Popular Wall Street strategist writes final morning note

  • Nick Colas at Convergex has authored the Morning Market Briefing for nearly a decade, reaching more than 5,000 recipients a day.
  • Colas is leaving as the Cowen Group finalizes its deal to take over Convergex.

For thousands of investors and Wall Streeters, the morning routine consisted of breakfast, the gym and the Convergex Morning Market Briefing.

As of Wednesday, one of those things is no more.

Nick Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex and author of the sometimes-quirky morning note, is leaving the firm as its acquisition by the Cowen Group enters its final stages. Cowen purchased the brokerage earlier this year for $116 million in cash and common stock.

The company is expected to announce the finalization of the deal Friday, according to a source familiar with the matter. In addition to Colas, Convergex CEO Eric Noll also won't be staying.

In his farewell, Colas estimated that the note reached more than 5,000 recipients a day. Convergex itself has fewer than 3,000 clients.

Nicholas Colas
Nicholas Colas

The briefing stood out in a variety of ways. Several of the features have been copied by other analysts — in particular the use of a song lyric, usually from the classic rock catalog, as the title or as a unifying device for that particular day's theme.

For Wednesday's farewell, Colas closed with the Rolling Stones:

"You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find
You get what you need."

While Colas usually kept the tone light during his years writing the briefing, the content was important.

He was the first on the Street to write about digital currency bitcoin, was well ahead of his peers in recognizing the importance that exchange-traded funds would be playing in investor portfolios, and devised multiple "off the grid" indicators for the economy and markets. Among them were sales of used cars, Google search terms, and, of course, the Bacon Cheeseburger Index, which tracked the typical cost of the gastronomic delight as a proxy for inflation.

Colas' move comes amid several other high-profile departures for sell-side analysts. Jim Paulsen's exit from Wells Capital Management earlier this year recently became official and he has started to write independent analysis again.

"When I started writing these notes almost a decade ago, I never imagined how successful this effort would become," Colas said in his finale. "But all good things must come to an end, and today is that day."

Colas did not respond to a request for further comment. A Cowen Group official declined comment.