divestment. Version 8.56 does much more frequent searches for such circular stock ownership, to nip such schemes in the bud, and is now more sophisticated in stopping attempts to create such circles, before the "virtuous circle" of rising stock prices in the companies can get started. Even cross-ownership of more than 10% of parent by its sub, for example, will now be blocked or quickly undone by a forced divestment.

    • In the "My Corporations" listing of all the companies you control, we have added another column of useful information, showing the percent of revenues each such company is spending or R&D or marketing. This will be very handy if one of your companies is spending a lot on R&D or marketing, resulting in losses, and is also expanding rapidly, which would widen such losses. Now you can notice any such unprofitable or unwise combination of settings for any of your companies at a quick glance.

    • The bond portfolio listings of corporate convertible bonds owned by players or corporations now indicate, with the abbreviation "cv." before the coupon rate, that the bonds are convertibles. As such, you can now tell at a glance which bonds in a bond portfolio have equity features.

    • An accounting change was made in this version, for companies that own less than 20% of the stock of another company. Previously, if the two companies were under common control, and XCorp owned 12% of YCorp, XCorp would include 12% of YCorp's reported earnings in XCorp's earnings, using the "equity method" of accounting for income from a subsidiary, and the dividends received from YCorp were not included in reported income. We decided to change that method, so that now XCorp must own at least 20% of YCorp to include a percentage of YCorp's earnings in XCorp's earnings (regardless of whether the two companies are under control of the same entity).

  • 8.55 -- Released: February 5, 2019 (Relatively minor upgrade from 8.50)

    • We have refined the Database Search feature added in 8.50, which allows you to exclude all but industrial companies from searches, by excluding financial companies -- banks, insurers, holding companies, and ETFs. That feature also excludes companies you already control.

      Since some industrial companies have only a small amount of operating assets ("business assets"), in relation to their other assets, such as stocks, options, cash, and T-bills, they are much like holding companies, since their operating assets may have only a minor effect on their total earnings. Thus, we have tweaked the feature that lets you choose to exclude financial companies and companies you control to also exclude from search results any industrial company whose "business assets" are less than 20% of its total assets.

    • Some players have suggested that they should be able to turn off the bank automatic allocation of assets for any bank you control. A good idea, so we have added an "OFF" button on the Asset Allocation menu screen in this release.

    • After releasing 8.50, we had second thoughts on the choice we made to have companies that you actively manage not automatically buy or sell T-bills. Other companies, not controlled by players or controlled but on AutoPilot setting, automatically buy T-bills if the percentage of their total Cash + T-bills consists of less than 60% T-bills, or sell some T-bills if htat percentage is over 80%. That left all decisions on how much of companies' cash to invest in T-bills strictly up to the player for actively managed companies.

      We have made a minor change, so that now an actively managed company that has cash will automatically buy some T-bills if its percentage of T-bills falls below 60% -- but it will NOT automatically sell any T-bills, except to cover any cash deficit that arises. Thus, for an actively managed company, you can put all of its cash into T-bills, and the T-bills will not be sold unless necessary. (However, cash that comes in, such as from earnings, dividends or other sources, will gradually build up until it is more than 40% of the total of Cash + T-bills, at which point an automatic purchase of T-bills, up to about 80-90%, will occur.)

    • A major accounting change has been made for the way bond holdings are valued, for banks and insurance companies. Previously, bonds that those entities held were valued (in computing net worth) at their current market value, which resulted in wide swings in net worth when interest rates went to extremely high or low levels, sometimes resulting in negative net worth for banks or insurers, even though they generally would hold most of the bonds until they matured at face value. At a minimum, such fluctuations in bond values based on interest rates caused regular changes in the entities' credit ratings and violent swings in their stock prices, due to the changes in net worth. This was particularly true for banks, with their enormous leverage.

      Under the revised system, bonds held by banks or insurance companies are now valued at their cost, plus or minus any discount or premium amortization that has occurred since purchase, which means they are valued at their "tax basis." The only exception is for D-rated bonds, which are still valued at the LOWER of their market value or their adjusted cost (i.e., tax basis).

    • In another modest accounting change, government and corporate bonds are no longer traded "flat" (without accrued interest). Now, when bonds are bought, you must also pay for the accrued interest through the date of purchase and the seller receives that payment. However, D-rated bonds (which are in default on interest payments) are still traded "flat" (with no accrued interest paid by the buyer or received by the seller).

    • A minor change was made to bond interest payments on D-rated junk bonds. In most cases, no cash interest will be paid on such bonds -- interest is just added to the principal owed. However, in some rare cases, where the bond issuer is not a bank or insurance company, owes no bank loans, and has enough cash and T-bills for the quarterly bond interest payment, it may pay the interest in cash, if its financial situation is not too dire.

    • The Spin-Off function, which was a bit opaque, has been greatly refined to give players more information about the tax effects of a proposed spin-off in a number of different situations, in which the tax treatment varies for different types of entities and depending on corporate ownership percentages of the company doing the spin-off. The rules still parallel the U.S. tax laws on spin-offs, but the tax results, when a spin-off is not entirely tax-free, are now more transparent to the player, enabling you to make much more educated decisions on whether to execute a spin-off transaction.

  • 8.50 -- Released: January 1, 2019 (Major Upgrade)

    • Banks have become potentially more profitable in Wall Street Raider -- see below, regarding player and company bank deposits, which are now non-interest- bearing demand deposits, rather than interest-bearing time deposits (CDs). On the other hand, regulation of banks has gotten somewhat stiffer, at least for banks with too high a loan-to-deposit ratio. (Google the term "loan to deposit ratio" if you want a bit of background on how that figures into real-world bank regulation.) If a bank's loan portfolio in relation to deposits and its reserves-to-deposits ratio become too risky, the regulators may temporarily stop a bank from lending or buying loans, and perhaps put a freeze on lines of credit to most corprate borrowers, as well.

      When a bank is deemed to be over-extended and too aggressive in making loans and equity investments, the "regulators" will limit the bank's new investments to government securities only, until its finances are back on a sounder footing.

    • As some players of W$R have suggested, in this new version we have built in the ability to set asset allocation percentages for banks, to help you better manage a bank you control, even if it is on AutoPilot, via a new menu item on the Management Menu. It lets you set allocation percentages of the bank's assets (for all assets EXCEPT stocks, options, and business loans), for any bank you control. You can set the percentages to allocate, if any, to 5 asset classes:

      • Prime mortgages;
      • Subprime mortgages;
      • Consumer loans;
      • Bonds (the total "carrying" (book) value of government and corporate bonds, rather than current market value); and
      • Cash equivalents (cash, which earns no interest, like currency in the vault, and short-term Treasury bills, which earn a usually low rate of interest).

    • This version also allows players to set the growth rate for "public" bank deposits, between -5% and 10%. While rapid growth in deposits may seem best, it is a mixed blessing, unless the growth in reserves keeps up, otherwise the bank's credit rating will decline, meaning it will have to pay higher interest on CDs, and if the additional funds from new deposits are invested in loans, that will require more addtions to the bad debt reserve, hurting earnings -- not to mention increasing the overhead costs of serving more deposit customers.

    • A new class of investment assets has been added, and one has been changed. In this version, players and companies can now invest in short-term Treasury bills ("T-bills") that are highly liquid, like cash, and do not fluctuate in value. The rate earned on T-bills fluctuates with overall interest rates, and is generally somewhat lower than the interest rate on short-term government bonds, but they are an extremely safe investment. (Safer than bank deposits, since banks can and do fail in W$R.)

      In all previous versions of W$R, all liquid assets of players and companies (except banks) were deemed to be held as bank Certificates of Deposit ("CDs"), on which the bank paid you or your companies interest on their "cash" balances. Since in the real world, corporations generally need to maintain significant cash balances and do not put all their liquid assets in time deposits (CDs), we chose to make the simulation more realistic. Now, companies' liquid assets are generally divided (unless you actively manage the company) between "cash" (non-interest-bearing bank demand deposits) and T-bills, about 30% cash and 70% T-bills.

      Banks still receive interest-bearing CD deposits, but only from "the Public," along with some demand deposits from the Public. All deposits ("cash") of players and corporations that do business with a particular bank are now non-interest-bearing demand deposits (which will tend to increase banks' profitability, if they have significant deposits from players or companies). As in prior versions, cash assets of a bank will not earn interest, but banks will now invest most of their liquid, cash-equivalent assets in T-bills, like other corporations.

    • A new item has been added to the "MISC" Menu, to allow a player or any company a player controls to buy or sell T-bills, which is mainly useful for a controlled company that is not on "AutoPilot," and thus is actively managed by the player.

    • The automatic "sweep" setting, when it is turned on by a player, will still sweep any "cash" almost immediately and automatically to pay down the player's margin loan indebtedness. However, in this version, if a player owes no bank debt, the "sweep" setting will instead "sweep" all cash the player receives into T-bills, so that the player will be earning interest on the T-bills.

    • Options margin requirements, in W$R, which come into play when players or companies sell "naked" options, have been made much more sophisticated and realistic, similar to real-world options margin rules. ("Naked options" are created when you sell calls short without owning the underlying stock or you sell puts short when they are not covered by a short position in the underlying stock.)

      In prior versions of W$R, when computing the short options liability of a player or company, against which net worth must exceed a certain percentage, to avoid margin calls or to allow for short sales of more options, the program simply computed that liability as the total of all the shorted put and calls of that particular entity. As revised, and as in the real world of options margin rules, if you are short $100 million of calls on XYZ and $500 million of puts on the same stock, the margin requirements aren't determined by adding up the margin requirements on the puts and the calls. Instead, only the larger amount, the $500 million of puts, is taken into account. Thus, if you wanted to short more calls, you could short $400 million more calls without increasing your initial or maintenance margin requirements, since the higher amount would still just be $500 million. (Real world options margin rules are much more complex than that, but the general principle is the same, where there are short positions on both puts and calls on the same stock.)

      In this version, the program calculates the total call liability and the total put liability on each stock the entity has shorted options on. Only the higher of the call liability or the put liability is taken into account for each stock, and higher amount for each stock is added up to arrive at the total options liability, if the entity has naked options on more than one stock.

      But before that calculation, the put or call liability for each stock is first reduced by taking into account any stock that the entity owns or is short -- that is, no liability is applicable to covered calls or covered puts. Only after that adjustment for any covered options is made does the software then add up the higher of the put or call liability (adjusted in either case) for each stock when totaling up the entity's "naked" options exposure (for margin purposes only -- not for computing net worth, which still takes into account the liability for ALL short options).

      "Why do we mention these complex options margin details?" you may be wondering....

      As a result of these margin calculation changes, it's now possible to do large-scale "strangles," when an entity sells short large dollar amounts of out-of-the-money puts and out-of-the-money calls on a given stock, betting that the stock will trade in a fairly narrow range until the puts or calls or both have decreased in value, or become totally worthless by the expiration dates, an interesting but high-risk options trading strategy used by real-world traders who have nerves of steel.

    • New "ethical scenarios" have been added, including one for European auto makers you control, where the company is about ready to release self-driving trucks but discovers there is ... um... a slight problem with the navigation software, which tends not to always recognize pedestrians.

      Another new ethical choice scenario has been added for insurance companies, involving a strategy of denying health insurance claims to reduce costs, a rather cruel and heartless way to get richer....

    • The ability to manipulate earnings for banks, by adding to the quarter's bad debt loss provision has been made much more robust. Instead of only being able to add an amount to your bank's bad debt reserve (to temporarily reduce earnings) equal to 5% of projected profits or 10% of the projected quarterly loss, you may now add an amount equal to 1% of the bank's loan portfolio of business loans, mortgage loans, and consumer loans. Since the usual size of the bad debt reserve is usually only 1 to 3% of the loan portfolio, this can be a significant amount -- a one-time big hit to earnings that will hurt initially, but will enhance reported earnings in subsequent quarters. It's a nice tool to have when you know the current earnings are going to be negative anyway, so you might as well book a larger loss, and be able to show better earnings in the future as the excess reserve is drawn down, or does not need to be increased.

    • On the DataBase Search screen, a new item has been added, which, if selected, will exclude from the search results any company that is a bank, insurance company, or holding company, or any company you already control. In short, only those industrial companies that meet your other search criteria, and which are not controlled by you, will be shown in the search results if you have checked the box for that item.

      In previous versions, factors like "Industry Supply/Demand Improving" did not apply to financial companies, so they were not excluded, in which case searches often turned up nothing but banks, insurers, or holding companies -- as well as companies you already controlled.

    • In previous editions, late in a game in which you or other players controlled long chains of companies and control of a company near the top of such a chain changed hands, it could be very annoying to watch 50 or 100 timed messages pop up, announcing the change of control of each company in the chain. This would occur even if the "Suppress Popups" setting was turned on. In this version, such change of control messages will no longer be shown if you have turned the "Suppress Popups" setting to "ON." (Which is usually a good idea if you control a large number of companies.)

    • The transaction costs (the "bid/ask spread" and commissions) may have been unrealistically high in prior versions of W$R, since in the real world, large corporate trades of corporate bonds generally are made with relatively low transaction costs. Accordingly, in this W$R release, spreads have been reduced and the former 1% commission on corporate bonds is reduced to 0.2%, which will make it less costly to invest in or trade bonds. Note that commissions are not charged on either sales or purchases of T-bills, which are assumed to be bought directly from the government. (T-bills don't pay cash interest, but are sold at a small discount from face value, and steadily appreciate to their face value at maturity.)

    • When lists of companies are displayed, an "_H" appears for a company that is on the list, to signify that it is controlled by a hostile player. That marker now includes a number behind it, from 1 to 5, indicating the Player Number (as shown in the Who's Ahead? listing) of the hostile player. For example, if the company is controlled by Player #3, "_H3" would be shown. This will help you to quickly ascertain that a particular opposing player controls one or more companies in an industry, when viewing an Industry Summary or Industry Projection listing.

  • 8.12 -- Released: July 1, 2018 (Minor Upgrade)

    • Revised the Freeze/Unfreeze function for banks. It now allows (as before) freezing or unfreezing loans to individual companies or players, but now also includes the ability to freeze/unfreeze loans to companies you control, if you wish to control their borrowing from your bank. In addition, a "universal freeze" option now allows your bank to freeze all loans except loans to you or companies you control, or to unfreeze ALL loans that are currently frozen by your bank.
    • A minor bug was fixed, which had prevented one of the insurance companies (AIG in the registered version) from being able to trade subprime loans, due to a typo in the source code.
    • This release is file-compatible with files saved by earlier Versions 6.0 through 8.04. (NOTE: When loading a file saved by versions prior to 8.0, v. 8.12 will change the number of commodity contracts in each open position, to reflect the change in the number of ounces, bushels, etc., covered by each contract in the new version, so you won't unfairly incur a loss or receive an undeserved profit on existing commodity or futures positions saved in the old game file, using the old contract sizes.)

  • 8.11 -- Released: April 21, 2018 (Minor Upgrade)

    • Improved the "Change Managers" features to make it possible to handle a large number of management changes. Also, a pop-up now announces the eventual result of the management change, even if "Supress Popups" is turned on. In prior versions, players sometimes did not see the headline announcement, if popup suppression had been elected.

  • 8.10 -- Released: March 15, 2018 (Minor Upgrade)

    • Version 8.0 (see below) was probably our last major upgrade, mainly because, with convertible bonds added in 8.0, we have finally completed the addition to W$R of all major asset classes for investment, other than real estate, for which there are other games/simulations far better than anything we might come up with in that realm. (And no, we have no plans to add Bitcoin as an asset play or Bitcoin mining as an industry group. But thanks for asking!)

      However, we have continued to tinker with the program, refining algorithms, such as for setting the fees to cancel an interest rate swap contract, and corporate bond pricing, plus adding various features to make playing game play easier and more convenient, such as the items listed below.

      A number of players didn't like the fact that we limited the "add cash" cheat to $10 billion in v. 8.0, so we increased it to $100 billion in 8.04. Some players still feel that is too low a limit, so in this release we have increased to $1 trillion the cash you can add to your account, using the "add cash" cheat. That is about 10 times the net worth of the richest person on the planet.

      In 8.0, we had ended the unlimited add cash feature, since some players were adding amounts like $100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to their accounts and then complaining to us or online of "bugs" in W$R when the game's economic model and stock index did crazy things as a result, or the program couldn't display such large numbers in the formatted listboxes. They apparently expected that adding such near-infinite amounts to the economic model wouldn't have any effect on it.

      "Garbage in, garbage out," as the saying goes, so we limited the harmful input of such insane numbers. We hope the $1 trillion limit on cheats in this edition will be a happy medium, and should be enough to let you take over several major industries very easily, but shouldn't be enough to throw a monkey wrench into the market model and finely tuned economic model we have spent many years developing and refining.

    • Currency exchange rates for the 22 non-U.S. currencies have all been updated to reflect actual rates in March, 2018. (Players can reset the exchange rate for a currency at the start of a new game, if the March, 2018 values have become out of date, compared to the current real world rates.)

    • The listing of companies with the largest industry market share now shows who, if anyone. controls each such company.

    • The listing of all the companies you control, with recent and projected quarterly earnings, now also includes a column showing the asset growth rate for all such industrial or insurance companies, so, for instance, you can see at a glance if any of your companies are expanding too fast at a time when the economy is sinking into a recession or depression.

    • The listing of all the companies you control now also includes a column that indicates whether each of your companies is on "autopilot" or not, giving you a quick overview.

    • Since the simulation's tax calculations are largely based on the U.S. tax system, we have updated a few tax features of the sim, in light of the massive recent U.S. income tax reforms. For example:

      • The corporate tax rate at the start of each game is now reduced to only 21% (although it can still fluctuate from time to time during a game and is likely to go higher).
      • The 70% dividends received tax deduction on dividends a corporation receives is reduced to 50%; and the former 80% deduction for dividends from a 20%- to 79%-owned subsidary is reduced to 65%. (The 100% deduction for dividends received from an 80%- to 100%-owned sub is unchanged.)
      • Net operating losses of a corporation no longer expire, but last until utilized or lost due to a liquidation or certain corporate reorganizations.

    • New "ethical choice" cheat scenarios have been added, regarding robotics, plus a scenario that deals with construction of a windfarm on an Indian reservation by a utility company.

    • Registered purchasers of v. 8.10 seeking an even more challenging version than the regular version 8.10 can request an alternate version 8.10 from the author, which has some slightly different rules. Under the alternate version, as in the "shareware" version, each human player's turn lasts for exactly one month, in which the player can do up to 10 transactions. If the player does 10 transactions, his or her turn does not end at that point, but lasts until the end of the month. (The "End Turn" button has been replaced by a "Chart" button to display a chart of the player's net worth.) We have already implemented this feature in the "shareware" version, to make it more challenging and realistic.

      For most players, this is not a significant rule change, except that it lets computer players play at the beginning of each month, in a typical game where you are the only human player. (Using the regular version, if you do no transactions, you can extend your turn for up to 7 1/2 game months.) However, the new rule will pose a major challenge for players who are accustomed to stopping the ticker as soon as a game starts and possibly doing hundreds of transactions, often taking over whole industries, in the first month or two of play, before the economic and market situation can change to any significant extent. Instead, you will do up to 10 transactions, then just do research or run the ticker for the rest of each month, until your next turn begins and you can do another 10 transactions. This adds much more realism, in terms of time passage, as in the real world it would be very unrealistic for one company or person to take over whole industries, do dozens of mergers, liquidations, etc., all in the space of a couple of weeks or months.

      With this version, you will be limited to doing 120 transactions over the course of a year (of game play).

      NOTE: Due to popular uprising among W$R players, this 10-plays-per month version has been discontinued, except in an "alternative," more challenging version that is only available upon request from a user. (Requests that have been few and far between.) We actually like the alternative version better, but most players seem to feel W$R is already challenging enough....

    • This release is file-compatible with files saved by earlier Versions 6.0 through 8.04. (NOTE: When loading a file saved by versions prior to 8.0, v. 8.10 will change the number of commodity contracts in each open position, to reflect the change in the number of ounces, bushels, etc., covered by each contract in the new version, so you won't unfairly incur a loss or receive an undeserved profit on existing commodity or futures positions saved in the old game file.)

  • 8.0 - 8.04 -- Released: May 1-8, 2017 (Major Upgrade)

    • In December, 2016, we added some helpful features to the "Who Owns What?" menu that is accessed from the General Research Menu. Now, when "looking under the hood" to see which entities have positions in commodity futures, physical commodities, interest rate swaps, or options, you are given the choice of viewing such positions for all entitities (as in prior versions) or viewing a list that only shows positions of yours or companies that you control. (This can be a real time saver, when you control a large number of companies and don't remember which companies have which futures, options, etc.)

    • After releasing Version 8.0, we decided to release a Version 8.01, with one significant rule change, which should make it far more challenging for some players, though it barely be noticed by most W$R players. We have tried to close a lot of the "loopholes" in 8.0 and other recent versions, but some can't be closed if we want to retain the basic nature of the simulation. Version 8.01 takes a different approach....

      The only difference in Version 8.01 from Version 8.0, to make it FAR more challenging, is that your turn now only lasts one month, even if you don't do all 5 allowable transactions; but you can't end your turn until it ends automatically at the end of the month. (Once you do all 10 transactions, you can still do research, and things on the MISC Menu, like stock splits, loan repayments, advances, etc.) (The computer players, if any, all take their turns on the first day of the next month.)

      This is designed to make it tougher for the players who unrealistically stop time passage by stopping the stock ticker (as much as possible) at the start of a game, and do several hundred repetitive transactions of one type or another, taking advantage of any "loopholes," and often turning their $1 billion into $200 billion or more in the first "month" or two of the first quarter of play in the first year. Now players will have to do five transactions, and let the ticker run to the end of the month to do another five transactions, which will be far more realistic, since no mortal human being in the real world could ever do hundreds of major transactions in a matter of weeks, taking over hundreds of companies and a dozen or more industries, make $200 billion overnight, etc.

      This is a change that won't make much difference to most players, who are simply trying to invest in and manage companies, but will also move games along a lot faster if there are two or more human players, since turns will end pretty quickly, instead of going as long as 2 1/2 calendar quarters in some cases. (BUT SEE NOTE ABOVE, IN RED, under the list of changes for v. 8.10, in which we changed back to the less challenging set of rules, due to popular demand of pitchfork-wielding W$R addicts/players....)

      The following is a summary of the major changes in Version 8.0. (If you have purchased 8.0 and want the greater challenge of playing 8.01 instead, email us at the address at the bottom of this page, and we will send you a free upgrade link for 8.01 or 8.04.)

    • Version 8.0 has added a useful new class of investments or financing: convertible corporate bonds, convertible into the stock of companies. Players, banks and insurance companies can now invest in these equity-like bonds, which offer fixed income and more safety than the underlying stock, but which will participate in any significant gains in the stock, with much less downside risk. These securities add a powerful new tool, usable in many creative ways, to your arsenal of investment and financing strategies.

      As a financing tool, players who control a company can still have the company issue "straight" (non-convertible bonds), but may now choose instead to issue convertible bonds, at significantly lower interest rates than straight bonds, due to the "equity kicker." In addition, if the stock has risen above the conversion price by the time the bonds mature, or when the bonds are called before maturity, the company will simply issue new stock in exchange for the bonds at that time, instead of having to pay off the principal amount in cash.

      Convertible bonds will now allow for new takeover strategies, such as, for instance, taking a large position in the convertible bonds issued by a company that seems to be firmly controlled by another player, which may give you enough stock to take control when the bonds mature or are called early, if they are converted to stock. (Such conversion won't occur, however, if the stock is below the bonds' conversion price when the bonds mature or are called.) Other strategies include doing half-hedges, where you buy 2x amount of a convertible bond that trades at a fairly low conversion premium (like 10%, or less, over the value of the underlying stock) and sell short 1x dollar amount of the stock, in which case you should make a profit if the stock goes up a lot, or down a lot, particularly if the bonds mature in just a few years, since the bonds shouldn't go down nearly as much as the stock, and their price often won't fall much below par, no matter how far the stock may fall.

    • Taking a user's suggestion, we have added a feature that lets you choose to be alerted when a particular stock's price rises above or falls below a level that you specify. The alert will remain in effect for a full year of game play, or until the objective is reached and you are notified by a pop-up message. A new "Stock Price Alert" item has been added to the MISC Menu. Simply click on that button and enter your specified target price for the stock that is the current "active entity," and you will receive a pop-up notification if the stock reaches the price target you set during in the next "year" of game play.

    • Currency exchange rates fluctuate rapidly, as world economic changes occur. As a result, the "default" exchange rates (relative to the U.S. dollar) we have built into Wall Street Raider can get seriously out of date in a matter of a year or two. Accordingly, in this version, if you start a new game in a non-U.S. currency, the program will display the default exchange rate (ranging from 0.64 per dollar for the British Pound to 1100 Korean Won) and ask you if you wish to change it by entering a more up-to-date currency conversion rate.

    • This release has a singular focus on creating MORE REALISM. Although previous versions imposed some size limitations on commodity futures, options, and interest rate swaps, those limits were unrealistically large. For example, if a player had enough net worth, he or she (or a company controlled by a player) could take positions in a commodity equal to many times the annual global production of that commodity, or buy or short puts or call options in an amount equal to 100% of a company's total outstanding stock, or do interest rate swaps limited only by the number of available counterparties (most of whom would be bankrupted if they were all on the wrong side of your successful swap deals).

      Based on research into global production and storage numbers for the various commodities, as published by the International Energy Agency, the United Nations, and certain trade associations, we have limited the total amount of futures on a given commodity held or shorted by all players and companies in the game to 100% of annual global production for that commodity, and set a limit on total storage by all entities in W$R to 100% of estimated global storage of the commodity (by private entities). Each player and his/her companies are limited to 10% of the annual production or 10% of global storage capacity. (Or, in the case of crude oil, because of the vast magnitude of real world physical oil production and storage and futures trading volume, those limits are set at 5% in W$R instead of 10% of the annual/global amounts.)

      In addition, we have made the size of individual futures contracts the same as the contracts actually traded on major U.S. commodity exchanges, such as 1,000 ounces of gold per contract (vs. 10,000 ounces per contract in prior W$R versions) or 100,000 bushels of wheat or corn (was 1 million bushels in prior versions).

      This version also reduces the size of the options positions of call options (long) a player and his/her companies may have, from an amount equal to 100% of the underlying stock's total shares outstanding, to 20%. The limit remains at 100% of total shares for shorted calls, long puts, and shorted put options. However, the 100% options position limit applies to ALL players and companies combined, including companies not controlled by any player, for each of the four types of options positions (long calls, short calls, long puts, and short puts).

      An absolute limit of $10 trillion (notional amount) or ten times net worth, whichever is less, now applies to any bank or other entity doing interest rate swaps. This may still seem like an unrealistically large amount of exposure, but in the real world, some megabanks like J.P. Morgan-Chase or Deutsche Bank are known to have had total derivatives positions (including swaps) of $70 trillion or more in recent years. Plus, you still have to be able to find counterparties in W$R with sufficient net worth to take the other side of large swap contracts, which is not always possible, unless you do a number of small swaps of much less than $10 trillion each.

      The above changes should make it more difficult to quickly become a quadrillionaire, adding a large dose of realism to the simulation. You may actually have to successfully trade stocks or grow companies now, in order to amass a great fortune.

    • It can be useful to know at a glance whether the supply/demand situation in a particular industry is changing for the better or worse, or is stable. Thus, we have added, in the "All-Industries" projections of growth rates and profitability, a column which indicates whether each industry's trend is in the direction of improvement or worsening profitability, or if the rates of return are stable at the current projected levels of growth in supply and demand.

    • Interest rates paid by banks, while fluctuating, were the same for all banks in prior versions. This version recognizes that having deposits in banks with lower credit ratings involves a greater risk of default, so the CD rates paid by banks now reflect the greater risk by offering a higher interest rate. Banks rated AAA, AA, or A now pay the lowest rate on CDs, BBB, BB, and B-rated banks pay a slightly higher rate. Banks rated CCC, CC, or C are in a yet higher risk category, and pay an even higher interest rate, and the highest CD interest rates are paid by D-rated banks, which could fail at any moment, causing depositors to possibly lose part or all of their deposits. (Depositor beware!)

    • We have put some limits on the "Add Cash" cheat function. A player can now only use it once a game, and the maximum cash the player can add to his/her bank account is now limited to $10 billion U.S. (or the equivalent in other currencies). You can still decrease your cash as often as you wish (if you wish to experiment with poverty and/or bankruptcy), but any decrease is now limited to the amount in your bank account, so it will not create a massive negative bank balance that could bankrupt your bank and throw the whole economic simulation out of whack.

      We put in these limits because W$R attempts to maintain a balanced, fairly realistic economic model in which all the companies and industries can function. Some players have discovered that if they suddenly added something like $100,000,000,000,000 million or so to their bank account, that it causes all kinds of problems like bankrupted banks, a stock index that goes from 5,000 to over a million in a few moments, etc. These crazy results get reported as "bugs," but only because such large amounts totally disrupt the economic model, like throwing a monkey wrench into a finely-tuned machine, just as such an addition to the real world money supply overnight would also create global financial havoc. Since we are seeking to make W$R more challenging and realistic, putting in these limits seemed like a good place to start. There are a few people on the planet worth more than $10 billion, but NO ONE makes $100,000,000,000,000 million or anything like that.

      Of course, in a recent release (v. 7.50), we added a "Cheat Menu" with new "insider information" cheats you can use, without being disqualified (but with considerable risks), so there are still ample "cheat" opportunities in W$R, if you want to live dangerously.

    • In previous versions, in some bankruptcy reorganizations, the program modified, rather than totally eliminate, option positions on the stock of the bankrupt company, adjusting the number of options and the strike price, which sometimes yielded unreasonable results. In this version, during a bankruptcy, all call options on the bankrupt's stock are canceled with total losses to the holder and 100% profit to anyone who was short the calls (zero buyback cost). Puts are settled based on a stock price of zero, resulting in a gain for holders of the puts and a loss for anyone who had shorted the puts.

    • The "Streaming Stock Quotes" feature on the main screen has been improved by modifying the way the "Fill" button works. As before, when you click on the "Fill" button, the Streaming Stock Quotes list will list all the stocks you directly own (or are short), then all companies you control (up to the limit of 15 stocks). However, if the list is not full, in this new version the stocks of companies in which you have other equity positions -- convertible bonds and/or options -- will also be listed, up to the screen's watch list limit of 15 stocks.

    • This release is file-compatible with files saved by earlier Versions 6.0 through 7.83. (NOTE: When loading a file saved by versions prior to 8.0, v. 8.x will change the number of commodity contracts in each open position, to reflect the change in the number of ounces, bushels, etc., covered by each contract, so you won't unfairly incur a loss or receive an undeserved profit on existing commodity or futures positions saved in the old game file.)

  • 7.83 -- Released: June 1, 2016

    • We didn't like the changes we made, to increase commodity price volatility in Versions 7.81 and 7.82.

      We think the commodity price volatility is now TOO extreme, and no longer seems realistic, with prices often gyrating 50% or more almost every month. We should have done more testing of those two recent releases. This is a free upgrade for registered purchasers of versions 7.80-7.82, upon request.

      Accordingly, in keeping with our goal of making W$R more challenging and to make it somewhat more difficult in W$R to win at trading commodities (it's darn near impossible to do so, except for a few insiders, in the real world of commodity trading), we have damped down the volatility of commodity prices in v. 7.83, so that (we hope) there will be less opportunity to make gigantic quick profits on massive commodity trades, for all you Wall $treet Raider trillionaires and quadrillionaires.

      In addition, once you reach a very high net worth level and are able to do very large commodity futures trades, your counterparties will now begin to wise up, and not be quite so stupid as to take the other side of your commodity trades on your terms. Thus, you will not be able to buy 100,000 oil futures contracts (at 10,000 barrels per contract, in a single trade) for five years when crude oil is $20 a barrel, or trade some other commodity that is similarly at an extreme high or low price for an easy killing, sticking the poor, stupid counterparty with a loss that may bankrupt that company. As you get richer, the counterparties will become smarter and warier of dealing with a slick speculator like you, with a reputation for winning every futures trade.

      So, in the crude oil example above, a potential counterparty may make you a counter offer (take it or leave it!), such as for only 5,000 contracts (not the 100,000 you wanted) at $50 a barrel (not $20), expiring in only two or three years, not five. You may still want to do the trade on their terms, but you will have an immediate unrealized loss that could cause margin calls, and even if oil does go up as you expected, it will have to go up a lot (and sooner) before you profit on that trade. Since prices are less volatile now, oil may still be trading (spot) at about $20 or $30 when the contract expires two or three years later, barring some event like a Middle East war or a Peak Oil crisis.

      In short, as with tender offers for stocks, and when doing interest rate swaps when interest rates are at extreme levels, you're now going to have to do large futures transactions by paying over the current market (or shorting at well below market) when market prices are abnormally high or low, so that trading futures, at least in gigabuck quantities, may no longer mean easy profits. Small futures trades of 100 contracts or less (or 500 crude contracts) can still be done in all cases at the market price, as can larger trades when a commodity price is at or near a "normal" level, in which case your odds of winning would likely be more like 50-50, not 90-10. Also, you can still simply buy and store the physical commodity without facing such counter offers, but with the reduced volatility we've tried to build in for commodity prices, you may have to wait a long time before the physical commodity you bought cheap goes up very much, all the while paying storage and insurance costs.

      The bottom line? Your counterparties for futures trades are no longer going to be patsies who take on the losing end of your trades and regularly go broke as a result, although you still won't be getting counter offers from them in the early stages of the game, when you are trading futures in smaller quanties and aren't yet anywhere close to being a notorious trillionaire.

      Another (minor) tweak in this version is to tone down the extreme rise in a company's stock price when it's going along making a normal return on equity of say, 10% to 20%, and suddenly you sell off a hugely profitable commodity hedge position for an enormous gain, or there is some other windfall, like a small company receiving a large antitrust case settlement.

      That kind of sudden and extreme boost in earnings will send the stock soaring, maybe up 200% or more that quarter, only to come back down (when you are wisely shorting it after its upward spike) when earnings return to normal the next quarter. That's a bit unrealistic, so the stock pricing algorithm now treats any annual profit that's more than a certain percent of the company's net worth as partly temporary and ignores the "excess" in the current pricing. So the stock will still go up a lot when there is a big windfall, but not quite so much as before. This means the benefits of manipulating a stock's price by manipulating the timing of big earnings swings are now a bit less.

      (We keep trying to make the W$R simulation more challenging, and players keep finding "loopholes" that aren't always simple to fix, without crippling the game. We never cease to be amazed at the creativity of some W$R players...!)

      Version 7.83 is a free upgrade for anyone who has purchased 7.80, 7.81 or 7.82. Just email the author at the address at the bottom of this page for a download link.

  • 7.82 -- Released: April 15, 2016

    • This release is just a very minor tweak to prevent an undesired consequence of having counterparties for options trades, for players who have built up many trillions (or quadrillions) in net worth, and who are able to do massive stock (and stock index) manipulation. They were finding that the very large option positions they created, which were virtually "sure things" as they manipulated stock prices upwards by hundreds or thousands of percentages, were quickly bankrupting most of the counterparties. In some cases we've seen, there were only about 500 companies left standing in the simulation after all the wipeouts. This version imposes some higher credit standards before a counterparty will take the other side of an options trade, and provides for quicker jettisoning of bad options positions by uncontrolled companies, before they go broke by, for instance, being short call options that suddenly go up by 1000% when you manipulate the stock upwards.

      Unless you are one of the rare players who gets up to the levels of multiple trillions or quadrillions of net worth, you won't notice this minor change in the program's selection and monitoring of options counterparties.

  • 7.81 -- Released: January 27, 2016

    • This version makes a minor change in the AutoPilot feature regarding commodity hedging. At times, companies on "autopilot" have tended to buy (or short) commodities at bad times, like buying silver futures when silver is at $38, or shorting wheat at $2.50, or have closed parts of existing futures positions at inopportune times, as part of the normal hedging process done by companies in certain industries, where companies close out part of profitable hedges each quarter, and sometimes close part of unprofitable ones, as well. To prevent this from happening, Release 7.81 prevents any such spontaneous commodity purchases or sales by human-controlled companies, even if the company is on "autopilot" (except for forced sales, or when the company's credit rating falls to CCC or lower, and positions have to be closed). Thus, if you want a company to hedge or speculate in commodities, or close an existing position, you must now actively initiate the transaction. Any "bad trades" will now be because you guessed wrong about the direction of a commodity price, and not because the program did so.

      Version 7.81 is a free upgrade for anyone who has purchased 7.80. Just email the author at the address at the bottom of this page. (If you prefer the way hedging operated in v. 7.80, then we suggest that you don't "upgrade" to 7.81.)

    • In this version, having noted how easy it is to make money trading commodity futures in the simulation, so that many players don't even bother with the more realistic corporate finance/securities markets features that are the main part of W$R, we decided to take some steps to make fluctuations more drastic and unpredictable, to add to the risk.

  • 7.80 -- Released: September 15, 2015

    • An automatic "sweep" setting has been added to the items on the "Settings" Menu. Turning this setting "ON" will cause any cash in your bank account to regularly be "swept" to pay down any bank loan you owe. As a result, any sales proceeds, dividends, interest, salary or other cash you receive will almost immediately be put to work reducing your bank debt, thus helping to reduce your interest expenses. However, if you have no line of credit, you may want to turn the "sweep" setting off, in order to keep some cash in your account to pay expenses that you incur. Otherwise, if your bank balance is zero and you are unable to borrow, you would be forced to sell off assets when you have to pay an expense, such as taxes or interest. The "sweep" function is similar to the way most margin accounts with stockbrokers work, in the real world, where any cash credited to your account is quickly applied to pay down your margin debt, if any.

    • The "easy pickings" from shorting or buying puts on stocks of companies that are about to go bankrupt will no longer be available, generally. In this new version, you cannot trade options on a company that is under bankruptcy court protection (that is, has a "D" credit rating), except to close an existing position. Also, in some cases, where a company is almost certain to be liquidated or reorganized in bankruptcy, you will not be able to borrow any of its stock to sell short.

    • The portfolio information for individual players now includes a projection of a player's annual cash flow, from salary, dividends, bond interest, and interest earned on bank account balances, less loan interest expense and, if any, income tax on the net amount. This projection gives players a quick "heads up" as to whether they will be running a cash flow deficit in the next 12 months of play. It doesn't try to "guesstimate" speculative or unknown amounts, like the proceeds from sales of assets you will dispose of or expenditures to buy assets, or any profits or losses you might generate from interest rate swaps, options, or futures. Nor does the projection take into account any additional taxes you may incur on sales of assets that result in taxable gains.

    • The Industry Summary listing of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) now ranks all the ETFs by their share price performance in the last 12 months, and shows the percentage gain or loss over that period. This feature goes into effect after the first year of game play. During the first year, ETFs are ranked by their dividend yield, as in previous versions.

    • The "Buy," "Strong Buy," "Sell," or "Strong Sell" button that appears on the Research Report for a company is now clickable, to either buy or sell the stock of that company or, if you don't own the stock, to sell it short. (If the button says "Hold," clicking on it has no effect.)

    • In the past, it was often easy to shrug off occasional anti-trust lawsuits from other companies when you were able to monopolize most of a large number of industries. This problem was partly remedied in the last version by imposing government fines and forced divestitures on monopolistic companies, but some players are still able to get around those restrictions and acquire nearly 100% market share of numerous industries. This version adds real teeth to the private anti-trust suits, making them much more frequent and for vastly larger damage sums, even for small companies with bad credit that could hardly pay legal fees to sue your Behemoth Industrial Co. Now, where it is clear that it is almost a "slam-dunk" winning antitrust case, such companies will get special additional bank financing to bring such a lawsuit, and the bank will receive 10% of the damages if the plaintiff (suing) company wins, for providing such "bridge loans." Life just got a lot riskier for monopolists!

    • Costs of trading shares of ETF's (Exchange-Traded Funds) have been reduced. Previously, you had to make a tender offer to acquire more than 5% of an ETF, like other stocks, paying a significantly higher price than the market price. Likewise, when you sold your shares, you had to sell them at well below market if selling a significant percent. Since ETF shares tend to trade at or very close to their net asset value, that seemed somewhat unrealistic, so now when you buy ETF shares you simply pay the market price plus a 1% commission, and when you sell them you receive the market price, less a 1% commission. As before, the sales don't affect the market price of the ETF stock, which is based on net asset value of the fund's assets, with only a slight random deviation of about 1%.

    • A stock's P:E ratio (Price:Earnings ratio) in previous versions was computed based on the previous year's income. That could often become misleading by the middle or latter part of a year, so we have changed the calculation to base the P:E on any earnings for the current year, plus an appropriate part of the prior year's average quarterly results.

      For example, to calculate the trailing 12 months (four quarters) of earnings, after a company has reported in the third quarter, the 12 months of earnings will now include the year-to-date earnings for the three quarters, plus 1/4th of the prior year's earnings. Thus, the displayed P:E ratios for companies are now more realistic and much more responsive to recent changes in a company's fortunes, which means stock prices are likely to change direction more swiftly and unpredictably. The stock pricing algorithm now gives more weight to projected earnings, as well, further adding to increased volatility and quicker reaction to changing circumstances for a company.

      In prior versions, we felt that bank stocks tended to sell at high multiples of net worth (like 10 or 12) and often traded at 30 to 35 P:E ratios, also too high. We have tinkered with the pricing of bank stocks, where the banks are not highly leveraged (with reasonably good credit ratings), so they now tend to trade at much more reasonable multiples of net worth and earnings, except for very small banks, which may be able to grow earnings very rapidly and achieve a fairly high P:E.

    • The limitations on the "notional amount" of interest rate swaps you or your companies may enter into have been changed. In earlier versions, the limit per contract was 100,000 million dollars, Euros, etc. (or 100,000 billions of some currencies, like the Rupee or Yen), and there was an overall net long or net short position limit of 100 times net worth. Now the single contract limit is the lesser of 500,000 million (billion) or 100 times net worth, with an overall net long or net short position limit of 500 x net worth for players, or 100 to 300 x net worth for a corporation, depending on the Difficulty Level at which you are playing (100 times the Difficulty Level, times net worth, but not more than 300 times net worth).

      In previous versions, a player or his companies could "load up" hundreds of swaps counterparties with what was likely to be the losing side of swaps contracts. Often, this would result in bankrupting hundreds of companies that really could not afford to take such gambles, causing some very unrealistic changes in the simulation. Now, only companies that are large enough to take on such risks will be available counterparties, so if you are trying to do hundreds of interest rate swaps, you may not be able to find as many counterparties. The ones you do find may still be damaged badly by the swaps (if interest rates go in the direction you expected -- profitable for you, disastrous for the counterparties), but now the swaps will not generally bankrupt the counterparties.

      Also, when interest rates are very high or very low, the counteroffers you will receive when you make an offer to enter into a swap are less attractive than in previous versions.

    • This release fixes a bug in recent editions, where a bank is liquidated into another bank or an insurance company is liquidated into another insurance company. In either case, subprime mortgages owned by the sub were not being transferred in such (nontaxable) liquidations. (Thanks to users who pointed out this flaw on the W$R blog!)

    • Since some users have succeeded in building their assets up into the quintillions of dollars (or sextillions of some currencies), we have revised a lot of the displays in the program that were unable to correctly display numbers like $1,304,883,388,027 million. However, many of the changes in this version, designed to keep things more realistic, should make it much harder for players to ever generate wealth in such fantastic amounts.

  • 7.70/7.72 -- Released: March 1, 2015/July 5, 2015 (Major release)
    • (Version 7.72 is a bug fix for a bug in v. 7.70 that was causing an annoying "Error 9" error message that could occasionally occur, or a very rare situation where a corrupted stock ownership percentage for a bank could cause the entire Stock Index to go through the roof. Purchasers of v. 7.70 can contact Mike Jenkins at the email address at the bottom of this page, to request a link where they may download a free copy of the corrected version (7.72). We have emailed a notice with the download URL to everyone who purchased 7.70 or 7.71 (an initial bug fix) in the short time 7.70 was being sold, but some users may not have read the email.) These "bugs" were not in versions prior to Version 7.70.

    • In response to requests from numerous users, we have now made it possible in Version 7.70 to have multiple computer players. In the new version, if you choose to have computer players, you first choose the total number of players (2 to 5), and then specify how many HUMAN players there will be. The remaining players will all be computer players that compete against you -- and against each other. For example, if you choose to have 5 total players, with only one human player, you would be playing against four aggressive, cutthroat computer players. In the new version, a successful computer player will not only try to squash you (harrassing lawsuits, freezing or calling in your loans, etc.) if you get into a weakened financial position, but it will do the same to other computer players that get in financial difficulty and become vulnerable to ruthless tactics. Now you will have more than one vicious competitor to deal with!

      (Although you may be playing against as many as four computer players, it still only takes about a second or less for all of them to take their turns, after you finish your turn, so the game is not slowed down by the additional computer players.)

    • Since we have often noted in long games that a very successful computer player may sometimes accumulate control of several hundred companies, we have placed some limits on the number of companies each computer player can control, after which it will (usually) not attempt to acquire control of any more companies. The more computer players there are, the lower this limit is set at, for obvious reasons. However, we won't tell you what these limits are, as they are somewhat flexible. (These limits do not apply to HUMAN players.)

    • The Wall Street Raider Tutorial that we began including with Version 7.60 now includes links to a series of excellent video tutorials (not by us) on YouTube. The author of the tutorial says he will eventually do about 50 "episodes," playing one 35-year game to its conclusion, at a very deliberate speed, explaining his strategy or tactics with each action he takes. Each episode is about an hour in length.

    • In previous releases 7.50 through 7.60, an "AutoPilot" function was introduced, whereby you can now select "AutoPilot" status ON or OFF for all the companies you control, by toggling the "AutoPilot ON/OFF" item on the "Game Options" pulldown menu. However, it was an all-or-none setting for your companies. In this version, the item works the same way, as a "global" setting, so that when you turn AutoPilot ON, it sets an "ON" variable for each company you control (except the one you are CEO of), and likewise if you set the AutoPilot global setting to "OFF" it turns the AutoPilot setting for each of your companies to "OFF."

      However, you may now change the ON/OFF AutoPilot setting for an individual company you control by using the "Toggle AutoPilot ON" ("OFF") button on the Management Menu. Thus, you may use the global setting on the "Game Options" menu to turn AutoPilot "ON" for all your companies, but may then decide to turn the setting for a particular company to "OFF" by using the "Toggle AutoPilot OFF" button that will appear on the Management Menu. Or vice versa.

      Note that when you become CEO of a company, its AutoPilot status is automatically turned "OFF." (That is, you must ALWAYS manage that company, rather then delegate its management functions.) But if you later cease to be the CEO, its status will become the same as your global AutoPilot setting. Similarly, if you acquire control of a company, it automatically adopts the same AutoPilot status as your global AutoPilot setting.

    • Improvements have been made to the Interest Rate Swaps screens. Now, if a player or company is seeking to exceed allowable limits for net long (or net short) positions in interest rate swap derivatives, the program shows you how much more exposure you may take on. Also, when viewing your (or your company's) list of swap contracts, the display now includes the estimated quarterly profit or loss on each active swap contract, plus the total estimated quarterly profit for all such active contracts.

    • Limits have been increased on the maximum size (notional value) of a single swap agreement / contract. In prior versions, the maximum size limit of a swap was 100,000 million of the selected currency. That limit is now increased to 500,000 million of the currency. (500,000 billion for some currencies that have very small unit values compared to the U.S. dollar, such as the Japanese Yen, Indian Rupee, or Korean Won.)

    • Also, limits have been set on total exposure of a player or company, in addition to the previous limit on the size of one individual swap contract. A player's net long or net short swaps exposure (in terms of notional value of contracts) is now limited to 500 times the player's net worth, since no counterparties will contract with you if your exposure becomes too large. For all companies, the limit ranges from 100 to 300 times the company's net worth (depending on the Difficulty Level of the current game, with more risk allowed at higher Difficulty Levels). Thus, for example at Difficulty Level 3 or 4, a bank with net worth of $250 billion could take on long (or short) interest rate swaps exposure of 300 times that amount, or $75 trillion, which is comparable to risks taken on by certain megabanks like Chase in the real world.

    • The government anti-monopoly agencies have been made a little bit less efficient in this version. This means in some cases you may be able to monopolize most of an industry by buying up or merging companies, even though your acquisition would generally be considered an illegal restraint of trade and would normally have been blocked by an agency like the FTC or Justice Department in prior versions of W$R.

      Now, these agencies will sometimes be a bit "lax" and let you proceed with your (questionable) acquisition. Of course, after you have acquired control of most of an industry, you may still be sued by competitors -- or later, even by the government -- for antitrust violations. (Life isn't fair.) Therefore, such occasional opportunities may tempt you to try to monopolize an industry, which can sometimes be very profitable, or can turn out to be a major blunder.

    • When doing tender offers to "the public" for stock of a company, you will now be advised by investment bankers as to what price (in excess of market price) you will need to offer in order to acquire all the shares you seek. You will also be told the total purchase price when doing a tender offer or buying a 5% or smaller position in a stock on the open market.

    • We have corrected a flaw in the Transaction Financing routine, when you are asked if you want to borrow to complete various transactions. For a few types of transactions, the routine was sometimes underestimating the negative effect on your credit rating if you did the borrowing and made the planned expenditure. For example, before the correction, you might have been warned that going ahead with the transaction and financing would reduce your credit rating to "B," while the actual result might have been much worse, reducing your credit rating to "CCC," "CC," "C" or even to "D." That could previously occur (only) if you were spending the money, but were not acquiring an asset, such as when you or your company paid a large fee to get out of an unfavorable interest rate swap contract, which greatly decreased your net worth.

  • 7.60 -- Released: November 15, 2014 (Major release)
    • Subprime mortgages have been added as a new asset class, and can be purchased by banks or insurance companies. The high yields are very tempting, but these are high-risk loans, which will tend to have high loss rates if the economy turns soft, and if sold when things are bad, will usually be sold at a loss. In addition, an occasional "subprime crisis" (like the real one in 2008) can sometimes occur, in which huge losses will be incurred on such loans over a period of years, and during such a crisis they can often only be liquidated for no more than 40% to 60% of their face value. High reward, high risk.

    • An online tutorial for new players is now available, and can be accessed by clicking on the "Tutorial" item on the "Game Options" menu, on the main W$R screen. To view the tutorial without opening W$R, go to: www.roninsoft.com/tutorial.htm.

    • Earnings reports for companies now include a comparison of reported operating earnings to the most recent estimated earnings projection. Stocks of companies that beat estimates tend to rise (all other things being equal), while those that fall short of projected earnings tend to fall.

    • Being granted options on 2% of a company's stock is no longer an automatic "perk" of being CEO of a company. Now, if the company is losing money, or its most recent quarterly earnings per share were lower than the year before, you will not be granted any options for that quarter. If earnings have improved, but by less than 15%, you only receive a 1% grant. If earnings have grown by 15% or more, you receive a 2% grant, or 3% if you also control over 50% of the company's stock, directly or indirectly.

    • If you (or one of your controlled companies) has commodity or stock index futures contracts expiring in the middle of the next month, you are now notified of the upcoming expiration(s) by a pop-up message just before the end of the preceding month. The notice will also remind you as to whether your current setting for taking phyical delivery (if long a commodity futures contract) is "YES" or "NO." (If "NO," the futures contract will merely be settled for a gain or loss. If "YES," you or your company will have to buy the agreed amount of the commodity at the contract price, and take physical delivery. This can be a very important reminder, if you have the "Take Delivery" setting on "YES" and don't have enough money or credit to make the purchase, causing a forced sell-off of assets.)

    • Refinements have been made to the "AutoPilot" setting, so that when you have turned on AutoPilot, to let most of your companies manage themselves, they may attempt to buy or sell other companies, or list offers to sell stocks they own or issue new stock in public offerings, but will only do any such transaction if the company requests and obtains your permission to proceed, giving you a veto over any such proposed actions.

    • Some users who like to invest in banks have been unhappy with the fact that banks automatically buy bonds when they have excess cash, and often are forced to sell the bonds at a loss when they need to raise cash. This version prevents banks from automatically trading bonds, when you control the bank and actively manage it. (If "AutoPilot" is turned on, and you are not the bank's CEO, however, it will continue to buy and sell bonds like banks that you do not control, as before.) Naturally, you can still direct a bank you control (whether not it is on AutoPilot) to buy or sell a particular government or corporate bond, when you think it is wise to do so. Banks will continue to buy or make or sell business loans, however, even regardless of the AutoPilot setting.

      The same treatment of bond trading now also applies to insurance companies a player controls, as well as to banks.

    • A new end-of-game analysis (in the sidebar of the Entity Research Menu, when the player is selected entity) computes your annual compound rate of return on your investments (on your beginning stake, of $100 million to $1,000 million), if you increased your net worth during the game. This feature isn't activated for a saved game file from older versions, since older versions didn't store the amount of your starting "stake" (which could range from $100 M. to $1,000 M.)

    • It is now easier (cheaper) to start up a new company. Startup costs are now a maximum of 10% (previously 20%) of initial capital, and are limited to a maximum of $25 million U.S. (or equivalent in another currency) for a new holding/trading company, $100 million to form an industrial company, and $200 million for a bank or insurance company. Initial minimum startup capital is still $1,000 million for a bank or insurance company, or $100 million for any other startup (industrial company or holding/trading company).

    • In a long game, we have noticed that many insurance companies and holding/trading companies eventually own control of many other such companies, partly because such companies often trade at well below their net worth, and thus become takeover targets. Thus, we have tweaked the stock takeover algorithms, to make such random takeovers of insurers and holding/trading companies much less frequent, so that a handful of companies are less likely to control hundreds of other companies after 25 or 30 years of play, or longer.

    • When stock splits (or reverse splits) occur, including automatic rounding of total shares from odd numbers like 76.53 million to 80 million, the program now adjusts the company's dividend payout accordingly, to keep the yield the same at the time of the change.

    • In this release, we detected and fixed a subtle flaw in the corporate tax provision calculations, where a company has tax credits and taxable income from extraordinary gains, but no ordinary (operating) income -- which was causing tax credits to incorrectly be carried over and not be used to offset the tax on the gains, except when the company happened to be an 80%+ subsidiary of a parent company.

  • 7.51 -- Released: June 8, 2014 (Minor release)
    • This is a free upgrade for anyone who purchased v. 7.50, which was a very major upgrade, but also introduced a few minor bugs. E-mail us at the link at the bottom of this page for a 7.51 download link, if you purchased 7.50. This is a fairly minor upgrade, which mainly fixes a couple of minor "bugs" that were in 7.50, though you would probably never have noticed them. It also has some more "cheat scenarios" added, regarding "inside information" on upcoming earnings turnarounds or mergers, plus many minor improvements throughout the program.

    • This version also has a number of cosmetic changes, such as better text formatting, where text messages often were raggedly formatted, when displayed by some monitors. (No two monitors are alike, it seems.) The main (visible) change is to the layout of the main W$R "Trading Desk" screen. The stock ticker and Ticker On/Off button have been moved up to the center of the screen, making for a smaller screen image footprint, since the stock ticker and bottom part of the main screen was no longer visible on some monitors, when set at lower than their default resolution. In addition, a "Cheat" button, which was formerly accessed from the Misc. Menu, has now been moved to the main screen, allowing for direct one-click access to the "Cheat Menu" that we added in Version 7.50.

    • You will notice now, when one of your companies is the target of an antitrust lawsuit and you are presented with a choice of settling the case by paying a specified amount, or risking a trial, the program now offers you "advice from your attorneys" as to whether or not you should accept the settlement offer. (Of course, attorneys' advice is not always 100% accurate...!)

    • New algorithms have been added to put to work excessive cash build-ups at companies not actively controlled by a player. If you have your companies on "AutoPilot," they will generally not buy stocks or initiate mergers, but if they have a significant cash build-up and good credit rating, they may initiate stock purchases, but will only make such a purchase after first stopping play to ask your permission.

    • Strategy improvements were made for the Computer Player, regarding advances (demand loans) to companies it controls, which will now occur in some cases, making the Computer Player a little smarter. Also, when the Computer Player has made advances to a company it controls and it later loses control, it will then attempt to call in part or all of the loan, subject to the same restrictions as when a human player tries to call in such an advance, where the borrower has a weak credit rating and has senior creditors (such as a bank lender, bondholders, depositors in a bank, or the policyholders of an insurance company). Those of you who already hate the computer player ("Wally Raider") will now hate him even more, since he has gotten even smarter....

    • For users of the "shareware" (free) version of W$R, stock charts are still not generally available for individual companies, but now are available for ETF's (Exchange-Traded Funds). Stock charts for all companies are available in the registered versions of W$R.

  • 7.50 -- Released: April 1, 2014 (Major release)
    • A new "Cheat Menu" has been added. When viewing the "MISC" Menu, click on the "Cheat Menu" item to see a pop-up menu with three "cheat" choices -- the previously existing option to add any amount of cash to your bank account is still available. However, using it will disqualify the current game as your "personal best" score, for obvious reasons, but is still fun to use if you want to experiment with being ultra-rich (or ultra-poor, since you can also use it to subtract cash from your account).

      The new "Cheat Menu" also contains two new cheat options, both of which allow you to obtain crucial "insider information." One gives you a heads-up on an upcoming merger on which you can make a quick profit (usually). The other gives you advance notice of a coming big change in a certain company's earnings, either up or down, so that you can either buy or short the stock before the change occurs.

      In both cases it is highly secret information that will be leaked to you, long before the Street knows about it. However, obtaining such lucrative "insider information" is, of course, highly illegal, not to mention unethical and immoral, and there is always an outside chance that your informant may be arrested and "rat you out," or your phone may be tapped by the authorities, in which case your wrongdoing would be discovered and you would face massive fines.

      But who knows? Even if you fall afoul of the law, you may make so much money trading off the insider tips that you can afford to pay the fine, like so many real corporate raiders and stock manipulators. In real life, it seems that raiders who steal $100 million end up paying a $10 million fine as penance -- and then donate $5 million or so to Harvard or Oxford, which names a building after them and awards the scalawag an honorary degree, as a "great benefactor."

    • A new "AutoPilot" setting has been created, for each player. When you control a lot of companies, it becomes difficult to actively manage all of them properly, as conditions change, when it becomes advisable to change growth rates, R&D spending, manage build-ups (or shortages) of cash, etc. Companies you do not control are fairly "smart," and tend to react to such changes intelligently, as well as randomly doing mergers, liquidations, stock and bond purchases and sales, and trading futures or options, plus doing various other types of transactions.

      This version now lets you turn on (or off) an "AutoPilot" setting. When this setting is turned on, you will be, in effect, delegating the management of the companies you control to the program, which will operate them for you as if they were uncontrolled companies. The one exception is the controlled company of which you are the CEO, for which you must still make almost all of the management decisions, as in prior versions of W$R. Of course, if you turn AutoPilot off, you will be operating as in prior versions, making all major decisions for ALL of your controlled companies. Using the AutoPilot function when you control numerous companies relieves you of the difficulty of micro-managing all the management decisions for those companies, except major decisions like doing acquisitions, selling off subsidiaries, or engaging in merger activity.

      Notice that turning AutoPilot on does not mean you give up control over your companies. You may still have your controlled companies do any transactions that were allowed in previous W$R versions, at any time. For example, you can set a company's R&D spending to 20% of sales if you wish, and that rate will stay in effect if AutoPilot is off, until you change it. However, if AutoPilot is on, the program may decide at some point to either increase or decrease the R&D spending rate, above or below where you had set it. Or, you may have your controlled company buy a particular stock you like, but if AutoPilot is on, the program may decide to sell that stock, if it decides there is a reason to do so.

      The default setting for AutoPilot in a new game is "off," since you usually will want to totally manage the first few companies that you control. Later, if you gain control of too many companies to micro-manage all of them, you may then want to turn AutoPilot "on."

      The AutoPilot option can be turned on or off by toggling that item on the pull-down "Settings Menu" on the main W$R screen.

    • Additional conveniences have been built in. Now, if you click on "List Portfolio" for a company and it has no stock or bond portfolio, a message will say so and ask if you want to instead see your individual portfolio. Similarly, if you click on "Tax Basis Info" for a company that has no stock or bond portfolio, you will be asked if you want to see your portfolio tax basis information instead.

      In either case, if you also have no stocks or bonds, an error message will simply inform you that the company has no portfolio to display. Similar features were added in recent releases, where a company has no option positions, or no physical commodities, or no futures, when you click on the appropriate button to display one of those three categories of assets.

    • Players often like to do quick calculations in their heads, but that can often be difficult when computing per-share items, especially when the number of shares a company has outstanding is something like 3231.74 million shares. The program now does small automatic stock splits to "round" the number of shares off to a more manageable number, like 3000 million in the above example.

    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 7.01, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0. (Note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turns, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)

      Note also, that in recent releases, if a game saved by an older version like 6.21 or earlier was loaded, the ETF's would not be activated, as they would have been saved in the past as regular (usually "dormant") holding companies. Thus, you needed to start a new game, if you wanted ETF's to be available to invest in, if you were upgrading from v. 6.21 or an earlier version, to versions 6.30 through 6.70. However, in this version and later versions, if you load a saved file originally started in versions 6.0 through 6.21, W$R will now create the 15 ETF's, unless some or all of those dormant "shell" corporations had been put to use already in the saved game (which would be very unusual).

  • 7.01 -- Released: January 18, 2014 (Minor release)
    • Version 7.01 simply cleaned up the text formatting on a number of message box pages.

  • 7.0 -- Released: November 1, 2013 (Major release)
    • We have continued to add more and more highly detailed commentary on industry and economic conditions and trend analysis, for many common or unusual situations, displayed in the sidebar on the Entity Info and General Research pop-up menus, as the "DAILY MARKET COMMENTARY."

      In fact, most of the huge number of hours, on weekdays, holidays, nights, and weekends, that went into doing this new release, were spent on devising and refining these new textual commentaries, to ensure their accuracy and relevance to the facts at hand, as well as their realism. Our goal has been to not only make the "DAILY MARKET COMMENTARY" useful and realistic, but to make it read much like a column you might see in a financial daily like the Wall Street Journal, Investors' Business Daily, or the Financial Times.

    • Trading in physical commodities (oil, gold, silver, wheat, and corn) has been expanded. All corporations except for banks and insurance companies may now acquire and hold any of those commodities (incurring storage and insurance costs while they are held). Some companies, if not controlled by a (human) player, will occasionally buy and store a commodity if its price gets ridiculously cheap, and may sell it if the price eventually rises to a very high level. Of course, you can still trade futures on all of those commodities, too (as well as Stock Index futures).

    • Players or companies that sell commodity futures short can (if the user turns on a "Make Physical Delivery" variable on the Settings Menu) choose to have a physical commodity they own delivered when a short futures contract expires, in lieu of a cash settlement. In previous versions of W$R, the only type of settlement of expiring futures was a cash settlement.

      Similarly, if you turn on the "Take Physical Delivery" variable setting, you can buy a futures contract on oil, gold, silver, wheat, or corn, and you will take delivery of the physical commodity at the agreed contract price at expiration, instead of having a cash settlement. (If you do this, be sure you have adequate cash or credit to make the purchase, or you will be in a forced liquidation mode!)

    • New features have been added that let players or companies post offers to sell a certain amount of stock, and in the case of industrial companies, offer to sell business assets, and also to buy such offered stocks (at 95% of current market value) or business assets (at 95% of seller's cost, per balance sheet), which other players or companies are willing to sell. Companies that are having cash flow problems will often offer some of their stock holdings or business assets for sale in this way, instead of making forced sales that may be at "sacrifice" prices on the open market. This is the first time that Wall Street Raider has made it possible for a player to buy stocks or other assets directly from another player or from a company controlled by another player, other than by tender offers in hostile mergers.

      Two new buttons for posting items for sale have been added to the "MISC" Menu, and a new "For Sale" button has been added to the "OTHER TRANS." Menu. Click on that button to view all currently available offers and, if interested, act on one of them to buy stock without driving up the stock price or having to make a tender offer. Or have one of your companies buy offered business assets from an existing company in its industry, rather than buying new assets (which would increase industry supply and reduce industry profitability). In addition, by buying business assets offered for sale by another company (at a 5% discount), your company can avoid the somewhat common situation of having to pay a significant premium ("goodwill") when buying assets from another company, if using the "Buy Corporate Assets" button on the Buy/Sell Transactions Menu.

      Any offer made by you or a company you control can be terminated at any time, by simply clicking on it, from the list of offers, and answering "Yes" when asked if you want to cancel it.

      Some of the few restrictions on offers are that you or a company of yours can only have one offer to sell a particular stock at any one time, and you can't offer to sell more stock of a company than you actually own. If you own 10% of XYZ Co. and post an offer to sell all 10%, but then sell 6% of XYZ, the program will automatically reduce your offer to 4%. Similarly, a company can only list one offer at any one time to sell some of its business assets. If a new offer is posted, the old one is canceled. Once an offer to sell stock is posted, any company (subject to the usual anti-monopoly rules, etc.) may accept the offer, EXCEPT the issuing company, which can only buy back its stock in a "greenmail" buyback tender offer (at a significant premium over the market price).

      If a buyer chooses to buy only part of an offering of stock or business assets, the rest of the offer remains in effect. For example, if ABC Corp. offers to sell $300 million of assets, and a buyer comes along and accepts the offer, but only for $100 million of the assets, the offer remains, but is reduced to $200 million of assets. All offers expire either at the end of the calendar quarter when listed, or, if the user chooses, at the end of the following quarter. Thus, an offer posted on July 25 will expire on either the following October 1 or on January 1 of the next year.

    • The simulation has been modified so that uncontrolled (by human players) companies will now randomly list offers to sell stock or business assets when their credit is too bad to borrow and they are experiencing a cash crunch. Other, stronger companies, with excess cash or good credit ratings will randomly buy some of the offered stocks or, if in the same industry, business assets, from the weaker companies, in a Darwinian fashion. Only the strong survive, in Wall Street Raider, as on Wall Street.

    • The ability to "look under the hood," to peek at important corporate data has been added. A "Who Owns What?" button is added to the General Research Menu. It brings up a submenu that lets you see a list of all companies that have long or short stock index or commodity futures positions; companies that own physical commodities; entities that have entered into "long" positions on interest rate swap agreements (and the identity of the "short" counter-party); companies that have long or short put or call options positions; companies that own stock in other companies; and companies that are paid investment management fees by the Exchange-Traded Funds.

      Each of those six listings also provides details as to amount, percentages held, or fixed interest rate for swaps, and also identifies the commodity, stock, option, or terms and types of interest rate swap, for each company with a position in any of the above-mentioned instruments. Clicking on any item will select the company in question as the new "active entity," if you wish to do more research on the company, or buy or sell short its stock.

    • A new button has been added to the Buy/Sell transactions menu. It now has a "Trade Futures" button, which allows you to trade commodity or stock index futures, and a "Trade Commodities" button that allows you to buy or sell PHYSICAL commodities. However, the "Commodity Trading Desk" menu that pops up when you click on either of the above buttons also has a toggle button, which lets you toggle between trading futures and physical commodities, without having to exit the "trading desk" back to the Buy/Sell menu or main screen.

    • Greenmail buybacks are now allowed unless the seller is a human player, or is a company controlled by a human player. Thus, a greenmail buyback is now allowed where the seller is the computer player, Wally Raider, or a company that is controlled by the computer player. However, the premium you will need to offer in that case will be considerably higher, generally, than you would need to offer to a seller that is not controlled by any player. Therefore, you can now force the computer player to sell a stock it (or a company it controls) owns in a greenmail buyback, but only if you are willing to pay a very large "greenmail" premium for the stock.

    • Similarly, In prior (recent) versions, you could make a tender offer for shares of a company held by another company, but not if the holder was controlled by another player, or if the holder was another player. That rule remains in effect, generally, for a stock owned by another human player or if the stockholder is controlled by another human player. But in this new version, you can now make a tender offer (at a very sustantial premium over the market price of the stock) for shares owned by the computer player, or owned by a company that is controlled by the computer player, Wally Raider.

    • Small (under 5% of a company's stock) LBO or greenmail stock buybacks are no longer allowed, unless the LBO buyback offer your company makes is for all of the company's remaining publicly-traded stock, or if the greenmail buyback offer is for all the shares held by the selling shareholder.

    • We have closed a loophole, when a merger is pending, with an uncontrolled company offering to acquire a player's controlled company. Previously, you could have your targeted company declare a large extraordinary dividend, reducing its value, while still receiving the same amount for its stock from the acquiring company in the merger. Nice trick! In this new version, however, any such sneaky action will cause the pending merger offer to be canceled. Similarly, a greenmail or LBO stock buyback by the targeted company, which would also reduce the company's net worth significantly, will also cause the pending merger offer to be withdrawn by the acquiring company.

    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 6.70, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0. (Note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turns, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)

  • 6.70 -- Released: July 1, 2013 (Major release)
    • A very large amount of additional commentary has been added to the "Industry Outlook" and "Economy and Markets" sections of the sidebar on the Entity Info and General Research Menus. Our goal, as we keep adding and refining this text is to make the commentary read somewhat more like a page from the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times.

    • In this release, we have responded to user suggestions by adding the ability to invest in physical commodities, which can be stored indefinitely, to wait for a good time to sell, instead of entering into commodity futures contracts. Players with adequate buying power can buy unlimited amounts of crude oil, gold, silver, wheat and corn. However, the commodities must be purchased with cash, although players can borrow against the commodity holdings to the same extent as they can borrow against stocks or bonds. However, when buying a physical commodity, you will not be able to get the 20-to-1 leverage you get when trading commodity FUTURES.

      While you will not have to pay a premium ("contango") like you often must when you buy futures contracts, you will instead incur storage costs of varying amounts for each commodity, and will incur insurance costs of 3% of the value of the commodity per year. In addition, since wheat and corn are somewhat perishable commodities, your stored grains will be subject to a certain amount of "shrinkage," which will continue as long as you keep the grain, due to spoilage, etc.

      Only players, not corporations, may buy physical commodities, for now, although future releases may allow such purchases by some types of corporations, as well.

      To buy or sell a physical commodity, a player can either click on the "TRADE" button on a chart of the commodity price, or open the BUY/SELL Menu and click on the "Trade Commodities" button. There you can either trade the commodity futures or, if you click on the "toggle" button that reads " ==> PHYSICAL ", you can trade a physical commodity. Once the toggle button is clicked, it will change to read " ==> FUTURES ". To resume trading futures, click on the " ==> FUTURES " toggle button. Note that if the entity trading is a corporation, or if the "TRADE" button is clicked on a Stock Index chart, the company (or the player, in the latter case) will be in futures trading mode, and the toggle button will merely show a line " -------- " and will not be functional, since the Stock Index is not a physical commodity that can be stored and since companies cannot buy physical commodities in this release of W$R.

    • A new button, "Physical Commodities," has been added to the ENTITY RESEARCH Menu, but only appears when you, the player, are the "Active Entity." Clicking on this button will bring up a list of any and all of the physical oil, gold, silver, wheat or corn you currently own, showing the unrealized gain or loss on each position, plus the current price per barrel, ounce, or bushel, compared to the price you paid. Clicking on any one of the listed positions will allow you to quickly sell all or part of that position.

    • A procedure has been created to automatically transfer an interest rate swap agreement to the parent company, when a subsidiary is liquidated into the parent in a non-taxable liquidation. The parent company is substituted for the subsidiary in all interest rate swap contracts to which the subsidiary was a party. In prior releases, due to an oversight, a swap agreement was simply canceled in a non-taxable liquidation.

    • Another loophole has been closed: Previously, if two companies both controlled by a player were parties to an interest rate swap agreement (or if a player and his/her controlled company were the parties to the swap agreement), the agreement could be canceled by either party, usually requiring a large cancellation fee be paid to the other party. Players were able to use this feature to manipulate earnings and cash, for example by having XCorp pay a large cancellation fee to YCorp, just before dumping the stock of XCorp. In this version, no cancellation fee is paid when a swap agreement is between two entities under control of the same player.

    • We modified the options exercise routine, so that when an insurance company "inherits" a short put option position when it liquidates a subsidiary, the put will be settled, not exercised against the insurer, at its expiration date (assuming the put is "in-the-money" at expiration).

    • In the previous release, any time an investment advisor of an ETF was fired for poor performance, an insurer was selected to replace it. That has been changed so that, generally, an insurer will replace a broker as the advisor, and vice versa. It was also possible in the previous release for the randomly selected new advisor to be an advisor that was just fired from the same or another ETF. That can no longer immediately occur.

    • When an ETF's investment advisory company is to be rewarded for good performance, that is accomplished by the issuance of more stock by the ETF, so that the quantity of funds under management is increased, thus increasing the advisory fee paid to the advisor. In this release, the advisory fee (rate) is also increased by 0.2% (unless the fee was already greater than 0.8% of assets).

  • 6.60 -- Released: March 1, 2013 (Major release)
    • Trading of stock index futures is now permitted, in the same way as commodity futures. Gains or losses are capital gains or losses for players, or "extraordinary" gains or losses for most companies, except those in the Securities Brokers industry, for whom their trading profits or losses on stock index futures trades are reported as part of ordinary operating income. Players and all companies except banks may buy or sell short stock index futures, if they have an adequate ("BBB") credit rating. (To have an insurance company initiate a stock index futures trade, click on the "Stock Index" number shown on the lower left corner of the main Wall Street Raider screen, and a "TRADE" button will appear on the Stock Index chart.)

      To close a futures position for an insurance company or any other entity you control, you can just click on the "List Commodities" button and then select the futures contract you want to sell or to buy it back, if it is a short position.

    • Charts now generally include a "TRADE" button when displaying a chart of interest rates, commodities, or of the Global Stock Index. One click on the "TRADE" button will take you to the "Commodity Trading Desk" menu if the chart is for a commodity or the stock index, allowing you to quickly buy or sell futures on that item (or close existing futures contracts). In the case of the interest rate charts, clicking on the "TRADE" button will take you or your controlled company that is to do the transaction to the screen for creating or terminating interest rate swap derivative contracts, with the specific interest rate whose chart you were viewing, such as the Prime Rate, pre-selected for creating a swap agreement.

      No "TRADE" buttons will appear on commodity charts if the entity that would be trading is a bank or insurance company that you control, since they are not allowed to gamble on commodities. A "TRADE" button also will not appear on the Stock Index chart if a bank you control would be trading the Stock Index futures. However, the button will appear for any other company that is currently selected to do transactions, including an insurance company you control.

      Also, no "TRADE" button will appear for the GDP Growth Rate chart, since there are no GDP futures contracts to be traded in Wall Street Raider (or the real world). In addition, no "TRADE" button will appear on a chart of your Net Worth when you click on the Net Worth item on "My Balance Sheet" on the main screen, for obvious reasons, since your net worth is also not something on which anyone trades futures contracts.

    • Stock charts will now generally have a "BUY" button, if the stock is the currently selected "Active Entity" and if it is NOT a company that you control. (If you controlled it, the "BUY" button would cause the company to try to buy its own stock, which is not permitted, except as an LBO or Greenmail.) A "BUY" button will also not appear on the chart if the entity that would be buying (you or your controlled company) already has positions in 15 stocks other than the Active Entity whose chart is shown. (15 stocks is the maximum any player or company can directly hold in W$R.)

    • This version has a number of new trend analysis algorithms, which we have put to good use throughout the program to provide players with more textual analyses of trends in stock, commodity, and index prices, and interest rates. The trends are described in Research Reports and menu sidebar notes that accompany the Entity Info and General research menus. These trend analyses will tend to become more detailed and helpful, once you get at least a few years into a game, and will alert you to developing industry, commodity, or economic trends you may want to trade on, if you are a "momentum player" (or against, if you are a "contrarian"). Most of the many hours of programming, testing, tweaking and refining this release have been devoted to making the economic model more realistic and responsive to events, commodity prices, interest rates, and GDP growth rates, all of which interact with each other in many complex ways.

    • At the start of each game, or if continuing a saved game from recent prior versions (6.0 or later), each of the 15 exchange- traded funds (ETF's) in the simulation is assigned an investment manager / advisor, from among the companies in the securities brokerage industry. Each quarter, the management fee paid by the ETF is paid to its investment advisor (a brokerage, or in some cases, an insurance company). The player who controls a broker that has an advisory contract with an ETF can reset the default annual management fee, which can range anywhere from 0.2% to 1.0% of total assets of the ETF. Naturally, a higher fee will tend to inhibit growth in the ETF's assets.

      If an ETF is disqualified (because a player or company acquires over 15% of its stock), it will no longer pay an investment management fee and becomes a (fully taxable) holding/ trading company. If an investment advisor, such as a securities broker, goes bankrupt, or if the ETF goes bankrupt, the ETF's investment advisor will be fired and the ETF will select another securities broker or insurance company as its advisor. If a broker becomes a holding/trading company by selling, scrapping or transferring all its business assets, it will cease to be an advisor and the ETF will either seek a new advisor or, if the business assets of a securities broker were transferred to another broker by sale or capital contribution, the acquiring broker will also acquire the advisory contracts with the ETF's.

      If there is no broker (with at least a BBB credit rating) that does not already have an ETF client, when the advisor to an ETF has been fired, the ETF will select an insurance company as the new manager or advisor. An advisor may also be fired by an ETF in some instances where the ETF's stock has performed badly over a 5-year period.

      Very good performance of an ETF, if significantly better than the performance of the Global Stock Index (provided that the appreciation in the ETF stock has averaged at least a compound annual growth rate of 6%), may be rewarded by additional stock issuances by the ETF, increasing its assets on which the management fees are based. An ETF's performance is reviewed every two years, to determine if the advisor is to be fired or if additional capital is to be raised by a stock offering.

      If an advisor is liquidated into a parent company in a tax-free liquidation, the advisory contract or contracts of the liquidated company will be transferred to the parent, but the contracts will be canceled in a taxable liquidation of an advisor and the ETF will find a new advisor.

    • This and other recent upgrades of W$R have made the Securities Brokers companies potentially much more profitable, by earning investment advisory fees from ETF's (for most brokers), and by occasionally engaging in interest rate swaps and trading of stock index futures, when not controlled by a player. In addition, since any gains or losses of brokers on stock index futures trades are treated as "hedging profits" and thus as reportable operating income, that affects a brokerage's price-earnings ratio and stock price, which will greatly add to the volatility of the brokerage stocks, as their earnings may fluctuate widely.

    • This release includes what might be called "mini-bubbles" in specific industries. From time to time during play, the stocks in a particular industry will become "hot," rising steadily, almost without regard to the companies' fundamentals in that industry. This can go on for months of play, before ending rather suddenly. Unlike the multi-industry "bubbles" we have long had since early versions of Wall Street Raider -- "tech bubbles" and "biotech bubbles" -- which were always announced with some fanfare, if you paid attention to certain news announcements, these "mini" bubbles occur quietly, and you probably will never notice one, unless you happen to have stocks in a particular industry that keep going up to crazy levels, seemingly for no good reason. (And, like all bubbles, these mini-bubbles will end quickly and badly, with the stocks plummeting back to earth and into the pits.)

    • In previous versions, if you had options on a company that was acquiring another in a stock-for-stock merger, all your options were forcibly settled when the merger went through. That has been changed, so that now your options are simply adjusted based on the terms of the merger, so their value will be essentially unchanged immediately after the merger. The only exception would be where the target company becomes the parent during the merger, because it owned stock of the acquiring company. Options on whichever company becomes the subsidiary will continue to be settled at the time of the merger, at their in-the-money value (if any), since it will no longer be a publicly traded company.

    • We corrected a minor bug, where the Basic Commodity Fund ETF made a capital gain distribution but made no "regular" dividend payment, in which case a shareholder did not receive the capital gain dividend that should have been received, either. We also corrected another bug that, in rare situations, could allow a stock option or futures contract to continue in existence after it should have expired.

    • Made it possible to have ETF's in a saved game that was created in an older version of W$R (6.0 through 6.21), before W$R included ETF's. Now, when the old saved game file is loaded, the program creates an ETF industry (15 exchange-traded funds) on the fly, except in the very rare instance where the game that was saved had already utilized all of those "shell" companies as holding companies, computer companies, etc.

    • We have added a choice of sorting method for the list of bank loans, either by credit rating or alphabetically by the name of the borrower, when your bank is selecting business loans to buy. Previously, the default (and only) sorting method was alphabetical.

    • We have spent hundreds of hours since the last release (on December 1, 2012) tweaking a huge number of items in the program and writing thousands of lines of new code, to improve realism and functionality, but two very simple changes may have more of an impact on game play than any of the above changes: Companies may now borrow, on a bank line of credit, up to as much as 2 twice their adjusted net worth, rather than 1 times adjusted net worth in prior versions, if you are playing at Difficulty Levels 3 or 4. This will sometimes allow for much more borrowing, and more booms and busts in various industries. The old 1 x adjusted net worth borrowing limit for corporations still applies if playing at Difficulty Level 1 or 2, however. ("Adjusted net worth" is net worth less the time value portion of the price of any options owned.) Also, lines of credit for players are not affected by this change.

      In this new version, the multiple times Adjusted Net Worth will range from a low of 1.0x to a maximum of 2.0 x Adjusted Net Worth. The higher interest rates are, the tighter money will become, adding an additional element of realism, as lines of credit will shrink in concert with a higher Prime Rate, once the Prime Rate rises above 8.5%. The new "default" line of credit multiple is 1.5x, which applies when the Prime is in the mid-range of 6.75% to 8.5%. Below 6.75%, the allowable line of credit for corporations will rise (money becomes "easier"), the lower the Prime Rate goes, up to a maximum multiple of 2.0x Net Worth. Thus, the availablility of credit is now partly a function of the banks' Prime Rate. The minimum (1.0x) multiple will apply when the Prime Rate is above 15%, and the the maximum (2.0x) multiple will apply if the Prime Rate falls to 4% or lower.

      For example, if the Prime Rate is 10.5%, a company with an "AAA" credit rating will only have a line of credit up to 1.3x Net Worth. But if the Prime Rate falls to 4.75%, its line of credit would increase to 1.9x Net Worth.

      Offsetting this increase in potential lines of credit, we have added a second wrinkle to the computation of a company's line of credit: Only an "AAA" company gets to borrow the full amounts described above. An "AA"-rated company can borrow only 90% of that maximum amount; an "A"-rated company 80% of the maximum; a "BBB"-rated company only 70% of the maximum amount (Adjusted Net Worth, reduced by any existing debt and accrued taxes).

      Thus, borrowing on its line of credit not only reduces a company's remaining line of credit by the amount borrowed, but also reduces the remaining line of credit further if the borrowing reduces the company's credit rating a notch or more. Accordingly, if a company decides to borrow part, but not all, of its line of credit, it may find that doing so causes the bank to suddenly greatly reduce (or perhaps completely cancel) any remaining line of credit. (Note: This limitation does not affect the lines of credit for players.)

    • A new "Industry Strategy" button has been added to the General Research Menu, when the selected industry is an ETF. Clicking on it brings up a list of all the ETF's, and a brief description of the sector it invests in or strategy it employs, such as trading commodity futures. This is the same information screen that previously was accessed by the "Industry Summary" button. In the new release, the "Industry Summary" button now brings up the same type of summary information for each ETF in the industry as is shown for other industries, except that some data categories, like P:E multiple and Return on Equity, are not relevant for investment funds (ETF's) and are not shown.

  • 6.50 -- Released: December 1, 2012 (Major release)
    • In addition to stock charts, the simulation now provides charts of the Global Stock Index, the Prime Rate, the Long Government Bond and Short Government Bond interest rates, each of the five commodities (spot prices), the GDP growth rate, and of the net worth of each player. To view any of the new charts, simply click on the displayed amount in the "Commodity Prices/Indexes/Indicators" box in the in the lower left corner of the main W$R screen or, for a chart of your net worth, click on the "Net Worth" item on "My Balance Sheet." As with stock charts, clicking on any of these items will cause a 5-year history chart to pop up. These new charts are in response to numerous user requests, and will be useful as another research tool, if you like to play trends.

    • New currency added: Since we now have a considerable number of Wall Street Raider fans in Norway, we have added the Norwegian Krone as an additional currency in which you can configure the simulation. Conversion rates for all 23 currencies in which the game can be played have also been updated again to reflect recent exchange rates.

    • With all the taxes that can be imposed in Wall Street Raider, we have decided to add some tax incentives for non-financial companies that are either growing their business assets or spending heavily on research and development (R&D). These new incentives are in the form of tax credits: an Investment Tax Credit for growth in new business assets of industrial companies and an R&D credit for companies that spend more than 10% of their sales on R&D (but not on other types of productivity spending, such as marketing or advertising).

      The Investment Tax Credit is 7% of newly acquired assets (but not for "used" assets bought from another company). A company will earn this credit if its growth rate is positive or when it makes an asset purchase of new assets (using the "Buy Corporate Assets" button on the Buy/Sell Transactions Menu). For example, if XYZ Corp. has 1,000 million in business assets and is growing at 20% a year, this will represent new business asset investment of 200 million for the year, on which it will earn a 7% tax credit, of 14 million, which will directly reduce its income taxes by that amount, if usable. Better yet, a start-up company that buys 1,000 million of new business assets to get started will earn a 70 million investment tax credit, which may shelter it from taxes for a year or two after it becomes profitable.

      The R&D Credit is equal to 20% of any R&D spending that exceeds 10% of sales, if a company is spending more than 10% of sales on R&D. For example, if ABC Company has 1,000 million in annual sales (and business assets of that amount), and spends 22% of sales on R&D, the excess over 10% is 12% of sales, or 120 million, so the R&D tax credit would be 20% of that, or 24 million.

      The two tax credits are lumped together and reduce a company's taxes each quarter, dollar-for-dollar, to the extent it owes any income tax. If it has tax losses, or its income tax before credits is less than the tax credits, it only uses enough of the credits to eliminate the tax, if any. Any unused credits are carried forward for future use, when the company becomes more profitable. A company that is incurring tax losses or is earning current profits but which still has tax loss carryovers may build up a considerable amount of these unused tax credits in some cases.

      However, if a company is an 80%-owned subsidiary of another company (or more than 80%), they do consolidated tax reporting in W$R. In that case, the sub "sells" all its credits to the parent for cash, which reduces the sub's tax expense and increases its reported earnings by that amount (which is offset by an equal negative adjustment to the parent's earnings, so the parent doesn't get a double benefit when it later uses the "upstreamed" tax credit to reduce ITS taxes and increase its net after-tax income). Thus, a parent company, even if it is a bank, insurer, or holding/trading company, may utilize tax credits that it "buys" from its consolidated (80%-owned) subsidiaries, even though it can't earn any such credits itself.

      Tax credits are not taken into account in computing a company's "tax provision" except to the extent the credits are currently used. Thus, they do not increase a company's reported earnings until used to offset actual tax liabilities of the company. The only exception is when an 80% subsidiary can't use the credits itself and "sells" them to its parent, increasing its income, but not the parent company's, since the "sale" is treated as an expense for the parent. The consolidated earnings reported by the parent are not increased by the credits it bought from the subsidiary, unless the parent itself can use the tax credits to offset its consolidated taxable income. (This is a bit different from real-world tax accounting for tax credits, but is a fairly simple approach and works well here.)

      As with net operating loss carryovers in W$R, unused tax credits are carried forward indefinitely, but the unused balance is reduced by 10% at the end of each company's fiscal year. When a 100%-owned subsidiary company that has accrued or unused tax credits is liquidated in a tax-free liquidation, any such credits may be "inherited" by the parent company, though that will usually be minimal, since a 100% sub would have been "selling" its credits to the parent each quarter. If the sub's tax loss carryovers would have been lost (when it is a holding company), its unused tax credits will also be lost when it liquidates.

    • In prior versions of W$R, when a tax-free liquidation occurred, both companies could lose their tax loss carryovers if the parent (surviving) company was a holding company and the liquidated subsidiary was not, and the only way the tax loss carryovers of the subsidiary could be transferred to the parent was if both were in the same industry and were not holding/trading companies. If the subsidiary was a holding/trading company, its tax loss carryovers would not transfer, and if the parent was a holding/trading company and the subsidiary was not (i.e., it was an operating company, such as a retailer, airline, etc.), BOTH companies would lose any tax loss carryovers in a liquidation.

      In this new version, we have simplified and loosened these rules a bit. Now, if the liquidated subsidiary is a holding/trading company, its tax losses (and any unused tax credits) are lost in a liquidation, as before. However, if the parent company is a holding/trading company and it liquidates an operating company subsidiary, the parent company (only) will lose its tax loss carryovers and tax credits, but will succeed to any tax loss carryovers or unused tax credits of the liquidated subsidiary. If both companies are holding/trading companies, and both have tax loss carryovers, only the tax losses of the liquidated subsidiary will be lost.

    • Another major loophole has been closed in this release, in the interests of (somewhat) greater realism. Previously, there were no limits on the number of put or call options you could buy or short on any one company, provided you didn't control the company (if buying puts or shorting calls on it), and if you had enough buying power -- or a good enough credit rating if shorting options. Thus, if you were sure the price of company XYZ was going to go through the roof, you could repetively buy call options on it (or sell puts), 10% at a time, until you had positions totaling far over 100% of the number of total shares of stock the company had outstanding.

      The saved game file one W$R player sent us, in which he had accumulated over $100 trillion in net worth, showed he had sold short calls on several thousand percent of the stock of one high-priced company, whose stock had sunk almost to zero, so that the profit that was going to be earned on all those calls when they expired was going to be in the trillions!

      That is no longer allowed. You (and all the companies you control) can now only buy calls on a given stock up to a maximum of 100% of the company's stock -- or sell puts short on up to 100% of the company's stock (or you can do both). A similar 100% limit applies to selling calls or buying puts on a single stock.

    • The commodity price trends algorithms have been significantly improved and made more realistic, in terms of news events, interest rate levels and trends, oil prices, and economic growth rates. We have also tinkered a bit with interest rate differentials, making short-term bond yields somewhat more volatile than other interest rates, when rates are at extremes.

    • A new scenario has been added that involves oil pipelines in the Persian Gulf region and another economic scenario, regarding a European debt crisis and civil chaos due to austerity measures, has been added.

    • A new "ethical choice" scenario has been added for banks, with regard to the possibility of engaging in a sleazy marketing campaign targeting senile elderly banking customers.

  • 6.40 -- Released: July 1, 2012 (Minor release)
    • A new "ethical scenario" has been added (involving sale of untested vaccines to a Third World country), for biotech or pharmaceutical companies that a player controls.

    • A number of players of Wall Street Raider have requested that the program rules be modified so that they can buy out the stock of a corporate stockholder of XYZ Company when they do not control that stockholder, since the only way that was possible was either by a merger (not always feasible) or, if they already controlled XYZ Company, by having it do a "greenmail" buyback to buy out the (unwanted) stockholder. That was often not possible where XYZ Company's credit was too poor to do the buyback. Thus, it was often impossible to obtain 100% of the stock of XYZ Company, even if the player or his other companies had more than enough money or credit to do so, unless the player was able to get control of the unwanted shareholder and have it sell its stock to the player or one of the player's other controlled companies.

      In this release, we have made it possible for a player or company to make a formal offer to buy out an unwanted corporate shareholder (but not stock owned by another player or owned by a company controlled by another player). Now, if you wish to buy out some or all of the stock of a shareholder of XYZ Company, you can select it as the seller, and can make a tender offer for some or all of its shares (incurring legal fees when you do so). Your offer must be at a price at least 10% above the current market price to be considered, or often much higher. Sometimes the unwanted stockholder will accept your offer, sometimes not. The higher your bid, the better your chances of having your offer accepted. (A bit of advice: make your first offer a good one, as the seller will often demand an even higher price if it rejected your first, "lowball" bid.)

      The same procedure now also applies when doing a "greenmail" buyback of stock from an uncontrolled corporate stockholder of XYZ Company. Previously, you could do so at a flat 25% premium over the market price of the XYZ stock. Now you must make an offer that is least 10% over the market price and wait to see if it is accepted or not. As before, you cannot do a greenmail buyback of stock from a shareholder you control (conflict of interest!) or from another player or from a corporate stockholder that is controlled by another player. (You can't make another player sell his or her stock, in short.)

    • Several refinements have been made to the algorithms that sometimes prevent you from buying stock in an industry that you would dominate or monopolize if you controlled that company. In prior versions, you would be blocked from buying ANY stock in such a company, even if your intended purchase would not give you control of it. As revised, you are now allowed to buy stock in such a competitor, as long as the purchase does not give you control of it. Also, in some cases you may be warned that your companies will be saddled with antitrust lawsuits if you go ahead with a takeover, giving you a chance to cancel the acquisition, or go ahead and take the risk. In other cases, as before, a government antitrust agency will block your takeover.

    • Research Reports now tell you, for industrial companies, if the company and other companies affiliated with it (under common control by one player or by one company) have a combined market share of more than 25% in their industry. This will save you from having to do additional research to determine if a particular company may be a target for antitrust lawsuits, if you invest in it (or if you are looking for a company that is vulnerable on antitrust grounds, so that you can file suit against it).

    • In prior versions, if the program selected an antitrust "target" for a lawsuit, when 2 or more companies under common control dominated market share in an industry, it always targeted the company with the largest market share of the affiliated group of companies. Now, the largest company (by market share) will usually be the target of such suits, but occasionally one of the related companies will instead be selected as the defendant.

    • Various loopholes have been plugged. For example, a company may no longer buy back or call any of its bonds prior to maturity if it has a weak credit rating, if allowing it to do so would impair the assets available for the senior creditors, such as bank lenders or, in the case of banks or insurance companies, their depositors or insurance policyholders. Also, when a player loses control of a company that is spending at a very high rate on R&D or marketing, or is growing at an extremely rapid rate, the company will now immediately cut back its spending rate and growth rate. This makes it more difficult for a player to establish settings, just before selling a stock, that will cause earnings (and the stock price) to soon drop precipitously, after which a player could buy back control once the stock is depressed and then lower those settings again, to instantly improve its profitability. That large loophole is now (mostly) closed.

    • The algorithms that calibrate the effects of contango (or backwardation) on commodity futures prices have been tweaked in various ways to make their effects more realistic and to better take into account the influence of interest rates, spot price levels (elevated or depressed), and price trends in the commodity, when determining the degree of contango or backwardation. The net effect is to (generally) create more volatility in the pricing of the longer-term futures contracts (which may be created for terms as long as five years).

    • Fixed minor bug that sometimes displayed the wrong date for the next earnings release on the main screen for the current "Active Entity," an error that could occasionally occur when the end of a quarter coincided with the end of the player's turn.

  • 6.35 -- Released: April 1, 2012 (Minor release)
    • In this release, we have completely revised the options pricing algorithm, making it more realistic in general (using present value concepts and comparisons to actual option price statistics for some of the most actively traded options in the real world). The algorithm now also analyzes the last 24 months' stock price fluctuations for a company's stock, and adjusts the option time premium (price) upward for stocks with significantly above average "Beta" (volatility) or downward for less volatile stocks. Thus, a $50 call option on XYZ Co. for 1 year when the stock is $50 might sell for $8 at one point in the game, and later, after a period when the stock of XYZ has been very volatile, but is still at $50, an identical one-year $50 call option on its stock might sell for $9, based on its recent stock price history.

      Option pricing now also takes into account the general level of interest rates and dividends that are expected to be paid on the underlying stock during the term of the option, which will tend to increase the price of puts and decrease the price of calls if there is a significant dividend yield.

    • Option spreads (the difference between the bid and ask prices for an option) have been made more realistic. In prior versions, there was a flat 5% bid/ask spread. In this version, options with strike prices near the market price will have narrower spreads, as low as 2%, while options that are far "out-of-the-money" (which are less actively traded in real-world option markets) will have spreads that widen to as much as 15%, and in-the-money options may have spreads of up to 5%, if deep "in-the-money."

    • New information has been added to research reports on companies, alerting you if a stock's price history over the past 2 years has been one of high volatility or relatively stable ("low Beta"), as well as when a stock is trading at or near its 52-week high or low stock price.

    • ETF's (Exchange-Traded Funds), which were introduced in the last release (v. 6.30), did not engage in interest rate swaps (derivatives contracts betting on the direction of interest rates). In this new version, one such ETF, the Financial Shares Fund, is now allowed to gamble on interest rate swaps. In addition, banks, brokers, and insurers, which typically act as counterparties with companies wanting to do swaps, are allowed to engage in such contracts with net long or net short positions of up to $500,000 million (1/2 trillion), instead of the previous limit of $100,000 million, adding a bit more risk to them.

    • Stock charts of ETF's are adjusted for prior periods to reflect capital gain distributions, reducing prior period prices per share by the amount of any capital gain. This makes ETF stock charts more accurately reflect the performance of the fund, where the ETF has regularly been distributing substantial capital gains dividends.

    • Numerous minor improvements have been made. For example, lists of owned or shorted options, commodity futures, or interest rate swap contracts are now sorted by expiration dates, showing the nearest expirations first. In addition, the "Analyst's ratings" of "Hold," "Sell," or "Strong Sell" are now usually accompanied by a target price, if significantly different from the current market price of the stock.

  • 6.30 -- Released: January 1, 2012 (Major release)
    • We've added a new industry -- Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF's). These are 15 investment companies that are passive investors in various sectors, such as Automotive, Hi-Tech, Health Care, Energy, Basic Commodities, Asian stocks, and the like. The funds usually trade at a price that is within 2% of their net asset value per share, and usually hold 15 stocks, owning no more than 10% of any company they invest in. Like other companies, they sometimes borrow from a bank or issue bonds. However, unlike other companies, ETF's do not pay income tax or any of the various taxes on capital like Carbon Tax, Corporate Shares Tax, HealthCare Tax, Oil Windfall Profits Tax, etc. To retain its "investment company" status, an ETF in W$R must pay out 90% of its net income from dividends and interest (reduced by any interest expense and an annual management fee of 0.4% of assets). It also has to distribute 100% of any capital gains it has from sales of stocks or options. Capital losses are carried forward and shelter any subsequent capital gains the ETF realizes.

      An ETF that has one stock that grows to exceed 50% of its total assets will sell off some or all of that stock, to remain diversified. If an ETF has incurred substantial debts, it may also sell off some of its largest stock holding to raise cash. On the other hand, if an ETF has accumulated too much cash, and has no debts, it may make a tax-free "return of capital" distribution in addition to regular dividends. A return of capital distribution reduces the recipient's tax basis (cost) of his or her stock of the ETF.

      An ETF that holds less than 15 different stocks may, on occasion, sell put options short, which may result in a stock in its industry sector being "put" to it. ETF's that own the maximum of 15 stocks will often sell off the smallest such position and seek to invest excess cash in a larger company. Thus, ETF's trade stocks fairly often.

      One ETF, the Basic Commodities Fund, not only invests in stocks in basic materials companies (such as paper, chemicals, metals, and building materials), but also trades in all of the various types of commodity futures. In each game, one ETF will also engage in regularly selling "covered call" options against its stock holdings, as a hedging technique and to earn additional income.

      No player or company can control an ETF. If a player or company obtains voting control, or even if any single entity owns or controls more than 15% of an ETF in W$R, the ETF is instantly disqualified as an "investment company" and simply becomes a Holding/Trading Company at that time, fully subject to taxes. If it has net capital loss carryovers at the time it is disqualified, the capital losses are converted into net operating losses for tax purposes, however.

      ETF shares can be bought and sold by players or their controlled companies just like corporate stocks.

    • The database search screen has been modified. Now, instead of searching for companies whose earnings increased (compared to the previous year, same quarter) by a specified percentage in the most recent quarter, you can search for companies whose PROJECTED earnings for the next quarter exceed the same quarter in the prior year by the percentage you specify.

    • To give a break to smaller companies, a tax credit of up to $10 million (U.S.) against taxes on capital is allowed each quarter for corporations whose total capital taxes liability is $10 million or less. This applies to the U.N. Carbon Tax, Health Care Tax, Oil Windfall Profits Tax, Personal Holding Company Tax, and Corporate Shares Tax. If the total of such taxes for a company would be $10 million or less for the quarter, no capital taxes are due. (But companies must still pay income tax on their taxable profits.) Individual players receive no tax credit against the Corporate Shares Tax or the Wealth Tax (although, as in previous versions, the wealth tax only applies to a player's net worth that exceeds $1 billion).

    • We made several modifications to the algorithms for computing "contango" and "backwardation" for commodity futures pricing, to make futures pricing more realistic, with generally greater differences from the current "spot" price of the commodity.

    • Increased time span for futures, so you can now buy or sell commodities for 60 months out into the future, versus 36 months in prior versions.

  • 6.21 -- Released: October 21, 2011 (Minor release and bug-fix; free upgrade if you have purchased v. 6.20)
    • When a player or company creates an interest rate swap, the fixed interest rate that is counter-offered by the broker, bank, or insurance company you have to deal with is usually somewhat higher or lower than the actual current rate, and if so is always to your disadvantage. For instance, if you want to be "long" the current 9% Prime Rate (where you receive a fixed rate payment at that level), a bank or other dealer may only offer to do the deal if you instead accept an 8% fixed rate. In this new version, if your company that is initiating the swap is itself a securities broker, bank, or insurance company, you get a better deal -- the "haircut" you would otherwise have to take is cut in half (as a professional courtesy). Thus, in the foregoing example, if the formula would otherwise call for a counter offer of 8% instead of the actual current Prime Rate of 9%, the algorithm will split the difference if your entity initiating the swap is, for example, a bank, so the counter-offer would be at a fixed rate of 8.5%, instead of 8%. (Our thanks to a W$R fan who suggested that his bank or broker should get a better deal than a mere "civilian" when initiating an interest rate swap, an idea which made sense to us!)

    • Fixed obscure bug that could pop up on rare occasions, where two companies could both have the same stock symbol ("STO"). Corrected the CORPNAME.DAT file by changing the stock symbol for Stone Container from "STO" to "STON".

  • 6.20 -- Released: October 1, 2011 (Major release)
    • A new type of derivatives trading has been added in this release. Players or companies may now enter into interest rate "swaps" with unrelated companies (usually with "sharks" like brokerage houses), usually on initially unfavorable terms. Swap agreements can be in effect for up to 5 years and can be based on the Prime Rate charged by banks, or the yield to maturity of either the long-term or short-term government bonds. Players or companies can take huge risks with these swaps, on principal amounts of 100 times net worth or, if less, 100,000 million (or 100,000 billion in some currencies). Any player or company with a "B" or better credit rating can get in on this action, for better or worse.

      In such contractual swaps, the "long" party agrees to receive from the "short" party a fixed rate of interest each quarter during an agreed term (the present rate for the type of contract chosen, or a rate near that) and agrees in exchange to pay the "short" party whatever rate is in effect at the end of each quarter during the contract term. At the end of each calendar quarter, the swap agreement results in one of the two parties making a payment to the other for the difference in the agreed fixed rate and the actual current rate at that date.

      Thus, if you are the "long" party on a Prime Rate contract, you are betting that the Prime Rate will go down, so you are locking in the current high interest rate. The counterparty is taking your bet, and will profit if the Prime Rate goes up, rather than down, while the swap remains in effect. For example, if you are "long" the Prime Rate and are receiving a fixed rate of 8% on a principal amount of 100 million and the Prime Rate is 6% at the end of a quarter, you will be receiving the difference, or 2%, annualized (1/4 of 2 million, or .5 million for a calendar quarter). On the other hand, if the Prime goes up to 11%, you will be losing 3%, annualized, each quarter that the Prime Rate is at 11%.

      Doing these swaps is not for the faint of heart, since the "professionals" you will have to deal with on the other side of each transactions are usually brokerage houses, banks, or insurers, and they will only deal with you on their terms -- which routinely favor them. For example, if the current Prime Rate is 12% and you think it will soon decline, you may want to go "long" on a swap contract on the Prime Rate. However, the "money runners" who deal in these contracts are not stupid, and they won't usually agree to give you a fixed rate of 12%. Instead, they might offer to do the swap at 10.5% or, if you want to do the swap only for the next 1 or 2 quarters, they might offer you a fixed rate of 11.5% on the swap. Take it or leave it. Doing swaps with these cutthroat financial types is a bit like trying to win at the craps tables at Las Vegas -- possible, but the odds are stacked against you. They are not in business to lose money to amateurs like you.

      As in the real world, these dangerous derivatives do not show up on the balance sheets of companies or players, but can have devastating (or wonderful) effects, due to the huge leverage implied. (In the real world, some major banks have TENS OF TRILLIONS of dollars of such "bets" outstanding.) No money changes hands at the time you enter into a swap, and the swap contracts are not given any value in computing your net worth.

      Players or their companies can get out of such contracts, if they become unfavorable, but only by paying a large termination fee of as much as 3% of the "notional" (principal) amount of the swap. Otherwise, the only other way to get out of a swap is for one party to go bankrupt! (If you liquidate a subsidiary into its parent corporation in a tax-free liquidation, the parent assumes the subsidiary's position in any swap contracts the subsidiary was a party to. In a taxable liquidation, the company being liquidated has to pay the termination fee to get out of any swap agreements, before it can wind up and liquidate.)

    • The "taxable liquidations" routine has been refined to deal with situations where the liquidating company is an 80%-owned (or more) subsidiary of another company. As revised, any taxable income or loss of the subsidiary is passed up to the parent company on a consolidated tax return basis, for the final short tax period of the subsidiary. Thus, for example, if the liquidating company has to sell off stocks or other assets at a large loss in order to liquidate, that tax loss will now "flow" up to the parent company, which will transfer cash to the sub an instant before the liquidation distribution is made, to compensate the sub for the tax benefit of the tax loss that the parent will use to shelter its income from tax.

      In addition, even where the company being liquidated does not have an 80% parent corporation, its final "equity method" (non-cash) earnings or losses for the final short period will flow through proportionately to any controlling or 20%-or-greater corporate shareholders, affecting their reported earnings.

    • We have added, for convenience, a new "List Commodities" button to the "Quick Search Functions" section of the main W$R screen, so you can quickly view your commodity futures positions without having to go through one of the menus. The new button replaces the "Database Search" button, which has been moved back to the "General" research menu, where it was in some older versions. The "Recall DB Search List" button remains on the main screen, so you can still instantly recall your latest Database Search to see if any additional companies currently meet your search parameters.

    • The "Personal Holding Company Tax" that is sometimes imposed when you are playing at Difficulty Level 4 has been modified. When it applies, it is now based on the company's total assets, less any Business Assets and Working Capital. In prior versions, it applied to the company's net worth, less the amount of its Business Assets and Working Capital, if any.

    • Because of major changes in real world currency values, such as the decline of the value of the U.S. dollar and the sharp rise in currencies such as the Aussie dollar and Swiss Franc, we have updated the exchange rates for all the currencies in the simulation to reflect recent (September, 2011) values.

  • 6.11 -- Released: December 9, 2010 (Minor release)
    • When you (the player) are the CEO of a company, your personal Financial Profile now shows the year in which you first were elected CEO (and president) of that company. This is important in determining the amount of the bonus you will receive each year, if the company has achieved good earnings growth each year for the past several years. (Your bonus compensation formula only gives you credit for those increasing earnings for the years in which you were the CEO.)

    • Where a player has made a prepayment of estimated income taxes and a "Wealth Tax" on billionaires applies, the player's projected Wealth Tax calculation now adds the prepaid tax to the player's wealth, since any income tax refund at year end will be received before the Wealth Tax is computed.

    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 and 6.10, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0, except for v. 3.10.

  • 6.10 -- Released: November 17, 2010 (Minor release)
    • Revisions have been made to commodity trading, imposing limits on contract size and the amount of any commodity a player or company can be net long or net short. In the prior release, a player who accumulated a large net worth could easily enter into commodity contracts for, say, crude oil, in amounts that exceeded all the known oil reserves on the planet many times over. Since that was unrealistic, the new version imposes some limits, to 10,000 contracts per trade for any commodity other than oil, or 100,000 contracts for oil. You can do multiple trades for up to 5 times those amounts in total, net long or net short in any particular commodity.

    • In this revised version, a commodity transaction may only be entered into if a "counterparty" can be found that is able to take the other side of the trade. For example, if you wish to buy 10,000 gold contracts, the program will try to find a company not controlled by any (human) player that is able to sell 10,000 gold contracts short. If no short seller can be found that is able to sell more than 6,000 contracts short, you will only be able to buy 6,000 contracts (although this limitation will rarely, if ever, occur).

    • When a player who has open commodity positions receives a margin call, the program asks the player (if it is the player's turn) if he or she wishes to first liquidate commodity positions, before selling off any stocks. In the prior version, if the player answered "YES," all such positions were immediately liquidated. In this release, the player is allowed to choose which position or positions to liquidate, wholly or in part.

    • Streaming quotes were not updated very frequently in prior versions if the stock ticker was set to run at a low speed. That has been remedied, so that the frequency of updating stock quotes on your streaming quotes list will be reasonably similar at all ticker speeds.

    • Several minor bug fixes, grammatical corrections, and numerous minor improvements and tweaking of algorithms are also included in this update, including a potential serious bug that could cause a player to go bankrupt when getting margin calls, even if he or she still owned commodities or had a balance in a commodities margin account, where the program asked the player if he or she wanted to liquidate commodity positions before selling off stocks, and the player answered "NO." This bug has been fixed in this release.

    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 and 6.0, but not with other versions prior to 6.0.

  • 6.0 -- Released: September 1, 2010 (Major release)
    • Commodity futures trading has been added to this new major release of Wall Street Raider. Players and all companies (except banks and insurance companies) may now engage in buying or shorting commodities futures contracts on five commodities: crude oil, gold, silver, wheat, and corn. Trades can be done with only a 5%(of the notional value of the contract) deposit into a commodities margin account, so the leverage is 20-to-1. This means that if you guess right on the direction of a commodity, you can make a huge profit in a short period of time. On the other hand, if the price moves against you even briefly, it can trigger massive margin calls and you (or your company) can be wiped out in a heartbeat. As in the real world of commodity trading, we have made it EXTREMELY TREACHEROUS and risky in W$R.

    • Commodity futures contracts are traded from 1 to 36 months out on each of the five commodities. Futures prices usually are higher than the "spot" price of a commodity, reflecting to some extent the time value of money tied up in such contracts. (This condition is called "contango.") However, in somewhat rare instances, such as when interest rates are very low and a commodity's price is expected to fall, futures may trade at less than the spot price, a condition called "backwardation."

    • In order to initiate commodity trades, players or companies must have at least a "BBB" credit rating. Both players and companies must maintain a commodities margin account equal to 5% of the value of the futures contract plus any accrued loss on the contract if the price moves against you (or less any accrued gain if the market price of the futures moves favorably for you). Corporations with commodity futures positions must close all such positions if their credit rating falls to "CCC" or worse.

    • The main W$R screen has been modified to show constantly updated spot prices for gold, silver, wheat and corn. (Prior versions already showed the spot crude oil price.) The "Entity Info" pop-up menu now has an additional button, the "List Commodities" button, that lists all futures contracts held or sold short by the current Active Entity. Clicking on the line item for any such contract allows you to instantly close out some or all of that position if you control the entity. Also, the Buy/Sell pop-up menu has a new "Trade Commodities" button. Click on it to view a trading menu on which you first select a commodity to trade, then decide whether to buy it, sell it short, or buy back (cover) some or all of an existing short position in the selected commodity or sell all or part of an existing long position in that commodity.

    • Gains or losses on commodity trades are treated as capital gains or losses in W$R, for players. For corporations, they are generally treated as "extraordinary" gains or losses, and do not affect operating income. However, companies in certain industries can hedge certain commodities that are closely related to their business, and the gains or losses for them are treated as part of operating income, thus affecting reported operating earnings per share. For example, oil and oil service firms that hedge by buying and selling crude oil futures treat gains or losses as operating income, and likewise for Agribusiness companies that hedge by trading wheat or corn, or Precious Metals companies that trade gold or silver. Companies for which certain commodities are a key cost input may also hedge and treat the gains or losses as operating income -- for example, Packaged Foods companies that trade wheat or corn futures and Utilities or transportation companies (Rail, Airline, Shipping, Trucking, Air Freight Couriers) that trade crude futures, since fuel is a major cost input for companies in those industries.

    • Estimated income tax calculations are changed in this release. In prior versions, estimated taxes for players were calculated by extrapolating the tax accrued so far each year out to the end of the year. In this version, if the tax accrued so far includes capital gains, the estimated tax for the whole year is calculated by extrapolating only the "ordinary" taxable income earned thus far and adding to that the tax on net capital gains that have been recorded so far during the year. Thus, it is now no longer assumed that any more capital gains will be recognized during the rest of the year when projecting the total income tax liability that may be owed for the year.

    • In previous versions, players could buy or sell newly created stock options with a strike price at up 50% above or below the current stock price, which made it possible to, for example, buy long-term calls on a stock for a price that barely exceeded the intrinsic ("in-the-money") value of the option, by buying calls at a strike price 50% below the stock price. In this release, new options can only be created with strike prices of no more than 25% above or below the current stock price. Thus, you will now have to pay a fairly significant time value premium (in addition to the intrinsic value of the call) even if you buy a call with a strike price at the lowest price now possible, at 75% of the stock's current price, unless you are buying a call that expires in a near month.

    • This release is not file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions, due to the fact that the amount and types of data related to new and enhanced features has greatly changed the size and content of the saved data files. (Note that files saved with a newer version also cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider. However files from versions 6.0 through 6.30 are all interchangeable.)

    • Because of the many changes in Version 6.0, it is not file-compatible with games saved from prior versions.

  • 5.40 -- Released: June 25, 2010 (Minor release)
    • Rules have been changed for exercise of put or call options. In prior versions, an option could not be exercised if doing so would give a player or company control of the company whose stock was obtained by exercising the option. In the new version, you are prohibited from gaining control via an option exercise only if gaining control of the target company would cause you to violate antitrust rules about dominating too large a share of any industry group.
    • Clicking on the "GO" button on the main screen now has an added function, besides making a company whose stock symbol you have entered next to it become the "active entity." In this new version, clicking on "GO" is also a quick way to close all the "child" dialog boxes that you may have open at the moment, even if some or all of them have been minimized. If the stock and news tickers were running, but had paused when you opened any such child dialog boxes, the tickers will resume movement when the dialog boxes are closed.
    • When a company earnings report pops up while the ticker is running, that company's stock symbol is now temporarily placed in the stock symbol box next to the "GO" button, so that you can simply click on the "GO" button to select that company as the new "Active Entity," in case you want to do research regarding that company, or perhaps have it do a transaction, if you control it. If you don't click on the "GO" button, the Active Entity will remain unchanged from what it was before the earnings report popped up, and its name and stock symbol will automatically re-appear once you close the earnings report screen.
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.30, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)

  • 5.30 -- Released: October 1, 2009 (Minor release)
    • A new button function ("Prepay Income Tax" has been added to the "Misc. Menu" on the main W$R screen. Players can use this function to add to the estimated income tax paid for the current year. While the W$R program automatically sets aside up to 90% of your year-to-date income tax liability at the end of each quarter, you may still owe a large tax bill some times, at the end of the year. This feature lets you prepay your expected taxes NOW, so you won't forget and invest all your cash in assets that you might be forced to sell at year-end, if you owe a significant amount of taxes at that time.
    • In prior versions of W$R, when a company "spun off" stock of a subsidiary in a TAXABLE spin-off, each recipient of the subsidiary stock was fully taxable on the distribution, in an amount equal to the value of the stock received. This version makes a change in that rule, so that a distribution to a corporation that owns 80% of more of the distributing company is treated as nontaxable, even if the spin-off is otherwise a taxable one. This is congruent with the W$R rule for "extraordinary dividends" to an 80% parent company, which are also non-taxable, like other (regular) dividends to an 80% parent. Other refinements to the information provided during a spin-off have also been made, as well as to the tax treatment of the dividends to different classes of shareholders (individuals, corporations owning under 20%, or 20% to 79%) when a spin-off is taxable. (Corporations that receive dividends are only taxable on 30%, 20% or 0% of the dividends they receive in W$R, depending upon whether they own under 20%, under 80%, or over 79% of the paying company.)
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.20, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)

  • 5.20 -- Released: July 1, 2009 (Minor release)
    • In this version, if an anti-trust lawsuit is initiated against a defendant company, the company incurs an immediate charge (an accrual) to the current quarter's earnings for the estimated after-tax costs of legal fees to defend against the suit, and that amount is added to its Reserve for Contingencies. Later, when the antitrust suit is litigated, the pre-tax cost of the actual legal fees the company pays at that time will also be charged to income, but will be offset by a credit to income equal to the after-tax cost of such legal fee expenses, by withdrawing that amount from the contingency reserve, to the extent the reserve is still large enough to cover such costs. Thus, the legal fees expense will be recognized in the quarter when the lawsuit is initiated, not when the case is litigated (unless the reserve has been eliminated for other reasons first, such as to manipulate earnings).
    • Any taxes on capital for the upcoming quarter are now shown as a liability on a company's balance sheet, as a separate line item just below the "Accrued Income Tax Payable" line item.
    • The main screen now shows, at all times, the date of the next earnings report release for the current "active entity" (if it is a corporation).
    • The "Database Search" screen now includes an item for selecting stocks based on Analyst's Rating, which can be used to only select stocks with a "Strong Buy" rating, or any of the other 4 rating categories: "Buy," "Hold," "Sell," or "Strong Sell."
    • After clicking the "Who's Ahead?" button, the screen that comes up now displays the difficulty level (1 to 4) at which the current game is being played.
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.10, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)

  • 5.10 -- Released: May 1, 2009 (Minor release)
    • The automatic addition of stocks to the Streaming Stock Quotes List can now be turned off, if desired, using a toggle item on the "Settings" pulldown menu.
    • A new "Clear" button has been added to the Streaming Stock Quotes List section on the main screen. Click on it to clear the entire streaming quotes list, if you decide you want to start a new list from scratch.
    • A new "Fill" button has been added to the Streaming Stock Quotes List section on the main screen. Click on it and any stocks you own (or are short) will be added to the list, if the list is not full. In addition, if there are still any open slots, any other companies you control will then be added to the list,
    • The six types of new taxes (on capital) that were added by Version 5.0 will now only be imposed if you are playing at the new Difficulty Level 4, which is otherwise identical to Difficulty Level 3. Thus, when playing at the highest difficulty levels, you will now be given a chance to choose whether or not any of those taxes might be applied, (in case you think that dealing with a number of punitive new taxes on capital and wealth is a bit "too realistic" for you).
    • The bonus compensation formula for CEO's has been completely revised and made more complicated. However, if you control 51% of a company's stock, you will continue to earn a bonus at least equal to 100% of your salary, even if the company is performing miserably. Otherwise, if you control less than 51% of the stock, bonuses are now more difficult to earn, as the company must increase earnings by 15% over the prior year to earn a bonus of 150% of salary, and no bonus at all is earned in the calendar year in which you become the CEO. But if your company increases earnings by 15% each year for two years after you became CEO, your bonus is 300% of salary in the second year; add a third consecutive year of 15% earnings increases, and the bonus is 500% of salary in the third year (and each of those percentages is doubled if you control 51% or more of the stock -- so you could conceivably earn bonuses equal to as much as 10 times your base salary).
    • Also, the program now keeps track of the year in which you were elected CEO of a company, and you won't earn any bonuses except for the years AFTER the year you were hired AND where a company has a string of 15% of better earnings increases. (This feature was added so that you can't take control of a company with a history of earnings increases, make yourself its CEO, and begin collecting huge bonuses based on what the company did before you arrived). The only exception is when you control 51% or more of the stock of the company, in which case you receive a minimum bonus equal to 100% of salary, regardless of earnings performance or when you became the CEO.
    • Other minor changes: When changing the name of a company (when doing a startup or otherwise), the old, discarded name would previously appear on the streaming stock quotes list for a while, until the stock ticker ran for few moments and replaced it with the new name when updating the list. Now the new name replaces the old one on the list immediately. Also, when doing a startup of a new company, the company could sometimes be confronted almost immediately with an "ethical choice scenario," unless Cheat Mode was turned off. Now, in the registered version only, a startup won't be offered such an ethical choice dilemma until it has been in existence more than 2 years, which is a bit more realistic for most scenarios.
    • The algorithms for adjusting the terms of options contracts have been improved to better reflect transactions such as spin-offs, extraordinary dividends, stock offerings, mergers, and stock buy-backs, to prevent "unfair" losses or windfall gains on options held or shorted on companies doing such transactions.
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.0, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same version of Wall Street Raider.)

  • 5.0 -- Released: April 1, 2009 (Major release)
    • Options trading has now been extended to all corporations. All corporations except banks and insurance companies are now allowed to buy put and call options, sell "covered calls" against stocks they own, or sell naked puts or calls. They may purchase puts or calls if they have the cash to do so, but may only sell "naked" puts or calls if they meet certain creditworthiness requirements, including a minimum "BBB" credit rating. As in the previous release, a corporation controlled by a player cannot sell naked calls on a stock also controlled by the player, or buy puts on such a stock, except to the extent the parent corporation is selling calls and/or buying puts to hedge its ownership of stock in the subsidiary, in order to prevent conflicts of interest (using options as the equivalent of short-selling stock of a company you control).

      Banks and insurance companies are only allowed to sell "covered calls" against stocks they own, or buy puts to hedge such stock positions (or do some combination of the two). They may not speculate by buying calls or selling "naked" puts or calls. However, they may buy back calls they have sold short or may sell puts they have bought as hedges.

    • While corporations (other than banks and insurance companies) can usually speculate by selling "naked" puts calls short, there are limits based on the seller's financial strength. To make such "naked" option short sales, a corporation but have at least a "BBB" credit rating or higher, and cannot sell naked options if doing so would cause the total short liability (to buy the naked options back) to exceed 25% of the selling company's net worth. Thereafter, if the short liability exceeds 50% of net worth, the selling company will have to buy back some or all of the shorted options.
    • In this new version, buying or selling options may sometimes be limited, since the Options Exchange now must lay off the risk for each new option you create, by finding a corporation that is able to take the other side of the contract. Thus, if you wish to buy calls on 5% of IBM, the program will search for a seller corporation that is able and permitted to sell calls short on 5% of IBM, under the same terms (same option exercise price and maturity date). If your transaction is too large, or if you have created too many large options contracts, you may not always be able to find a counterparty, at some point. (It is no longer an infinite financial universe in W$R....)
    • The main W$R screen has been improved in a number of ways, to enhance usability and appearance. Six additional buttons have been added to the main screen "Quick Search Functions" area, so it is no longer necessary to open up a menu to bring up a Research Report, Earnings Report, Financial Profile, Shareholder List, Portfolio List, or Options Portfolio List. One mouse click now brings up any of those items. Three buttons that were formerly on the main screen (Market Share, Most Cash, and Largest Tax Losses) have been moved to the General Research menu.
    • A new button has been added to the General Research Menu, the "Largest Market Cap" button. Click it and a list of the 100 largest companies will be displayed, ranked by their stock market capitalization (stock price times number of shares issued = capitalization). This list also shows each company's credit rating and who, if anyone, controls it.
    • Buy Call, Sell Call, Buy Put, and Sell Put buttons have been added to the Buy/Sell Menu, for all corporations, now that options trading is permitted for all corporations.
    • If there are any open slots on the Streaming Quotes List (which displays streaming quotes for up to 15 stocks), a stock will now be added to the list automatically if it is selected as the "Active Entity" (unless you have recently deleted it from the list).
    • In the previous release, a feature was added that allowed a player to manipulate the earnings of a company of which he or she was the C.E.O., by adding to or drawing from "contingency reserves." This release extends that feature to any company that a player controls, whether or not he or she is C.E.O. of that company. Buttons for these functions have been added to the "Other Trans." Menu. The prior restriction, allowing such transactions only for a company of which you were the C.E.O., was too easy to get around, and simply was an unnecessary annoyance, so we have eliminated the C.E.O. requirement.
    • In prior versions, you could use the "Spread Rumors" feature to bring down the stock price of a competitor's company, just before a game ends, so that there is no time for the opponent to sue you for slander and possibly win a judgment against you. In this version, you can no longer use the "Spread Rumors" feature in the last year of a game.
    • In keeping with the spirit of these dismal times, we have decided that you fat-cat billionaire players, Big Oil, and other greedy mega-corporations were getting away with not paying enough taxes (since the maximum income tax rate in W$R only goes as high as 75%), so we have added a few new taxes on capital, none of them deductible from your income tax, to make life more interesting and more like today's mad, mad world. These new taxes on capital, which can pop up at any time (and can sometimes get repealed) are as follows:
      • A "Wealth Tax" (annual) on players, but only to the extent your net worth exceeds $1 billion U.S. (or the equivalent);
      • A "Windfall Profits Tax" on capital assets of oil and oil-related industries that applies when oil prices are high, regardless of whether the companies have any profits;
      • A "Health Care Tax" that can be imposed on the capital assets of drug and biotech companies, as well as on health care providers and medical equipment companies;
      • A "Corporate Shares Tax" that can be imposed on corporations that are incorporated in the U.S. and some other countries (paid by the shareholders of those companies, based on the stock values);
      • A global warming "Carbon Tax" on a wide range of industries that either produce energy or consume a lot of it, like airlines, rail, trucking, and utilities, based on their capital (business) assets, not on profits (Chinese and Indian companies are exempted); and
      • A "Personal Holding Company Tax" that applies to a company that is either a "pure" holding/trading company or has less than 20% of its assets invested in business capital assets and working capital, if the company is owned directly (26% or more) by you, the player. This tax is paid by the company on its net worth (if any) reduced by the amount of its business assets. (Banks and insurers are exempted.)

      Tax rates and details for all these new taxes, and whether or not currently imposed, can quickly be found by clicking on the "Economic Statistics" button on the General Research menu. Each tax is paid quarterly except the "billionaire's" (wealth) tax, which is paid at the end of each year.

      Of course, not all of these taxes will be imposed in any one game (usually), and the tax rates are often rather low, but they will be imposed often enough to keep things interesting, if you are in danger of becoming too filthy rich....

    • Players who like for their controlled companies to have high stock prices (a la Berkshire-Hathaway) will no longer have the stock price automatically split at prices above 1,000. Instead, splits won't be mandatory unless the stock price rises to 100,000 or above.
    • The Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization provisions have been modified so that companies emerging from bankruptcy will now usually have at least a "CC" credit rating, meaning larger writedowns for shareholders and creditors, but the bankrupted company will now have a somewhat stronger balance sheet and a better chance of avoiding another bankruptcy proceeding.
    • When trying to change banks, if you have a very large account balance (cash) to transfer to the new bank, it will not accept such a transfer of "hot money," which might have caused its stock to soar -- but only until you moved the money to yet another bank. (Sound of another large loophole clanging shut....)
    • Players cannot sell "unvested" executive stock options, but the options "vest" and can be sold when the player is in dire circumstances and receives a margin call. In prior versions, a player could create a margin call situation in order to be able to sell the options, but now all bonds and stocks must be sold first when a player receives margin calls or has a negative cash balance that can't be canceled by borrowing. (Another, small, loophole closed.)
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 4.90, but not with versions prior to 3.10.

  • 4.90 -- Released: December 1, 2008 (Major release)
    • By popular demand, a print feature has been added to various research screens, enabling users to print out a financial statement, earnings report, company research report, portfolio listing, industry summary, etc. Dialog boxes whose contents are printable will appear with a "PRINT" button on the bottom of the dialog box, enabling one-click printing. (Some copyrighted material, such as various cheat scenarios, still may not be printed.)
    • As the CEO of a company, you can now "manage" earnings (to some extent), by underreporting profits, burying the difference in a "Reserve for Contingencies," for possible future expenses, such as litigation, product liability, environmental liability, and the like. You can add up to 5% of a quarter's profits to this reserve, which may be advisable if your company is showing a large profit increase of say, 25% or more. Reducing that profit report by 5% won't have much effect on your company's stock price, and you will be "banking" some of that profit to be taken back on a future rainy day. (Or, if your company expects a quarterly loss, you can increase that reported loss by 10%, as an addition to the contingency reserve -- again without seriously affecting your company's stock price, since the company is already reporting losses, and a little larger loss won't be noticed.)

      Companies not controlled by a player will also routinely add to their Reserve for Contingencies, but only when they are expecting a profit, not a loss.

      Once a significant amount of reserves have been set aside over a number of quarters or years, you may then want to draw on that account to manipulate earnings UPWARD. For example, if your company is riding high, with its stock benefiting from a long string of steady profit increases, but is finally expecting profits to drop from $100 million last quarter to $85 million in the current quarter, you might choose to pull $20 million out of the Reserve, with the connivance of your accountants, arguing that your reserves were more than adequate, thus increasing reported profits to $105 million for the current quarter, and keeping the steady string of profit increases intact (and your company's stock aloft). Additions or withdrawals from the reserve have no tax effect, since additions were not deductible.

      Banks are treated somewhat differently, since they are much more closely regulated and scrutinized by the government. Instead of creating a Reserve for Contingencies for a bank, you simply add additional amounts to its Bad Debt Reserve, reducing the need for future additions, but you aren't allowed to make discretionary reductions of this reserve (which is only reduced according to a formula applicable to all banks, based on the size and quality of its loan portfolio, or when bad debts are charged off against the reserve).

      Two new buttons have been added to the "Other Transactions Menu" for decreasing earnings (adding amounts to the reserve) or increasing earnings (taking amounts back out of the reserve). On or both of these buttons appear if you are CEO of the current "Active Entity" and also control it.

    • Where a proposed merger is announced regarding a targeted company that you control, you are now (as an "insider") prohibited from trading in options on that company while the merger is pending, except to close out any existing long or short options positions on the company. (But you can still buy more of its stock, in the hope of a quick profit when the merger goes through, though you will have to make a "tender offer" at well above the current market price, which may not be worthwhile. Or, you may sell your stock if you have doubts about the merger.)
    • Where a holding company you control is about to try to merge with a target company and you or your company buy up call options on the target company in the hope of making a quick profit on the run-up in its stock when the merger is consummated, you or your company will now be forced to close the option positions, based on the target's pre-offer stock price -- thus closing a big loophole and preventing a conflict of interest (insider trading).
    • The "My News" button functions have been enhanced. In the new version, this feature will not only collect and display any recent news items regarding you, companies you control, or stocks you own directly (or are short), but now will also look for news items on any stocks on which you (or any company you control) has an options position or owns any stock in.
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 4.80, but not with versions prior to 3.10.

  • 4.80 -- Released: October 1, 2008 (Minor release)
    • A player or company owning a put or call option that is "in-the-money" may now exercise the option prior to its expiration date, by using the "Exercise Call Option" or "Exercise Put Option" buttons that have been added to the Other Transactions Menu. (Such early exercises are subject to the same limitations as exercise at expiration, such as not being able to acquire control of a company by an option exercise, having sufficient funds to exercise a call option, not buying up the last "public" shares of a company, and not being able to exercise an "unvested" executive stock option.)
    • When an unrelated company offers to merge with a company in which you or your controlled companies own stock, you will now be given a notice of the offer, including the identity of the offering company and the offer price per share (which will be paid in the form of the offeror's stock at its value on the date the merger is consummated). For example, if YourCo sells for $25 a share and AcquirerCo offers $30 a share, this means that if the merger occurs, AcquirerCo will issue an amount of its stock which has a value of $30 for each share of YourCo. The notice also specifies the date (about one month ahead) on which you will have to vote your shares for or against the merger proposal. That will give you a month (of game time) to do some research on the acquiring company and decide how you wish to vote.
    • Research Reports now show more detail on pending antitrust lawsuits by or against the company, including the amount of damages being sued for. (The amounts won't show up if you load a game file from a prior version, for antitrust suits that had been filed while playing the older version.)
    • A company profile (financial statement) now includes an additional footnote if there are antitrust lawsuits pending against the company, indicating its maximum exposure.
    • We've plugged a loophole in the prior version, which allowed a company to make an extraordinary dividend distribution without an immediate large (downward) adjustment to its stock price, and plugged a similar loophole regarding a spin-off of stock of a subsidiary.
    • A bug in the tax calculation for exercise of shorted call options has been corrected.
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.70, but not with versions prior to 3.10.

  • 4.70 -- Released: July 1, 2008 (Major release)
    • Changes have been made regarding "executive stock options" for company C.E.O.'s, a new feature added in the previous W$R release. In the new release, such options are still granted to a C.E.O. early in each quarter (at the middle of the first month of the quarter), but each such grant of options on 2% of the employer's stock expires 2 years after the date of grant. Also, instead of having the company buy publicly-traded options on its stock and grant them to the C.E.O., thus hitting the company with a large expense for the value of the options granted at the time of grant, now the company only recognizes an expense to the extent the option has intrinsic value at the expiration date, at which time the option is either bought back by the company or, if the option is exercised, the company issues new stock to the player but buys back an offsetting amount of stock on the open market (transferring it to the player at a loss), to prevent dilution.
    • Executive options are restricted, and cannot be sold for one year after the date granted. However, after that date, the player may sell the option back to the employer company (without a commission), at its current fair market value. Whatever the company pays the player to cancel the option is an expense to the company at that time. (In the shareware version, the options remain restricted until the date of expiration, at which time they will be exercised or bought back by the company for their cash value, if any.)
    • Earnings projections for a company now take into account the value of any executive options that will be expiring before the end of the quarterly reporting period, assuming the current intrinsic value of the option, the excess of the current stock price over the strike price of the option (if any), will become an expense at expiration if the stock price does not change.
    • Under the revised rules, if you are C.E.O. of a company, but lose control of the company AND cease to be its C.E.O. for any reason (such as resigning of being fired), any executive stock options you have from that company that are not yet vested will be revoked -- that is, forfeited. Thus if you take over another player's company, XYZ Corp., of which the other player is the C.E.O., and terminate that player as C.E.O., he or she will also lose (forfeit) all the unvested executive options he or she was granted by XYZ Corp.
    • The program will now warn you with an announcement if you, or a company you control, have option positions (long or short) that are due to expire in mid-month in the following month. The announcements are made just before the end of each month of play.
    • Companies are now able to issue new stock (for cash), at current market value, to the player who controls the company or to another company (other than a bank) that is also controlled by the player. This provides a means of injecting equity capital into a company that is on the verge of bankrupcty, to help stave off the bankruptcy. It also can be a useful way for a parent company to boost its stock ownership to 80% or more (in order to file consolidated tax returns with the subsidiary that issues new stock to it), as in a case where the parent company owns 77% of the stock and a hostile stockholder holds the other 23%.

      Use the "Private Stock Offering" button on the Financing Menu to either do such a transaction, or, as in prior versions, to issue stock to an unrelated "white knight" company as the investor. Unlike public stock offerings or private stock offerings to unrelated "white knight" investors, there is no limit on the number and frequency of the private stock offerings a company can make to the controlling player or companies he/she controls.

    • Companies with ongoing exposure to asbestos or "SuperFund" (environmental) lawsuits are no longer able to float new bond issues or to do public stock offerings (but may still do private stock offerings or mergers).
    • Adjustments are now made in stock price history (for stock chart purposes) to accurately reflect stock issuances and stock buybacks by a company that increased or decreased its outstanding stock by such transactions.
    • The main screen now shows the full current game date at all times, rather than just the quarter and year, or the month and year, as in prior versions of W$R. This is useful to watch, when, for example, you are awaiting a company's next quarterly earnings report (the date of which release is shown in a company's Financial Profile).
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.60, but not with versions prior to 3.10.

  • 4.60 -- Released: March 10, 2008 (Major release)
    • Options trading (call options) has been added for holding/ trading companies and insurance companies, although with some restrictions that don't apply to individual players, since the corporations are not subject to any margin requirements. Thus, an insurance company can only sell "covered" calls (or buy back such calls it has sold short). A holding/trading company can sell covered calls and can also buy calls. Whether options bought or sold by such corporations can be exercised will depend on the exercise (or not) setting for the controlling player. If no player still controls a corporation that has long or short positions in call options at the time the options expire, the options will be settled for cash value (if any), rather than being exercised.
    • Executive stock options are now granted to the CEO of a corporation. Once you've taken control of a corporation and had yourself elected as its CEO, you not only receive cash salary and bonuses from the company, but now you will also receive a grant of stock options (call options) on the company's stock at the beginning of each quarter. Options are granted at an exercise price equal to the current stock price, on 2% of the company's stock, giving you until mid-December of the next year to do whatever it takes to get the price of the stock higher. Best of all, the granting of the option is not taxable to you, the employee, and if you sell the option later, the amount you receive is taxable at the favorable capital gains tax rate. However, there is a catch: The options you receive are restricted and can't (voluntarily) be sold during the year they are received. (In the shareware version, they are restricted until the date of expiration, at which time they will be exercised or sold for cash value, if any.)

      There is another major catch, or trade-off, too: The value of the options when granted is a compensation expense for the company, which can put a major dent in the company's earnings, which may cause the stock to fall and your options to eventually become worthless, unless the company does very well over the following two years. Thus you will have some tough decisions to make, whether to elect yourself as CEO of a company you control, or to instead forego receiving any salary, bonuses or executive stock options from the company.

    • The ability of banks to buy business loans beyond their cash on hand has been expanded, by also counting the new cash (deposits) they will obtain from the new loan/deposit customer if they purchase the loan to such customer from another bank. This makes it easier for your bank to buy more or larger loans.
    • The program now gives you a warning when an "ethical scenario" memo is about to be presented, so you won't accidentally hit the "Enter" key and unintentionally accept the offered scam transaction.
    • The program also gives a player notice in most instances when he or she has lost control of a company whose stock he or she directly holds.
    • The computer player ("Wally Raider") will now try to change its bank lender to a bank it controls, if possible, or else to a large neutral bank, if its loan is held by a hostile bank (one that is controlled by a human player).
    • The "Controlled By:" label in the upperleft corner of the main W$R screen, part of the "Active Entity Selected" group of informational labels, is now clickable. Click on it when a company name or symbol appears there, and doing so will instantly select that company as the "active entity."
    • The "normal" oil price in the simulation has been increased to $100 U.S., now that it seems unlikely that we will be seeing $50 oil again any time soon, in the real world.
    • Currency conversion rates have been updated to reflect more recent values, in light of the sharp drop in the value of the U.S. dollar against the Euro, Yen, Canadian and Australian dollars, and most other currencies since our last release.
    • A tax loophole in prior versions was closed, where a holding/ trading company could buy new business assets to enter an industry as an operating company without losing its tax loss carryovers, despite the change in business.
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.51, but not with versions prior to 3.10.

  • 4.51 -- Released: November 3, 2007 (Minor release)
    • Plugged options trading loophole, where player who acts quickly at start of game to buy call options on various stocks could often reap enormous instant profits by the time the stock price "normalizes" at at a more realistic level. In revised version, options trading is suspended for the first "month" of play in a newly started game. Also, since buying options (such as straddles on a given stock) were too often profitable, because stocks in W$R are too volatile, we've "damped down" the volatility a bit and also made options more expensive to buy (or better to sell short).
    • Stock charts are now available from the beginning of the game, rather than having to wait until 3 months of stock price history has been built up. The program now creates 2 months of "pre-game" stock history for each company, except for a "startup" company that you start up during the game, which still must wait 3 months before charts become available.
    • Rare but potentially significant bug was fixed, which probably has existed since we began tying the amount of a bank's CD customer deposits to cash balances of its customers (players and corporations that borrow from that particular bank). Companies hit by huge losses, resulting in large bank overdrafts could wipe out their bank, if unable to raise enough cash from sales of assets to cover the cash deficit, a result which should not have occurred. Now, if a customer corporation has an "overdraft" the negative balance does not reduce the bank's cash balance. Thus, if XYZ corp has $1,000 million of cash and is hit by a $20,000 million disaster of some type, and goes out of existence, unable to cover the $19,000 cash deficit, the bank's cash and corresponding deposit liability are each only reduced by the $1,000 million amount, not by $20,000 million. (Of course, the bank would also have a loss on any loan it had made to XYZ, if any, as well.)
    • Minor changes in the rules for tax-free spin-offs have been made, regarding a company's history as having been an 80%-owned subsidiary of another company for 5 or more years, and thus being eligible for a tax-free spin-off. In this new version, certain nontaxable transactions, such as dropping the stock of an 80% subsidiary down into another 100%-owned subsidiary, will no longer require the transferred sub to have to start a new history as an 80% sub -- its existing history will "carry over" in such a transaction. Similarly, if the stock of C is 80% owned by B, and B is liquidated (in a tax-free liquidation) into company A, C's 5-year history as an 80% sub of B will carry over, even though C has now become a sub of Company A.
    • This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.50, but not with versions prior to 3.10.

  • 4.50 -- Released: September 1, 2007 (Major release)
    • Newly released Wall Street Raider v. 4.50 now includes stock charts for each of the 1590 corporations in the simulation. Each stock chart shows up to 60 months of recent stock price activity for a company (in the simulation), showing the high, low, and last price of its stock for each month in the period covered, which can give you a good sense of how a company is prospering (or not), at a glance. (Stock charting is not implemented in the "shareware" version of W$R, only in the registered version.)
    • A new "Stock Chart" button has been added on the main W$R screen, in the "Other" grouping of menu buttons. To view a stock chart for the currently selected "Active Entity" (if the selected entity is a corporation, rather than the individual player), you simply click on this new button.
    • A new "pull-down" menu has been added to the main W$R screen, the "Settings Menu." A number of menu items from the formerly lengthy "Game Options Menu" have simply been moved to this new menu, such as Ticker Speed, Currency selection, Cheat Mode, Select Law Firm, Suppress Pop-ups, Suppress Earnings Reports, AutoSave, and the Exercise Options? item. In addition, a new menu item, "Stock Chart Size" has been added to this menu, allowing you to toggle back and forth between large- or small-sized stock charts, whichever you prefer to view, when using the new stock charting feature. (This item is "grayed out" on the Settings Menu in the "shareware" version.)
    • Now that the software keeps track of each company's stock price history for the most recent 5 years, a new line item has been added to the Financial Profile for a company, in the "Stock and Earnings Data" section of the Profile, showing the 52-week high and low prices for the company's stock (adjusted for any stock splits or other equity changes).
    • Prior versions of W$R left open a loophole that allowed users to sell a stock short, then use a controlled company to directly or indirectly take control of the shorted company, and then (after stopping the stock ticker) having the shorted company make several huge restructuring expenditures, or do various financially damaging actions, driving its stock through the floor. That made it easy to pocket a quick profit on the short sale of the stock. That is no longer possible, as you may no longer maintain a short position in stock of a company you control, due to the obvious conflict of interest as an "insider."
    • This release also plugs a similar, but smaller loophole, where a player who owned, for example, 50% of a company could sell calls against that 50%, then sell 30% of the stock, so he or she might still control the company, and could then engage in various losing transactions that would trash the company's stock, thus potentially making more on the short calls on 50% of the company than he or she would lose on the 20% of the stock still owned. In the prior release, this "excess" short options position would eventually be corrected, by a forced sale of the excess short calls (and/or long puts), but not until the company next reported its quarterly earnings. That is no longer possible, as any "excess" hedges will have to be covered immediately after the player sells part of the stock he or she owns (the sale of 30% in the above example), if more than fully hedged after the sale.
    • Currency conversion rates have been updated to reflect more recent values, in light of the sharp drop in the value of the U.S. dollar against the Euro, British pound, Canadian and Australian dollars, and most other currencies since our last release.
    • A new "global warming" news scenario pop-up has been added, and various fictional company names have been replaced by names of hot new (real-world) companies, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill in the restaurant industry.
    • A number of refinements have been made to the bankruptcy procedures, so that banks that fail and are resuscitated by a government injection of funds now receive enough such funds to make the revived bank relatively healthy, rather than barely alive (as before). Also, when a corporation goes bankrupt, while owing bank loans, the bank will now usually receive a significant percentage of the stock in the reorganized company, in exchange for the loan write-off. In prior versions, the bank only received stock in the bankrupt company when the old shareholders lost all of their stock in the reorganization. That is no longer a prerequisite.
    • Minor bug fixes, to the pull-down menu items for several types of settings, such as "Suppress pop-ups," which did not always correctly show the current setting, and also to prevent pop-up announcements or earnings reports regarding stocks controlled by the Computer player, when it is taking its turn.
    • The new version is compatible with saved game data files from Versions 3.10 through 4.10 (but not with data files saved by versions earlier than 3.10). However, game data files saved with this new version will take quite a bit longer to save (or retrieve), as they are about 10 times as large as the data files from 4.10 or earlier versions, due to the huge amount of stock price historical data for each of the 1590 companies that the program must now save.

  • 4.10 -- Released: February 15, 2007 (Major release)
    • Stock options (puts and calls) may now be made exercisable at expiration date by the player who owns options or has sold them short. An on/off "toggle" item on the "Game Options Menu" lets you prevent all option positions from being exercised (they are settled at intrinsic value, if any, as in v. 4.0, in that case), or to choose to have all options exercised, subject to certain exceptions:
      • Only options that are "in-the-money" at expiration date will be exercised.
      • Long call options will only be exercised to the extent there is "public" stock available for you to acquire. The same is true if you are short put options. But you may not acquire enough stock through the exercise of long calls/short puts to acquire all the remaining "public" stock of a company, or enough stock to give you control of the company, if you did not previously have control. (This is to prevent you from using a back-door scheme to get control of companies in order to evade anti-trust law restrictions on acquisitions.) Long calls or short puts will also not be exercised if you don't have the buying power to acquire the underlying stock, or if you already have 15 stocks in your individual stock portfolio (the limit), and can't add another.
      • Shorted call options will only be exercised to the the extent you are long the stock, which will be called away. (No short position in the stock will be created.) The same is is true if you have a long position in puts. Any short calls or long puts that are in-the-money and that exceed the amount of stock you own will be "settled" at their intrinsic value. Thus, if you have 7% of ABC stock, and own puts on 10% of the stock, which are "in-the-money," 7% of the puts will be exercised to "put" your stock at the exercise price, and the other 3% of the puts will be "settled" (sold) at their in-the-money value on expiration date.
      (Note: Options trading features are enabled only in the registered versions of Wall Street Raider, not in the shareware version.)
    • More company name items have been made "clickable" in the Personal Financial Profile and (corporate) Financial Profile screens, where company names or stock symbols appear. Clicking on any such name or symbol will change the Active Entity to that corporation.
    • "Mercy sales" of options you own that are worthless (no bid) are now possible, thanks to the generosity of your broker, who will now pay you a pittance to buy such options from you to let you close out your loss for tax purposes, without having to wait until the option expires. How nice of your stockbrokers....
    • In the Industry Summary screens, we have inserted markers by the price-to-net worth number for some companies, as was added in Industry Projections screen in the prior release: _P by companies you control, _H to mark companies controlled by hostile (other) players, and _C to mark companies that are controlled by another corporation. Now you will be able to see, at a glance, who controls which holding companies, banks and insurers (for which there are no Industry Projection screens).
    • To prevent players from making insider profits by buying large numbers of call options on stock of a company (or selling puts short on it), and then forgiving an advance to the company in order to boost its net worth and stock price, such conflicts of interest now prohibit you from doing a forgiveness of an advance if you are long call options or short put options on the company's stock.
    • To prevent players from building up long chains of controlled companies, all highly leveraged so that most or all will go bankrupt eventually, and profiting by selling the stocks short or by buying puts (or selling calls short) on such stocks, an obvious conflict of interest, the simulation now will generally prohibit short-selling of the stock (or call options) or of buying put options on a stock you control. An exception is that you can buy enough puts to protect your long position in a stock or sell "covered calls" against it, but cannot sell, for instance, calls on 50% of the stock if you only own 40% of it directly. These restrictions do not apply if you don't control the company whose stock you are shorting or are selling "naked" calls short against (or buying puts on).
    • Where a player forgives an advance to a company when he or she owns 100% of the stock directly, the forgiveness is no longer a capital loss and is not income or a taxable event for the company. Instead, in that case it is treated as just a contribution to capital, which increases the player's tax basis in his or her stock in the company.
    • The Computer player has a few new refinements, including the ability to pay off a "frozen" loan and change its bank lender to a friendly (controlled) bank.
    • A new Drug/BioTech disaster scenario was added.
    • Various minor refinements to options trading; Financial Profile display improvements, including display of the "call price" for redemption of a company's bonds and whether or not they are currently callable.
    • New "Quote of the Day" feature added (except in the shareware version). Each time you start Wall Street Raider, a "quote of the day" will be flashed on the screen, from a collection of "in-your-face" and wryly cynical observations by everyone from Aesop in 600 B.C. to Napoleon to Winston Churchill to Woody Allen.
    • Compatible with saved game data files from Versions 3.10 and 4.0.

  • 4.0 -- Released: October 11, 2006 (Major release)
    • Not compatible with saved game files from prior versions earlier than 3.10.
    • Now includes trading of put and call options on any "publicly-traded" stocks, for periods of one to 24 months. (NOT ENABLED in shareware version of Wall Street Raider.) Players can buy options, sell covered calls or covered puts, or sell "naked" puts or calls. With the leverage afforded by options, you can increase your profits massively if your bet on a big move in a stock's price turns out to be correct -- or lose your entire investment in an option purchase if you're wrong! (We also changed the name of the "Options Menu" at the top of the main screen to the "Game Options Menu," so no one will be confused, thinking there is something on that menu that pertains to put and call options -- there isn't. Items on that menu deal with choices you make such as turning off Cheat Mode, setting the Ticker Speed from 1 to 100, etc.)
    • The W$R strategy manual (electronic) has been updated fully to reflect the introduction of options trading, including detailed discussions of margin rules affecting long and short option positions, plus extensive analysis of various types of put, call, and straddle strategies.
    • We've plugged a tax loophole with regard to short-selling. In the prior version (3.10), it was possible to sell stock short in a company you control and then have the company pay out a large dividend. Since, as a short seller, you would have to pay out the amount of the "short dividend" on the shorted stock, you were allowed to deduct that expense. Then, because the large dividend would greatly reduce the stock's price, you could cover your short position and reap a capital gain. Thus, even if you just broke even, you would have a large "ordinary" tax deduction, reducing your regular (high tax rate) taxable income, while generating an almost automatic capital gain, taxable at a much lower tax rate than ordinary income. In this new version, any such "short dividends" you must pay on a short position when the stock pays a dividend are now treated as capital losses, which will offset your capital gain if you cover your short for a profit after the dividend is paid out and reduces the stock's value.
    • In the Industry Projection screens, we have inserted markers by the market share number for some companies: _P by companies you control, _H by companies controlled by hostile (other) players, and _C by companies that are controlled by another corporation.
    • The main screen now displays the Month/Year of play, rather than the Quarter/Year. In addition, if you click on the "Financial Profile" for a corporation, it will tell you the current (game) date, and also the date on which that company will next report earnings.

  • 3.10 -- Released: December 21, 2005 (Major release)
    • Not compatible with saved game files from prior versions, due to addition of new data arrays.
    • We've filled in the other side of the investment equation, by adding short selling to W$R, for players. We think you will enjoy being a "bear" and taking advantage of weak and sick companies, by selling their stocks short, to drive their prices down even further. There's something really satisfying about shorting a high-flyer at $80 a share and watching the stock collapse to $2 a share, at which time you cover your short for a massive profit. (But it can be very scary when the stock you've shorted suddenly turns up, since your liability as a short seller is unlimited, unlike owning a stock, where you can only lose 100% of your investment.)
    • In this new release of Wall Street Raider, a short margin account is created for each player when the player sells any stocks short, with the proceeds of the short sale deposited in this restricted account. This account is regularly "marked to market" -- cash must be transferred to the short account when the shorted stock goes up, or is transferred from the short margin account to the player's unrestricted cash account (bank account) when the shorted stock or stocks decline in value. A player must maintain a net worth equal to at least 1/3 of the value of the shorted stocks -- otherwise, the player gets a "short margin call" and is required to buy back (cover) some of the short positions, to reduce the short liability. (Which will tend to drive the stock price up further, sad to say, if you are still short the stock.)
    • A player can sell short up to 20% of the total stock of a particular corporation. However, since stock must be borrowed from "the Public" in order to sell it short, all the players, in total, cannot short more than 50% of the publicly traded stock of any one company. For example, if only 80% of a company's stock is held by "the Public," players may only short half that percentage, or 40% of the company's total outstanding stock. This means that if you are short a stock, and some company or other player buys up most of the publicly-owned shares, reducing the "float," you can be "squeezed" and forced to cover some or all of your short position. Not a nice thing to do to a friend or spouse. Short-selling is not for the faint of heart, in the real markets or in W$R.
    • The short sale feature, as implemented, allows players to pursue new strategies, including doing a "short squeeze" to ruin a competing player who has a large short position in a stock. For example, if Player A has shorted 20% of the stock of XYZ corporation, which has only 40% of its stock publicly traded, you might "squeeze" Player A and force him/her to cover the short position (running up the price while doing so), by buying up most or all of the publicly traded shares. Not only will the forced covering of the short position by Player A drive up the price he/she has to pay to buy back the stock, but it will temporarily raise the value of your XYZ stock. In addition, your purchase of the remaining publicly-traded stock will also drive up the value of the stock, raising Player A's cost to cover the short position when you force him/her to do so. Another way of squeezing a short seller is to acquire the shorted company in a merger.
    • On the other hand, if a player is short a stock and can find a way (most W$R players are good at this) to undermine the company and cause its stock price to drop, the short seller will profit handsomely. Best of all, if the company goes bankrupt and all its stockholders are wiped out, the short seller doesn't have to buy back any stock, and instead pockets a 100% profit on the proceeds he/she received when shorting the stock. "There's no ill wind that doesn't blow someone some good...."
    • To more realistically reflect current economic conditions, the "normal" price of oil in this new release is $50 per barrel (vs. $35 in recent releases, and $20 per barrel for many years in earlier releases of W$R).
    • We've added some new "scenarios," including a major new "Peak Oil" scenario that can create some very harsh conditions -- unless, of course, you're long on oil and gas stocks, and a few other types of stocks that benefit from the chaos! (Or if you've sold short auto companies, airlines, or the like, which are devastated by the energy crisis.) The Peak Oil scenario will tend to pop up in about half the games you play, but will not pop up in the first 2 years of play. (Sorry, "shareware" version players!) Some times the crisis will be over almost before it's started, perhaps just after you've bet the ranch on oil or oil service stocks.... What a shame!
    • We've corrected a couple of minor potential bugs that could cause sudden enrichment or bankruptcy of a newly-formed bank in certain circumstances, where the selected currency was the Icelandic Kronur, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen, or Korean Won.
    • Finally, we've added F1 key functionality to access "HELP" files at any time when the main screen is visible, plus many small improvements in the user interface and in various algorithms (too many to count).

  • 3.02 -- Released: May 10, 2005 (Minor release)
    • Compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.00 and 3.01 only.
    • Added new search criterion to DataBase Search screen, which allows you to exclude from the list of companies that meet your search criteria any company that has no publicly traded shares of stock that you might purchase. But you can leave this box unchecked if you want such non-public stocks to be displayed, such as where such a company's parent company is controlled by you, so that you could buy its stock from the parent company. Or, you might leave this box unchecked if you are looking for merger targets, since it is sometimes possible to merge with even a 100%-owned subsidiary of a company you do not control (if you offer a high enough premium over market price).

      Checking this "Don't Show Nonpublic Companies" box has no effect if you are searching for bonds to buy, and have checked the "Has Bonds Issued and Outstanding" box -- since the fact that a company has no stock which you can buy is irrelevant if you are buying its bonds.

  • 3.01 -- Released: January 11, 2005 (Minor release)
    • Compatible with saved game files from prior version 3.00 only.
    • Changed rules, to allow more ruthless tactics by a player who controls a bank. A bank can now buy up loans of an opposing player (if the game is played at Difficulty Level 3, the highest). Or it can buy up loans of a company controlled by a player, at Difficulty Levels 2 or 3. However, as before, it cannot buy loans that are currently held by a bank that is controlled by another player. These rule changes will allow for considerably more vicious and cutthroat tactics, and makes control of a bank (and getting your loans from your controlled bank) even more important than before.
    • Added a feature that allows player to have his or her controlled bank call in a specified percentage of a loan, from 1% to 50% of the loan balance, rather than 50% only.
    • Various minor bug fixes and minor new features, such as a warning, when you are about to advance money to a company you control that has a credit rating of less than "BB," that you will not be able to recall the advances until the company's credit rating improves.

  • 3.00 -- Released: January 5, 2005 (Major release)
    • Not compatible with saved game files from earlier versions prior to version 3.00.
    • Seriously revised user interface. The main screen has been greatly increased in size, to make room for listing up to 15 stocks in a "streaming quotes" section, and for a number of new controls that have been added, as discussed below. Clicking on an "Add/Delete Stock" button lets you either add the current "active entity" to the streaming quotes list, or, if it is already on the list, to remove it, with a single click. As stock prices change, the new prices of the stocks on the list are updated, and are shown in blue (if no change), in green (if up) or in red (if down). Also, you can quickly select any company whose stock is on the streaming quotes list by simply clicking on a "Select" button at the top of the list, and then double-clicking on the company name, from a pick list that will be displayed. Doing so selects that company as the "active entity."
    • A "My News" button has been added, as a result of a suggestion of a user in Spain. Click on it to see all recent news items on any stock you own directly, or that you control indirectly, or any news items that mention you.
    • In the past, it was often annoying, when pulling up research information on a company you own, and one that it is about to buy or sell, to have to enter the stock symbol or pull up a list of companies to select the other, when going back and forth between the two companies. Now, the program keeps track of the current "active entity" and the previously selected "active entity." For example, if the current active entity is ABC and the most recent previous active entity you had selected was XYZ, a newly added button on the main screen will read "Select XYZ" -- so you can re-select XYZ as the current active entity with a single click on that button. In addition, the program now "remembers" each player's last selected "active entity" and second to last selected active entity, so when your turn ends, and it later becomes your turn again, to use the above example, those two entities are again reflected immediately on the screen, with ABC as the "active entity" and XYZ shown on the "Select XYZ" button.
    • A number of new button controls have been added to main screen, both to improve ease of use of the program, and to add new search features that users have requested. These eight buttons are as follows:

      • Two new buttons in the "Transactions" section of the main screen: A "Buy Stock" button and a "Sell Stock" button. These are not new, but simply duplicate such buttons that are also found in the Buy/Sell menu. Now, however, you can buy or sell stock directly from the main screen, without having to open the Buy/Sell Menu.
      • Six new buttons have been added in a "Search Functions" section of the main screen:

        One is simply a direct link to the DataBase Search feature, which can now be accessed without first going through the General Research Menu. A second "Recall" button instantly calls up an updated list of companies from the database, using the most recent set of search parameters you have selected, saving you from opening the General Research Menu, clicking on "DataBase Search" and then clicking on "Display Results." Thus, 1 click now does what took 3 button clicks in prior versions.

        Three other search buttons generate ranked lists of the companies with the largest market shares in their industries (of at least 20%), companies with the largest tax loss carryovers (of at least 10 million or 10 billion, depending on the currency), and the 50 companies with the most cash. In addition, a "My Corps" button has been added in this section, which works in a manner similar to the "My Corps" buttons on the various menus, but which can now be accessed directly from the main screen, with a single mouse click.
    • Earnings reports for any company a player controls now pop up automatically the moment they are released, during that player's turn. Also, the most recently selected "active entity" (before the currently selected "active entity") will also automatically have its earnings report pop up when released -- as well as that for the currently selected "active entity." See new "suppress" menu item, discussed in the next paragraph -- which allows you to turn off this feature, if it becomes annoying.
    • New item added to "Options" Menu -- "Suppress Earnings Reports" item. Toggle this item "ON" if you control a large number of companies and are annoyed by the too-frequent pop-up earnings announcements, each time one of your controlled companies issues its latest quarterly earnings report. When this suppress option is turned "ON," no such reports will pop up, except for the company that is the currently selected "active entity" (if any). Clicking on this item will turn the suppression feature "ON" if it is currently "OFF," or "OFF" if it is currently "ON."
    • Prepayment penalties of 2% of the amount of loan repayments any of your companies do, using the "Repay Loan" button, will now apply, if playing at Difficulty Level 3. However, the penalty is not imposed if the player who controls the corporation that is making the prepayment also controls the lending bank. The penalty also applies when a company issues corporate bonds, and elects to apply some or all of the bond issuance proceeds to pay down bank debt. It also applies when a company goes through a taxable liquidation and pays off its bank loan as part of the liquidation process. (NOTE: The prepayment penalty does not apply to loan repayments made by the players themselves, only to corporate borrowers.)
    • Spreading false rumors (using the Spread Rumors button) is still an effective (if dirty) tactic. However, overuse of this tactic, or engaging in too many scurrilous activities, may subject you, the player, to individual liability if the company you targeted sues you for slander or libel. Thus, you will need to use that tactic sparingly, in this and future versions of the program.
    • Finally, in addition to numerous small internal program enhancements, the main screen listing of indices, crude oil prices, prime rate, etc., has been augmented by adding displays of the bond yields (yield to maturity) for the Government Long Bond and Short Bond.

  • 2.50 -- Released: November 1, 2004 (Major release)
    • Saved games from versions earlier than v. 2.45 are not usable with this version. (Version 2.45 saved games are compatible, except that dividend payouts will be unusually large in some cases, due to changes in the way dividend payout data is stored in the new version.)
    • The "normal" price of crude oil has been changed from $20 per barrel to $35 per barrel, to more accurately reflect the current real world oil pricing situation.
    • Modified percentage of business assets of an industrial company that must be committed to working capital. In prior versions, the amount of working capital (inventory and/or accounts receivable) was a fixed 12% of business assets. In the new version, 12% is the normal or typical percentage, but if you increase a company's profitability, you may be able to reduce the percentage of business assets that must be committed to working capital, to as little as 5%. On the other hand, if your company is poorly managed, it may have as much as 20% of business assets tied up as working capital. (Business assets are items such as plant and equipment, airplanes operated by an airline, etc.)
    • Altered "Change Bank" feature in several ways. You no longer need to pay off a loan in full before you can change your bank lender -- if the new bank you choose has enough cash to buy your loan from your current lender, and if the current lender is not controlled by an opposing player (who is presumed NOT to want to sell your loan). Also, if you have a "sick" company with a large loan it will probably default on, you cannot have it change its bank to a bank controlled by another player, "sticking" that player's bank with the bad loan, unless the loan balance is fairly small.
    • Several things were done to plug loopholes in the logic for insurance companies, to make it harder to become an "instant trillionaire" by manipulating and creating gigantic insurance companies.
    • Changed the way dividends are set. Rather than pay out a percentage of the prior year's net income, the dividend for a company is now set as a fixed dollar amount per share, even if that means that the dividend exceeds the company's earnings. You can now set the amount, such as 1.40 per share, that a controlled company will pay (subject to an upper limit that varies, depending on the company's creditworthiness). Uncontrolled companies will periodically raise or lower their dividends, based on various factors, such as yield, earnings trends, credit rating, industry and company growth rates, and other complex factors. A company with a "D" credit rating will cease paying any dividends almost immediately.
    • In the new version, any time a company you control releases a new quarterly earnings report, the earnings report screen will immediately pop up. If you control a large number of companies, and the frequent pop-ups become annoying to you, you can stop them by turning on the "Suppress Popups" feature in the "Options" menu.

  • 2.45 -- Released: August 1, 2004
    • Not compatible with saved game files from earlier versions prior to 2.45.
    • By popular demand, the new version adds a "spin-offs" feature to the Financing Submenu. Using this button function, any corporation you own may be able to "spin off" stock it holds in another corporation to its shareholders. This can even be done tax-free, if 80% of the stock of the sub is spun off, if the sub is not a holding/trading company, and if the sub has at least a 5-year period of operations under its belt. You can, if you choose, do a taxable spin-off, though this will usually prove to be costly. However, other government agencies might block the spin-off if it would have too serious an effect on the distributing corporation's creditworthiness, even if you have gotten a favorable advance tax ruling from the tax authorities.

      We have tried to anticipate and close most of the largest foreseeable loopholes, but we're quite sure that creative players of W$R will find many ways to use (and abuse) the spin-off feature in order to avoid taxes, merger fees, and for other nefarious purposes. The new version of the W$R strategy manual has a few suggestions for ways to use spin-offs that may not be obvious to any but the most devious players.

    • In order to increase the limits on the size of public stock offerings and bond issuances as the game progresses, the initial $100 billion (or equivalent in other currencies) limit on the size of stock offerings is now indexed, by increasing the limit by just over 6% annually (1.5% each quarter). Similarly, the initial $150 billion limit on bond issuances by a company is also indexed, growing larger throughout each game at the same 6% annual rate. The "indexing" begins after the year 2010.
    • Two new currency choices have been added, the Egyptian Pound and the Icelandic Krone, bringing the total number of currencies for which the game can be configured to 23.
    • SLAM! (The sound of another tax loophole closing....) Changes have been made so that now when you buy stock from a related entity (such as a company you control), and the seller has a loss on the sale, the loss will be disallowed for tax purposes (and not reported as a loss for financial reporting purposes), since you were essentially selling the stock to yourself. In such cases, however, the higher "tax basis" of the purchased shares carries over to the buying entity, so that the disallowed loss is added to the cost of the shares purchased, for the buyer. To recognize a loss on stock, it must be sold at a loss to "the public" or to an unrelated buyer (or must become worthless in bankruptcy).
    • Improvements made to the Customizer Utility program, to save the original set of corporate names/symbols, with a "Restore Original Set of Names" button added, if you wish to go back to using the original set of names/stock symbols that came with W$R.

  • 2.42 -- Released: May 19, 2004 (Minor release)
    • Saved game files are compatible only with v. 2.40 and 2.41, but not with saved game files from earlier releases prior to 2.40.
    • Bug fix for some copies of v. 2.41, where the "AntiTrust Suit" button did not appear.
    • Expanded possible types of assets you can contribute to a wholly-owned bank or insurance company. The "Capital Contribution" feature now also allows you to contribute government or corporate bonds to such a 100%-owned subsidiary. Also, if you own 100% of a company and also own some of its bonds, you can contribute some of its own bonds to it (even if it is not a bank or insurer) and such bonds will simply be canceled, reducing the amount of the subsidiary company's bond indebtedness.

  • 2.41 -- Release Date: April 17, 2004 (Minor release):
    • Saved game files are compatible only with v. 2.40 and this release.
    • Modified so that the stock market index and individual stock prices react more gradually to changing economic conditions.
    • A new "Resign As CEO" button has been added to the Management Menu, and appears when the "active entity" is the player. This allows you to resign your position as CEO of any company, which will save the company from having to pay you a salary. (Since the salary payment will reduce a company's earnings, taking a salary from a company you own may cause a decrease in the value of the company's stock, so you may decide you prefer to stop serving as CEO, and give up your salary, rather than depress the price of the company's stock.)
    • An "auto save" option has been added to the Options Menu. Turning this feature on will cause the most current game data to be saved at the end of each quarter of play, automatically. This will come in handy in the event of a power failure (or a dumb move on your part), as you can always reload the game and continue play as of the end of the most recent quarter.
    • A new dialog (menu) has been added for capital contributions, so that a company or player can now contribute either cash or stock to a 100%-owned subsidiary, or an industrial company can contribute, in addition to cash or stock, some or all of its "capital assets" (business assets) to a subsidiary that is either in the same industry, or that is a holding/trading company.
    • A corporation's tax net operating loss can still be carried forward indefinitely, for use in offsetting taxable income in subsequent years. However, starting with this release, such unused losses are reduced by 10% of the remaining balance (not reducing the current year's loss, if any) at the end of each year. This will put a premium on finding ways to quickly use up such tax loss carryovers before they expire (shrink).
    • Instituted quarterly estimated tax payments for players, instead of paying an entire year's taxes at the end of each year. Estimated taxes are computed each quarter, based on 90% of the tax on your income to date for the current year. Any remaining balance is paid at the end of the year; or, if the estimates result in an overpayment of the actual tax for the year, the overpayment is refunded at year-end. All calculations and tax payments are done automatically for each player.
    • A modification has been added so that once there is only one "surviving" (human) player left in a game, that player's turn never ends, until the game ends. The "End Turn" button is grayed out for the remainder of the game, also.

  • 2.40 -- Released: March 1, 2004 (Major release)
    • Game data files saved by prior versions of Wall Street Raider are not compatible with or usable by this version of the program.
    • Players may now make interest-bearing advances (loans) to any companies they control. The advances are "demand loans," which means the player can demand full repayment at any time (usually). However, the advances are subordinated to any bank loans or bond indebtedness owed by the company, so you may not be able to call in an advance if the corporation would have a credit rating of less than "BB" after the repayment is made. Thus, you may find in some cases that you cannot call in the loan (advance), until the borrower's credit rating improves adequately. If the borrower goes bankrupt, bank loans and bond holders receive repayment first, before or with a higher priority than, holders of demand loans (advances). The borrowing company must pay the player interest, at the current Prime Rate charged by banks, at the time each interest payment is to be made. (If the borrower's credit rating falls to "D," then the interest will accrue -- that is, be added to the loan amount -- rather than be paid in cash.)
    • Two new buttons, "Advance to Corp." and "Recall Advance," have been added to the "Miscellaneous Functions" menu, one for making advances to companies you control, the other for calling in (demanding repayment) of advances you have made, from any company, including companies you made advances to but no longer control.
    • A new command button, "List Advances," has been added to the Entity Research Menu (when the "active entity" is you, the player). Clicking on it will cause a display of all companies to which you have made advances, the amount of each such advance (loan), and the borrowing company's credit rating.
    • Bank deposits and cash balances now reflect all changes in cash balances of the bank's corporate customers, or in cash balances of players who are customers of that bank. Players and corporations are required to deposit their cash, as CD's, in the bank from which they borrow, as a condition of taking out a loan.
    • When you click the "My Corps." button on one of the transactions menus, you will now see a pick list displayed, of all the companies you control, plus certain types of information about each company, such as recent and projected quarterly earnings, credit rating, and Analysts' Rating (buy, sell, hold, etc.) on the company's stock. Click or double-click on any company name to select it as the "active entity." (A "My Corps." button has also been added to the Entity Research Menu, which appears when you, the player, are the "active entity.")
    • Modified the program so that when one makes any "management changes" (fires the existing management team), the results will be apparent somewhat more quickly.
    • The "extraordinary dividend" rules have been changed (relaxed) somewhat, so that banks or insurers with "A" or better credit ratings will now sometimes be allowed to make relatively small payouts of such extraordinary dividends. Also, distributions of such dividends, while sometimes fully taxable to corporate stockholders, are now non-taxable to the extent paid to an 80% or greater CORPORATE parent, with which the sub pays taxes on a consolidated return basis (but in that case will reduce the recipient corporation's "tax basis" in its shares of the sub, dollar-for-dollar, yen-for-yen).
    • New feature added when doing "capital contributions": if the parent company is an industrial company (not a bank, insurer, or holding company) and the sub is either in the same industry, or is a holding company, the parent company can "drop down" (transfer) business assets, as well as cash, to the subsidiary, as a capital contribution.
    • New disaster scenarios added.
    • Miscellaneous bug fixes. (Stock ownership reductions when a bank goes bankrupt, repayment of bank debt in taxable liquidations, and the stock basis and gain/loss calculations for the seller, where one entity buys stock from a related entity.)

  • 2.31 -- Released: December 5, 2003 (Major release)
    • Game data files saved by prior versions of Wall Street Raider are not compatible with or usable by this version of the program.
    • While "cheat scenarios" normally only pop up once each per scenario during any one game, the "strike scenario" (by angry union employees) may now pop up more than once, if you do numerous restructurings.
    • Junk bond pricing has been refined, so that a minor change in net worth that changes a bond's rating from "D" to "C" or from "C" to "D" will no longer have a major effect on the price of the bonds. As revised, the worse a "D"-rated company's finances grow, the lower its bonds will trade, on a gradual basis, until it becomes clear that the company is almost certain to have to shed part of its debts in a bankruptcy reorganization. Previously, a slight decrease in assets that caused net worth to fall below zero and the credit rating to fall from "C" to "D" resulted in a cliff-like drop in the bond price.
    • Asset purchase routines have been modified in a number of ways: A holding company may now enter an industry by purchasing "new" assets, and not only by purchasing assets from another company in that industry. As revised, purchases of highly profitable capital assets from another (uncontrolled) company will require the buying company to pay a premium for the assets purchased, and the more profitable the assets being purchased (ignoring R&D costs and market share), the greater the price premium you must pay. The excess amount, or "goodwill," must be written off as an expense by the acquiring company, generally at the rate of 20% of the remaining balance per year. On the other hand, if buying very UNprofitable assets (say from a poorly-managed company in a depressed industry), the buyer may be able to buy capital assets at a considerable discount. The "discount" is treated as "negative goodwill" and is recognized immediately as income (extraordinary income) by the buyer. The seller will recognize a gain or loss on the sale, based on the sale price (less a sales commission paid by the seller).
    • In all instances, except where the buying and selling companies are controlled by the same player, the company selling capital assets will incur a "business broker's fee" equal to 10% of the purchase price. This will reduce the seller's gain, or increase its loss, on the sale of assets.
    • As revised, it will often be impossible to buy business assets from a company that is earning a very high rate of return on those assets (ignoring its R&D or marketing/advertising expenses), as such companies will usually not be willing to sell.
    • The "Sell Business Assets" feature has been refined to make it possible to sometimes sell business assets at a net gain, although it will still be hard to do so if playing at Difficulty Level 3.
    • "FILE" menu has been changed, to replace "New Game" item with "Restart," once a set of new or saved game data has been loaded into memory.

  • 2.30 -- Released: October 10, 2003 (Major release)
    • Not file-compatible with data files saved by any previous versions, since the program now stores a lot of "tax basis" data for stock holdings of corporations.
    • THE TAX MAN COMETH!! Sorry folks, but no more tax-free capital gains for corporations, starting with this version. Your "tax-free" days are over, starting with Version 2.30, which adopts the "U.S. model" of corporate taxation, subjecting capital gains from sales of stock investments by a corporation to tax, at regular corporate tax rates. Before, W$R followed the "European" or "Asian" model adopted by most developed countries, of not taxing corporate capital gains. However, we do still give you one break the U.S. IRS doesn't allow -- you can deduct losses on such stock sales fully (unlike the real world IRS rules, that allow NO deduction at all for corporate capital losses, except to the extent of offsetting capital gains -- if there are any).
    • For financial reporting purposes, now that the program keeps track of the cost or other, adjusted, tax basis of stocks owned by corporations, and computes a gain or loss upon sale or worthlessness of the stock, the gains or losses are all treated as "extraordinary items," which are included in TOTAL earnings, but do not enter into the calculation of the more significant figure, "operating earnings." However, starting with the last release, Version 2.22, you may have already noted that small "extraordinary gains" (or losses), if they amount, in total, to 5% or less of "operating income" (or loss) for the quarter, will be lumped in as an additional item of operating income or loss, and will not be shown as a separate item, where the amount is minimal in relation to the operating income/loss.
    • A complex system of adjusting the "tax basis" of stock of an 80% or greater subsidiary corporation has been added, very similar to the U.S. "consolidated return regulations." In short, the parent company gets to increase its tax basis for taxable income of the 80% subsidiary, less the payment in lieu of taxes that the sub makes to the parent company on such taxable income. But the parent company must reduce its basis for the 80% sub's stock to the extent of any taxable loss of the sub, offset in part by payments from the parent to the sub for the tax benefit of using the sub's tax loss. In addition, any tax-free dividend an 80% sub pays out to the parent company reduces the parent's tax basis in the sub's stock, dollar for dollar, yen for yen.
    • The above basis adjustments, in some rare situations, may reduce the tax basis of the sub's stock to a negative amount, which is referred to in W$R (and in IRS Consolidated Return Regulations) as an "Excess Loss Account" ("ELA"). As in the real world, if the parent's stock ownership in the sub is reduced to less than 80% for any reason, so that the two companies can no longer pay taxes on a "consolidated return" basis, any ELA will be triggered and fully recaptured as taxable income to the parent, which will bring its basis for the sub's stock back up from a negative amount to zero. The new help files give examples of when and how all or part of an "Excess Loss Account" may be triggered into taxable income for the parent company. Triggering an ELA recapture will not show up in your company's earnings report, but will affect its cash balance when it pays out the recapture tax.
    • Notice that an ELA will be triggered as income to the parent even when the sub goes bankrupt, and its stock becomes worthless -- so that if there is an ELA (negative tax basis), a parent company will actually recognize taxable INCOME, rather than a loss, if the sub bellies up. (In effect, the parent has to pay up for having taken more tax benefits or write-offs than it had invested in the sub, by recapturing the "excess losses.") However, the existence of an ELA should be an extremely rare and unusual circumstance, a situation you may never see occur, unless you spend a great deal of time playing Wall Street Raider.
    • The only exception (in W$R) to "recapturing" or triggering taxable income from an Excess Loss Account when the parent makes a disposition of the sub's stock is when the sub is liquidated in a tax-free liquidation. Any other transaction, including an otherwise tax-free exchange in a merger, where the sub being acquired had an Excess Loss Account (negative tax basis) with respect to its stock in the hands of its former parent company, will trigger the recapture tax.
    • Where an uncontrolled company (not controlled by any player) seeks to do a merger with a company whose stock you or one of your controlled companies owns, the program will now disclose to you the management rating of the acquiring company (unless it is a holding/ trading company).
    • As suggested by users, the "startup" segment, when you start up a new corporation, now will display a default name and stock symbol for the company, but will also ask you at the time if you wish to change either its name or stock symbol.
    • As also suggested by users, after a game ends, the "File Menu" now includes a "Restart W$R" menu item, to let you restart the program and either start a new game, or load and continue playing a saved game.
    • This version adds the ability of a bank you control to sell off individual business loans, or portions of its consumer loan or mortgage loan portfolio. The "Buy Loans for Bank" button in the "Other Transactions" menu has been replaced by a "Buy or Sell Loans" button, and the same button has also been added to the "Buy/Sell Transactions" menu. Your bank can now sell mortgage or consumer loans at face value. Corporate or player loans can be sold at prices that depend mainly on the borrower's credit rating, but not exceeding 101 percent of face value. (And no other bank will buy certain "bad credit" D-rated loans from your bank, which may soon become worthless.)
    • As requested by a number of users, we have added a "Stock Split" button, to allow you to split a stock (increase the number of shares by a multiple of more than 1, up to 10), which decreases the price per share. It has no more effect than cutting a pizza into 8 slices, rather than 4, but many people think stock splits are significant. We also have added a "Reverse Split" button, also to the "MISC." Menu, which allows you to do a reverse split for any company you control (reducing the number of shares by a factor of more than 1, up to 10, which will increase the stock price per share). A reverse split is the opposite, or mirror image, of a regular stock split. If you don't like to see your company's stock trading at 2.50 a share, do a 1-for-10 reverse split, so it will trade at 25.00.
    • An additional limit has been placed on the ability of a bank to call in corporate loans. In the new version, you cannot call in 50% of a corporate loan if the borrower, after selling off all readily saleable assets (bonds and stocks) has a negative bank account (i.e., cash) balance at the moment, since there are no liquid assets to "grab." This feature is designed to prevent a bank from buying a loan at 90% of face value, and then quickly doing a series of many 50% loan "calls," until it has pulled in 99.9% of the loan, for an easy profit. (One less "loophole.")
    • The "Freeze Loans" feature has been modified in several ways. You can now choose from a list of your bank's loans, by clicking on the name of the borrower and either freezing or unfreezing lending to that particular borrower. Once a loan is frozen, the notation "Froz." will appear by that loan any time you click on the "Freeze Loans," "Call in Bank Loan" or "List Loans" buttons.
    • When using the "Freeze Loans" feature, if you don't click on any specific loan to freeze or unfreeze, you will then be asked (as in prior versions) if your bank wants to freeze/unfreeze loans to all competing players and their companies.
    • The "Call in Bank Loan" function has been modified in several ways. Clicking on this button now brings up a list of all your bank's loans, and you can click on any borrower's name to call in 50% of the loan to that particular borrower. Additional limits have been placed on the ability to call a company's loan -- you can no longer do so if the company already has a negative cash balance and has sold all its liquid assets (stocks and bonds). This may prevent you from doing repetitive "calls" of 50% a particular company's loan, over and over and over....
    • When you click on the "Freeze Loans" or "Call in Bank Loan" buttons, the list of loans will now place an asterisk (*) after the loan information for any loan that is owed by a competing player, or by a company controlled by a competing player, so you can instantly see if you are "lending to the enemy," in case you want your bank to freeze or call in loans to competitors or their companies.
    • In prior versions, it was sometimes impossible to sell off stock of a wholly-owned company. Now, when you attempt such a sale, you will usually be given the option of selling 51% of the stock, at a bargain price, to a "neutral company," if you are really desparate to sell. Or you may receive an even lower offer, but for only 20% of the company. If you receive a margin call and are thus forced to sell off stock in a company when you own 100% of that stock, your shares will be sold at a steep discount at an impromptu auction. (It will be better, usually, if you are able to, and aren't in a forced sale situation, to have the 100%-owned company do a public or private stock offering, making the stock more readily saleable afterwards, for your remaining 80% or more of the stock. But you won't have that chance if you wait until you receive a margin call from your bank -- you have to sell stock immediately, at whatever price you can get for it.)

  • 2.22 -- Released: August 6, 2003 (Major release)
    • Not file-compatible with data files from any previous versions, due to some major changes in the way game data is stored in the new version.
    • New Korean Peninsula disaster scenario, and Japanese disaster scenario added.
    • Banks with strong reserves will now be able to grow faster, as they will automatically expand their deposit base if their reserves (net worth plus bad debt reserves) exceed certain percentages (8% to 12%, in various circumstances) of their total deposits. This also will help healthy banks maintain their liquidity, and make it less likely that they will be forced to sell off bonds or loans to raise cash, since they will now be able to attract more deposits.
    • As an underpaid CEO, you'll be happy to learn that this release of W$R now provides for a "performance bonus" at the end of each year, in addition to your base salary as CEO of a company. If the company's operating earnings for the year are negative, or are no greater than in the previous year, you receive no bonus; or, you receive a bonus equal to 150% of your base salary if you boosted earnings for the year. However, if you control 51% of the stock of the company, your board of directors will be more generous (since you have absolute control), and you will receive a bonus at least equal to 100% of base salary, no matter how badly the company performed; or a bonus equal to 300% of base salary, if you have managed to increase your company's earnings, compared to the previous year.
    • Added a further refinement to the way earnings are reported: "Extraordinary items" of income or loss, if they amount (after-tax) to less than 5% of net operating income, are now re-classified as part of operating income or loss, and are no longer reported as separate items. Larger amounts of extraordinary items continue to be reported as a separate item, apart from "operating earnings," as before.
    • The program now scans through the list of "busted" holding companies (those not controlled by any player, and with no assets remaining other than cash) and occasionally liquidates some of them, in taxable liquidations. So, if you have a small ownership position, under 20%, in such a company, you may find that it is suddenly being liquidated and you will receive cash for your stock as the net assets are distributed. In prior versions, no such "taxable" liquidations occurred except those that were initiated by a (human) player.
    • When you sell stocks or bonds, the program now tells you the amount of the taxable gain or loss on the sale, as well as your percentage gain or loss on the investment (where the seller is you, the individual, rather than a corporation).
    • When you need to borrow to complete various transactions, the program tells you how much you need to borrow, and how that will change your (or your company's) credit rating and debt-to-equity ratios, and asks if you want to go through with the transaction. This new feature applies to stock purchases, corporate or government bond purchases, greenmail/LBO stock buybacks, bond buybacks or early redemptions, and capital asset purchases, and should be helpful to you in deciding whether a particular transaction is worth doing, in light of its effect on your debt-to-equity ratio and credit rating.
    • The costs of doing a merger remain the same as in prior versions, and no fees are incurred if the merger has to be canceled because one of the two companies (acquirer or target) already owns 100% of the other. However, your company no longer will incur the full costs if the merger is aborted, for any other reasons. Only 20% of the full cost is incurred if two banks are refused permission to merge, by bank regulators; only 40% of the full cost is incurred if shareholders vote down the merger proposal; only 60% of the full merger cost is incurred if a favorable shareholder vote is obtained, but the merger is blocked on anti-trust grounds; only 70% of the full cost is incurred if other government agencies intervene at a late stage to block the merger; and only 80% of the full cost is incurred if divestment of a subsidiary is required as a final condition to complete the merger, but you refuse to agree to that condition. All merger costs are paid by the company that proposed the merger.
    • Banks, when buying loans, now have a choice of picking corporate loans you wish to buy from a list of all bank loans that are offered for sale. Not listed are loans owed by any players, by companies that are controlled by opposing players, loans held by banks controlled by opposing players, loans held by certain small banks (with business loan portfolios of $5 billion U.S. or smaller, or equivalent in other currency, or which hold only 5 or fewer loans). Also not shown are loans that are available for purchase, but which are too large for your bank to buy with its current cash balance.
    • More disclosures added, when an uncontrolled company offers to merge with a company you own stock in, and you are asked to vote on the merger: Included now, in addition to the identity of the acquirer and its credit rating, are its size (market cap) relative to that of the target company, and the % of net worth at which its stock is currently valued and, in some cases, disclosure that the acquirer has large net operating loss (tax loss) carryovers that might enable it to shelter the taxable income of the target company, after a merger takeover.

  • 2.21 -- Released: July 9, 2003 (Minor release)
    • Added new protections for the "Computer" player, to reduce its exposure to anti-trust suits, by divesting itself of some of its companies in industries dominated by companies controlled by the Computer player, in order to reduce its dominance.
    • Minor bug fixes, to refine "accrued tax" liability that appears on corporations' balance sheets where groups of corporations pay tax on a consolidated return basis, and to correct a tax miscalculation that could occur in rare situations, where a bank owned 80% or more of a profitable subsidiary company.
    • Added new (rare) economic scenarios, that can appear if certain unusual econonic situations occur.

  • 2.20 -- Released: June 30, 2003 (Major release)
    • New version is compatible with versions 2.10 and 2.11 only, but not with game files saved by versions prior to version 2.10.
    • While the main screen user interface looks the same as version 2.11, this is a major new release, with a number of profound changes in the simulation. Some you will like, others you may hate, if they plug up your favorite "loophole" for making instant megabucks.
    • Financial reporting has been significantly modified -- reported earnings (on which stock pricing is partly based) now reflect a "provision for income taxes," rather than actual tax paid, as in real-world financial accounting for tax expense. In addition, "extraordinary" or "non-recurring" income or loss items, net of tax effect, are not included in earnings -- stock prices, to the extent based on earnings, are now based on a company's "operating earnings" (although earnings reports also will separately show the "extraordinary" items, and the total earnings if extraordinary items are added in). These changes will make it more difficult to manipulate a company's stock price by incurring one-time gains or losses (such as restructuring expenses, or gains or losses when a company buys back its own bonds below or above par, or when it wins an antitrust lawsuit).
    • The "computer" player has been completely revamped, and made more active, smarter, and considerably more vicious.
    • The "Database Search" function has been improved, thanks to a user suggestion, by no longer listing and displaying a particular corporate bond issuer, if there are none of that company's bonds in "public" hands that you can buy. However, when stocks to buy are listed, all that meet your search criteria will be shown, even if none of the stock is held by the public, since this new release now allows you to do mergers with any company, even if it is 100% owned by another corporation that no player controls.
    • Now, if you receive a margin call, and will have to sell stock(s) to raise cash, you are given a choice of selecting which stock to sell, or else letting the bank decide on which ones will be sold, randomly. This courtesy is extended only if the margin call comes when it is your turn -- otherwise, if it is another player's turn at the time, the bank will sell your stocks for you, without bothering to ask which ones are to be sold.
    • A new feature has been added, where companies with poor credit ratings (D, C, or CC) may occasionally seek to improve their balance sheets and avoid filing bankruptcy, by attempting to swap 2 new bonds for each 3 old bonds (or 1 for 2, in some cases), offering a higher interest rate, in order to reduce the amount of outstanding debt. Where you (the player) or a company you control own some of the company's bonds, you will be asked if you want to accept the tender offer of the reduced amount of new bonds. Refusing will cause the tender offer to be canceled.
    • You can now determine, within limits, the percentage premium you want to offer shareholders of the target company when your acquiring company proposes a stock- for-stock merger, generally anywhere from 5% to 100% over the target company's current price per share. In all previous versions, the program simply assumed you were offering 20% over market price for the target. As you might guess, the higher the premium you offer, the more likely the public (and corporate) shareholders will vote to approve the merger, unless your company is nearly bankrupt, or is a minnow trying to merge with a whale. However, if you already control the target company, there is a conflict of interest, so the underwriters do a "fairness" valuation study, giving you a range of fair values, such as 6 to 10% over market value, that you can offer to pay (in stock) for the target company's stock.
    • As in prior versions, all shares of the target in a merger, if owned by an opposing player or his/her companies, will be voted AGAINST a merger you propose with a target company. Also, "neutral" corporate shareholders (not controlled by any player) will generally vote AGAINST, if the offer is at a market premium of less than 20%, as in prior W$R versions. However, if you offer 20% or more (the higher, the better your chances), it is possible that some of the target company's corporate shareholders, if it has any, will vote their entire bloc of shares FOR the merger. In fact, if you offer a 75% or greater premium over current market price, ALL such corporate shareholders will vote FOR the merger (unless, of course, your acquiring company is too small, or is nearly bankrupt). This means that now, even if XYZ Bank is 100% owned by XYZ Holding Company, you may be able to acquire XYZ Bank in a merger, if you offer a high enough price (at least 20%, more likely 40% or 50%) to the corporate shareholder (XYZ Holding Company) in the merger.
    • More banking loopholes have been closed, making it tough to almost instantly create a gigantic bank that borrows gazillions in cheap interbank loans and uses the cash to buy up gazillions of corporate and other loans and bonds, with no limit. In this new version, a bank that has a negative cash balance can only borrow up to 2000 million (in whatever currency) as interbank loans to cover its deficit cash balance, generally.

      If it still has a negative cash balance, it will next automatically sell most of its government bonds, and, if necessary, some of its mortgages and consumer loans. If it still has a cash deficit, it will then be forced to float an issue of bonds to shore up its capital, if that is possible (unless you control the bank). If doing a bond offering isn't possible, or if the bank still has a cash deficit after issuing bonds, it will then take one or more other possible actions, such as doing a public stock offering (unless a player controls the bank), selling off shares of any stocks it owns, and calling in up to 10% of all its business loans to players and corporations. If, after all that, it still has a cash deficit, the bank will then be forced to sell off randomly selected business loans, one at a time, to other banks, if it can find buyers.
    • Thus, if you set up a small new bank, make yourself a loan customer, then borrow a large sum from it, and it has negative cash after making the loan to you (which can be as much as 25% of its loan portfolio), it will find the cash somehow, by going through all the steps described in the above paragraph, after first borrowing up to 2000 M. from another bank as an interbank loan. And if it can't find the cash by any of the above (legitimate) means, and still has a negative cash balance, it will pay interest at 8% over the LIBOR rate on the negative balance (borrowing from the Mob). In short, you will no longer be able to instantly grow a bank to a vast size by simply borrowing infinite amounts as interbank loans. It's getting tougher and tougher to make an easy buck....
    • Plugged another major loophole: Gains or losses on bond buy-backs by corporations are now treated as "extraordinary" income or loss, rather than operating income items. Thus, manipulating the market price of a company's bonds can still be profitable, but will no longer affect "operating income" and will not have nearly as much effect on the stock price of the company that earns the gain.
    • Added new "Suppress Popups" item to "Options Menu." Toggle this setting on or off, as you prefer, to suppress or not suppress little popup news items about companies you control or the current "active entity." This can be handy, if you own a large number of companies, and are annoyed by too-frequent news items about your companies popping up. (Does not suppress major news announcements, such as bank failures, economic news, or a new earnings release for the current "active entity.)"

  • 2.11 -- Released: April 28, 2003 (Minor release)
    • New version is file compatible with version 2.10 only, but not with game files saved by versions prior to version 2.10.
    • HTML files for strategy manual in "full package" version have been replaced with new .CHM type (searchable) files.
    • Minor bug fix, regarding treatment of interbank loans, when one bank is liquidated into another.

  • 2.10 -- Released: March 6, 2003 (Major release)
    • Note: New version is NOT file-compatible with data files of games saved by prior versions, due to the expansion of the simulation and of its database that must be saved to disk when saving a game in mid-stream.
    • (Bottom line: You won't be able to replay those old games where you made a quadrillion $$ by exploiting some loophole in W$R that is now closed. This new version closes a lot of those "loopholes.")
    • Major new feature: Earnings projections are now available for the coming quarter for all corporations (but are not always accurate, as in the real world, especially for complex companies with many subsidiary holdings). Projections are updated 2 or 3 times each quarter, or after major corporate transactions, disasters, and after each quarterly earnings release.
    • Bank lending practices have been curbed. Banks may now no longer extend credit to a company (even if you control both bank and borrower) in an amount in excess of the greater of $10,000 million U.S. or 25% of the bank's total loan portfolio. A loan that comes to exceed those two limits will be frozen, and a bank will begin calling in part of its largest such loan, as required by government "bank examiners." Thus, if you have plans to borrow huge sums, you may want to change your banking relationship to a very large bank, one that can lend you up to 25% of its loan portfolio total, where that amount is much more than $10 billion U.S. (or equivalent in other currency you may have selected for W$R). Otherwise (for large corporations), you may need to rely more on bond market financing, instead of bank loans.
    • The size (capitalization) of banks at the start of the game has been considerably enlarged, to more closely reflect real world market conditions.
    • As requested by users, the Database Search (DB Search) routine has been beefed up to provide detailed info on corporate bond issues, to make it easier to do bond research. Bond issues displayed by the search screen now show issuer's name, date due, interest rate (coupon rate), yield to maturity, credit rating, the total size of each bond issue, and the amount of each issue that is available for purchase from the "public" bondholders (i.e., not held by players or banks or insurance companies).
    • Numerous new product liability scenarios have been added, for companies in 16 industry groups.
    • If a company seeks to merge with a company in which you (or a company you control) owns any stock, during your turn, you will be asked if you want to vote the shares you control for or against the merger/takeover.
    • New feature attempts to "read your mind" and anticipate what company's stock or bonds you intend to buy, or which company you intend to take over in a merger, file suit against, buy assets from, or so on. The program will "guess" the identity of the targeted company (based on whichever company you have just finished researching) and will insert its stock symbol in the input area of the stock selection dialog, so that you only have to click on "OK" if the program has "guessed" your intentions correctly.
    • When a new bank is created, it automatically tries to buy loans from other banks with a good portion of its injected capital. In this new release, where a new bank acquires any "D"-rated loans, it will do so at a discount of 30% to 80% below the face value of the loan (depending on how "sick" the borrower is). The seller will get the bad loan off its books, but will incur a charge to its bad debt reserve. The new bank that is buying the "D"-rated loans at a discount will set up a bad debt reserve for 30% to 50% of the newly acquired (troubled) loans.
    • Added new "ethical choice" scenarios that may pop up (if you are playing with "Cheat Mode" on) when you try to do certain transactions, such as mergers or restructurings.

  • 2.03 -- Released: January 12, 2003 (Major release)
    • File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and later.
    • New button command, "Tax Basis Info," has been added to the "ENTITY INFO" submenu. Appears when the current "active entity" is you, the player. Click on it to see the tax basis (cost, with certain adjustments) of all the stocks and bonds you own directly.
    • The "Sell Stock" feature has been modified so that if you (the player) are the seller, the list of your stocks that will be displayed for you to select from when you click on the "Sell Stock" button will show the cost ("tax basis") of each stock in your portfolio.
    • The "Sell Corporate Bonds" feature (on the "BUY/SELL" Transactions submenu) has been modified so that if a player or a bank or insurer controlled by the player wishes to sell corporate bonds, the list of bonds to select from that will be displayed will now show the cost (adjusted "tax basis") of each bond holding in the bond portfolio of the selling player, bank or insurance company.
    • The W$R "help" files text, and the W$R strategy manual HTML files have been updated to reflect all updates in W$R through the date of this release.
    • Stock pricing for bank stocks has been modified to make it more difficult to drastically manipulate the stock price of a controlled bank.
    • Banks with credit ratings of BB or worse now pay more than the LIBOR rate on interbank borrowings, up to 3.25% above LIBOR rate for banks with worst credit ratings.
    • Added feature to "Startup" function, to immediately split the stock price to less than 125.00, when starting up a new company with a very large capitalization.
    • Rules changed for non-taxable liquidations: If the parent company is a bank or insurance company, and the subsidiary to be liquidated owns stock of the parent company, it will be required to divest (sell) the parent company stock before the liquidation can go forward. The same rule now applies even if the parent company is not a bank or insurance company, if the liquidating company owns 20% or more of the parent company's stock.

  • 2.02 -- Released: December 26, 2002 (Minor release)
    • File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and later.
    • Registered version now captures name of licensed owner, and registration number, storing it for you for future reference, when you request updates during the 12 months after purchase. (Click on "Help/About" menu item to see your registration info, any time after you have entered it.)
    • "Industry Summary" and "Industry Projection" screens have been expanded to show more information, per user requests, and to also show, in Industry Summary and Portfolio Listing screens, the current Buy/Sell advice from "analysts."
    • Numerous minor changes include a pop-up message any time anything significant is announced in the news that affects any company you control, or the current "active entity" company.
    • New disaster scenario added: government defaults on treasury bonds, in certain dire economic situations.

  • 2.01 -- Released: December 18, 2002 (Minor release)
    • File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and later.
    • Tax rules tightened up on liquidations, to close a "loophole," where a holding / trading company with tax losses could change its business by acquiring a subsidiary (which is not also a holding / trading company) and liquidating it, in order to enter the subsidiary company's industry group. Now, such a change of business will cause the parent company to lose its tax loss carryovers, due to the "change of business."
    • Added another level of Analyst's Ratings: "Strong Sell"
    • Added more "advisories" to pop-up transaction submenus, suggesting stocks or specific bonds to sell, or recommending stocks to buy.
    • Minor bug fixes.

  • 2.00 -- Released: November 26, 2002 (VERY major release)
    • File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and 1.14 (only).
    • Major overhaul of the main screen's user interface.
    • Greatly sped up operation of the program, by combining all the main elements of the program into a single program file. Previous versions required a second or so to load the "Transactions Menu" program, with large amounts of data written back and forth to disk, which slowed performance on computers with older, slower hard disks. We've obtained an upgraded language compiler now that allowed us to combine the transactions segment with the rest of W$R, to make one large .EXE file now, with no delays on accessing or returning from doing transactions, a major improvement.
    • Added a new research feature, a diagram screen for any selected player or company, which shows in graphic format all the stocks owned by the player or company, and, for companies, all of its shareholders, with the percentage ownership of each holding or holder. You can quickly skim through a chain of ownership just by clicking on any companies shown on the diagram screen.
    • New popup menus are available, for General Research functions and Entity Research (about the currently selected active entity), as well as for various groupings of transactions -- Trading, Management, Financing, and Other. Each contains text displays with useful information, such as earnings trends for the active entity if it is a corporation, or estimated income tax information for the player. The General Research popup menu contains a text box with a discussion of "Industry Outlook" trends for the currently selected industry, as well as a discussion of the general economic trend and central bank monetary policy.
    • Added occasional "Advisory" suggestions in the text boxes that appear on each of the pop-up transactions menus, such as warnings when bonds held are in default, or when a stock holding is near bankruptcy.
    • Updated currency conversion rate of Euro to 1:1 with U.S. dollar, as the Euro has risen substantially against the dollar since W$R was introduced a year ago.
    • New "ethics" scenario added for Biotech Industry.
    • Added restraints on government bond purchases, to raise/lower purchase price in the event of massive purchases or sales. (And limit purchases to the amount of existing government debt available.)
    • Bank or insurance company that is bankrupted by asbestos litigation is now (usually) freed of any further asbestos liability after the bankruptcy.
    • Made changes in announced GDP (economic) growth rate less frequent, announced only once a month, usually.
    • Modified company "Research Reports" by adding a disclosure where the company's union employees are currently on strike.
    • Modified "Database Search" screen to replace the SmallCap/MidCap/BigCap search parameter. Now, instead of accepting the 3 size categories, you are able to enter a minimum and a maximum size of capitalization. For example, you can search for only those companies with a minimum market cap of $600 million and a maximum cap of $900 million, by entering those search parameters.
    • Made major changes in the corporate "Liquidation" feature of the program, including:
      • Instead of having a parent company, as the "active entity," select a 100%-owned subsidiary to liquidate, now you simply click either of two "Liquidation" buttons to begin the procedure of liquidating the currently selected active entity. If it can't be liquidated into a parent company that owns all of its stock (a nontaxable liquidation), you will be asked if you want to do a taxable liquidation. Or, you can choose to do a taxable liquidation, by clicking on "Taxable Liquidation," rather than "Tax-Free Liquidation."
      • Under new rules, a bank or insurance company can now be liquidated, but only in a nontaxable liquidation by another bank or insurance company (in the same industry) that owns all of its stock.
      • A holding company can now be liquidated, in a nontaxable liquidation, into ANY corporation that owns 100% of its stock (even if the parent is a bank or insurance company). But tax loss carryovers, if any, of the holding company will be lost on the liquidation.
      • The program now allows for a "TAXABLE" liquidation of any corporation except a bank or insurance company, if you control the company (even if there is no 100% shareholder). In a "taxable" liquidation, the industrial or holding company must sell off any stocks or capital assets it owns, and pay off any bonds it has issued, before the liquidation can be completed, reducing all its assets to cash, which is then used to pay off any bank loans or accrued income taxes, before the cash is distributed to all its stockholders in proportion to their ownership percentage. Any tax loss carryovers of the company that is liquidated will be lost. In addition, any individual shareholders (players) will recognize a capital gain or loss when they receive cash for their stock, so it is a taxable event for them. (But no gain or loss is recognized by corporate owners of the stock of the company being liquidated, as there is no capital gains tax on corporations in W$R.)
    • A new "Updates" menu item has been added to the "OPTIONS" menu on the main W$R screen. Simply click on this menu item to load your browser and go to this page on the Web to see if there is a newer version of W$R than the one you are using, with a link to download the latest shareware version, or to order the latest registered version.

  • 1.14 -- Released: August 24, 2002.
    • (Details of this and all prior releases are available upon request.)

  • 1.13 -- Released: July 22, 2002.
  • 1.12 -- Released: July 15, 2002.
  • 1.11 -- Released: July 1, 2002.
  • 1.10 -- Released: June 18, 2002.
  • 1.01P -- Released: May 22, 2002.
  • 1.01O -- Released: April 18, 2002.
  • 1.01N -- Released: March 15, 2002.
  • 1.01M -- Released: February 20, 2002.
  • 1.01L -- Released: February 07, 2002.
  • 1.01K -- Released: January 19, 2002.
  • 1.01J -- Released: January 9, 2002.
  • 1.01I -- Released: January 2, 2002.
  • 1.01H -- Released: December 20, 2001.
  • 1.01G -- Released: December 11, 2001.
  • 1.01F -- Released: December 4, 2001.
  • 1.01E -- Released: November 30, 2001.
  • 1.01D -- Released: Noveember 25, 2001.
  • 1.01C -- Released: November 21, 2001.
  • 1.01B -- Released: November 12, 2001.
  • 1.01A -- Released: November 1, 2001 -- Initial Windows version
ANNOUNCING.... The electronic book, "WALL STREET RAIDER -- THE BOOK," a strategy manual in the form of HTML files, which can be viewed directly from Wall Street Raider, is now available for purchase online, as the "ADD-ON PACKAGE," for $15.00 (U.S.) at:


(Note: You will use your web browser and the registered version of Wall Street Raider software to view the electronic book, which consists of HTML and graphics image files. It can be instantly opened for viewing by clicking on the "View W$R Manual" menu item on the Game Options Menu of the registered version of Wall Street Raider.

ALSO INCLUDED in the "Add-on Package" is the "Customizer" utility program, which lets you permanently customize W$R company names, stock symbols, and the country where a corporation is based, for all companies in the simulation. The "Customizer" is already included with all registered versions of W$R, but not with the free "shareware" version.)

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Last modified: January 1, 2023