Zero Hedge: Wall Street's daily dose of doom and gloom

fight club
Zero Hedge posts are submitted under the pseudonym "Tyler Durden," the fictional character played by Brad Pitt in the 1999 film "Fight Club."

If watching the news doesn't satisfy your hunger for scary stories, Zero Hedge is the place for you.

Zero Hedge, a financial blog, offers a deeply conspiratorial, anti-establishment and pessimistic view of the world.

Even though stocks have zoomed to record highs since Zero Hedge launched in 2009, the site continues to hold serious sway among hedge funds, traders and others in finance. That's because Zero Hedge's dark perspective has struck a chord with the sizable portion of the public who remain deeply skeptical of the stock market and economy.

Sometimes the site gets it right before everyone else. Zero Hedge is credited with flagging financial issues like high-frequency trading before they became sexy mainstream stories.

"It's extremely influential in the New York, London and global hedge fund community. I meet clients in London and they mention it, and I meet regulators in Washington and they mention it," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, a brokerage firm.

Zero Hedge's outlook is nicely summed up by the tagline at the top of its website: "On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."

If those words sound familiar, it's because they're from "Fight Club," the 1999 film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.

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Who is Tyler Durden? Each post on Zero Hedge is submitted under the pseudonym "Tyler Durden," the fictional "Fight Club" anarchist played by Pitt who blows up the headquarters of credit card companies.

A typical post on Zero Hedge reads like it would fit in the movie script. "The retail investor is not coming back," the blog posted on Monday, due to a "complete lack of trust in a market that has been revealed to be more rigged than any casino."

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Just like in the movie, it's not entirely clear who Tyler Durden truly is on the blog. Press reports in 2009 suggest at least some of the posts are written by Daniel Ivandjiiski, a former hedge fund employee who was banned by Wall Street's self regulator for insider trading in 2008.

"He is your archetypal brilliant eastern European dude who is great at mathematics and a very rigorous thinker," said Colas, who frequently trades emails with Ivandjiiski and checks Zero Hedge multiple times a day.

"He is the most consistent source of that totally off the grid or novel approach. You can agree or disagree, but I don't think he honestly cares. Every day he makes you think. That's hard as hell to do," said Colas.

Zero Hedge now has 215,000 Twitter followers. No one from the site responded to CNNMoney's requests for comment.

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One-stop shop for bears: Zero Hedge enthusiasts find real value in understanding and debating all the scenarios that could bring down the stock market.

"Sure, it's got one view of things. But isn't it nice to get the other side of the rosy, cheery side of every bullish analyst on the Street?" asked Joe Saluzzi, who co-wrote a book on market structure in 2012 titled Broken Markets. "If you were to follow it religiously, then you're crazy. You have to put it into your own investment philosophy."

If some obscure credit instrument sparks another panic on Wall Street, readers of Zero Hedge will likely be familiar with it.

"If you read Zero Hedge consistently you will have every bear case covered. It's a one-stop shop. You will have everything that could go potentially wrong in the economy and geopolitics," said Colas.

The first rule of Zero Hedge: Zero Hedge itself warns readers that making investment decisions based on information posted on the blog -- or any Internet site -- "is more than unwise, it is folly."

It's safe to say that those who did make investment decisions based on Zero Hedge's bearish views missed or all part of a bull market that has carried the S&P 500 200% higher.

"The contra trade mentality has gotten its [butt] handed to it on a platter for years," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at The Clearpool Group. "I turned bullish five years ago. I may have missed 12% of the move -- but I didn't miss 120% of the move."

And yet Zero Hedge's loyal audience doesn't appear to be jumping ship as stocks shatter record after record.

"The people who don't like him will say he was wrong. That's factually correct but misses the point. The fact he's still here and relevant is interesting," said Colas.

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