Quantitative Easing… made easy for at least 1.2 million people!

After watching this cartoon by Omid Malekan, QE2 must be clear – at least conceptually – to the 1.2 million viewers who’ve watched the video on YouTube! If that hasn’t worked for you, try following Felix Salmon on Reuters to see why Quantitative Easing may not quite be the solution to solving America’s ‘burning’ issues/problem/s – job creation, to begin with; the liquidity trap, deflation… Ben Bernanke’s nemesis? Yep, this reference is to QE2 – hot in current news, being touted all around, for more than one reason.

Feel like you’re sailing in uncharted territory aboard the maiden voyage of QE2? Well, breathe easy, you’re not alone! Just twitter about it… no, then how about this? Talking and blogging about a maiden voyage  (hear a lighter note?), here’s some trivia…

Prince Charles was the first “civilian” passenger to board QE2, with her first captain, William Warwick. Now, talking of Bill (no, not from the US Federal Treasury), indeed, Prince William is the first among England’s “royalty” – just engaged – to embark on a life-voyage with Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton, a “civilian”. 🙂 😉

It appears that QE2 may well be the current hot news… not only around financial round tables, but also in socio-economic circles! 😉

Dig Gold?

Well, if you dig gold, you’re probably going deeper in the hole right now, even while I’m writing this just now. Despite the upward swing of the past week which carried DGP all the way up to an all-time high of $43.23, right now, it’s way below $38, with over 3.6% plunge in the first few hours of trading today alone! Still want to hang on to your gold?

Well, make your call…  inflation has spiked; Ireland also needs a bailout with Europe fearing another “debt-laden Greece” in the making; South Korea has raised a key interest rate with China possibly headed the same direction shortly; is it surprising that the DOW is taking a beating?

Like some would say, “Cut your losses, get out now… there’s always another day.”!

 

 

 

38 Gold…

Yep, DGP Gold is hovering under $38 today, a steep stock-price plunge  of almost 6% since yesterday. For the past 5 days or so, it hovered at all time highs of over $40.

Five days ago, at final count, India had bagged an all-time high number of gold medals at the CWG 2010 in Delhi38 – to be precise! Congratulations to all Indian athletes who brought India’s total tally to 101, including the bronze and silver medals as well. Well done, guys and gals!

Is everybody in India celebrating this success in every gully and nukkad across the nation, I wonder? Are kids enthused to taking up sports more seriously, now that national pride has been restored somewhat, after the CWG success, both, as host and as participant, I wonder.

Netas are now back to squabbling, sorting out allegations of ‘corruption‘ during the ramp up of the Commonwealth Games 2010… will there be a true resolution on this front? Will the monies be returned (if they were wrongfully taken in the first place) to the national coffers, I wonder.

In the meanwhile, heavyweight China rattled stock markets worldwide by it’s surprise move of an interest rate hike, the first in three years! In the US, DJI, NASDAQ, NYSE, S&P… you name it… are all down… hold your breath, holy-moly… that’s almost 2-3%! Here’s more from Andrew Batson!

38 Gold sounds good on the sports track… but if you have investments in Gold on the stock track… keep a close watch, so you’re not caught unawares! Talking of stocks, sports, and celebrations here’s something to smile about… the Scots will roll up their sleeves, put their Scotch aside, and gear up for the next Commonwealth Games in 2014. The Queen’s baton was officially passed on to the bagpipers…

Lift, Wrestle, Shoot… just get Gold!

In Delhi, at the Commonwealth Games 2010, India shines with 11 Gold Medals. Having bagged Silver and Bronze as well, Indian athletes are displaying a sterling performance, much to the surprise of spectators with their watchful gaze at this sports concourse.

In world financial spheres, on the bourse, with the intra-day high of $1,351 per troy ounce, Gold is displaying never-before-seen staggering numbers, so those holding gold are unlikely to part with it during this rising tide, whereas others fearful of another downturn in USD and the general economy (despite conflicting opinions) are bound to tug and pull their resources locked up elsewhere to enable them plow back in Gold. How long this rally as in ‘The Gold Rush’ will last, is hard to tell, ’cause markets are manipulated to an extent where the common man is throughly lost, loses track of trends… any which way seems to be a losing battle for all but a marginal few.

For those wrapped up in the daily routine of a basic job, it’s hard for them to keep track of a diverse financial portfolio. Economists and financial planners seem to be lost as well due to never-before seen fluctuations. For everybody, it’s a guessing game. Gold’s glitter has always seemed attractive… so may be the best bet is to go for gold… on, or off the field!

Urban Indians’ bombastic attitude… nothing but talk!

“Words are cheap… “ is oft stated, and more so, it seems, by India and Indians. Charlie Chaplin went on to say ” … the biggest thing you can say is ‘elephant’.” Indeed, the Commonwealth Games 2010 may well turn out to be the proverbial ‘white elephant’, at least for India; to say the least, I’m ashamed! A mammoth opportunity to woe (and wow) the world… has fast faded, forever!

So, the stock market has spiked…  virtually to 20K, and along with it escalates euphoria among those following Mumbai’s Dalal Street, a.k.a. India’s Wall Street. There’s talk of going “from third world to the third most powerful nation”… would you believe that? I’d like to, but am sorry, and sad to confess… that just won’t sink into my head. So what, if the source (we’re lead to believe) is the US National Intelligence Council (and I can’t get around to believing the NIC has reported that, although, I concede, to not having read their entire report)!

Euphoria released a song, “Dilli Meri Jaan“, dedicated especially to the Commonwealth Games, one of four, created in recent times; if these weren’t enough, yet another one was released, “Come out and play, Balle Balle“. Kudos to its composer & singer, Anand Raj Anand, both, for the composition, singing, and above all for his implicit faith in the nation. Alas, not quite sharing this sentiment, at this moment, as I write, it seems the Games are “Khallas” (“over”), even  before they’ve begun. Doomed from the beginning, thanks to India’s ‘system’… i.e. corrupt government, now even the stadium ceiling has collapsed!

During July 2009 through March 2010 I assisted a buddy in India towards organizing a trade show, in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games; the event didn’t take off the ground, thanks to Indian bureaucracy, and lack of support from the sporting goods trade… only now am I beginning to understand that veterans in the local domestic trade could foresee the doom, way ahead. In hind-sight I’d say, promoting your brand of sporting goods in such a mired environment would indeed have been an expensive exercise… not quite in monetary terms, but certainly in the long run for your brand/s! A wise decision to steer clear, folks, I now agree, with a somewhat heavy heart, and long-faded hope.

Many will accuse non-resident Indians for an ‘unpatriotic’ stance, but the fact remains, that if most of the burgeoning middle-class India – and Indians – continue to wear an attitude that says “we’re resilient“, I say, this vindication is the fundamental reason for the nation’s slow progress… this tolerance towards mediocrity!   Again, many will react and say, “Hey, you’re being an armchair philosopher”; to those I say, we, out here, sitting so far away from mathrubhumi (motherland), are able to view India with a different perspective. Myriad and varied reasons lead us to make another nation our home; even so, it pains us to see India in this state, even until this day… along with pain, now there’s shame! Wake up ‘Shera‘! India, wake up to hard facts and reality… the roar from Beijing’s silent stadiums resounds!

Oversight… the contradictions in its meaning just irk me!

Talk about anomalies in language, particularly in English!

Even in the past, I blogged about this. Why can’t people just use another word when they mean “supervision”? Under the guise of ‘oversight’ so much damage has been done to this country… not all of it inadvertently!

Yet again, Mr Bernanke claims “lax oversight caused crisis“! I say, it will happen again and again and yet again… not through oversight; not inadvertently, but in full view and with the full knowledge of the powers that be! Until they stop pushing everything under the carpet with this blanket use of ‘oversight’… whoever cooked up the dual meaning of this word had to be all messed up… blame it on oversight – inside and outside! Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But this is just my weird blog… what about the weird goings-on on the stock exchange and in the world today… everybody suddenly seems to be on a high. Wonder if it is oversight… seeing above and beyond… you see, I’m extending the usage of ‘oversight’… surely that will pass? All’s not well with the world, and yet the markets are surging, folks are euphoric, thanks to improved oversight… or what???

You may ignore my diatribe (with a singular meaning) above, but someone please take a look at the text below, and the visual Thesaurus that follows…

Main Entry: oversight
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: failure, omission

Synonyms:

blank*, blunder, carelessness, chasmdefault, delinquency, dereliction, disregarderrorfault, inattention, lapse, laxity, miscue, mistakeneglect,overlook, overlooking, preterition, pretermission,skipslip, slipup

Antonyms:

attentioncarerecollectionremembrancesuccess
* = informal/non-formal usage
http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/oversight#visualthesaurus
Main Entry: oversight
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: care, supervision

Synonyms:

administrationaegischargecheckcontrol, custody, directionguard, guardianship, handling,inspection, intendance, keepkeepingmaintenance,management, superintendence, surveillance,tutelage

Antonyms:

ignorance, neglect
Defining Oversight_Visual Thesaurus

W2 or ‘no W2’… there’s no escape from filing… spring into action, folks, or the IRS will!

A neat presentation…  An alarming view…  A harsh reminder!


Picture the Recession

He wanted to be a “Quant”…

In the late 90s, my close buddy quit his well-paid job of ‘research scientist’ with a leading oil company. He wanted to be a “quant“. Lured, not by the money; that would follow (and plenty of it, although not quite as much as the obscene figures that Wall Street traders take home), but by the sheer mathematical elegance (I recall him using those very words way back then), which this new career would allow him to dabble with.  He spoke of the subject with a passion that sounded more like a woman’s dreams of luxury, silken sheets and Manolo’s!

His previously earned doctorate in hydrodynamics from M.I.T. was a mere starting point. He immersed himself in studying tomes of finance books – disciplined and motivated enough to “self-educate” himself on the subject. When he spoke of ‘vanilla’ or ‘exotic’ it had little to do with flavors of ice cream, or the fjords of Scandinavia. He pondered long over what he considered hot’ topics at the time – derivatives, futures, swaps and options – and seemed lost in a world of numbers!

To be honest, it was with immense difficulty that I had grasped the math entailed in regression analysis, linear programming and autocorrelation, towards earning credits for o-r and econometrics… in fact, I’m still fuzzy whether my present state is a result of “statistical error” or whether it may be deemed as a fitting error“. 😉 Random, or residual – why care! Instead, speaking again of my friend… when he first mentioned ‘modeling’, my brain – then skewed towards advertising, was farthest from ‘mathematical modeling‘. When he spoke of inverse problems my thoughts drifted towards micro-economics, juggling personal finances to fit month-end needs. Not in my wildest imagination could I have considered derivative pricing, or financial engineering.

Well, now as we approach 2010,  I can hardly pretend to have turned into some finance whiz, comprehending the jargon of Wall Street. Call it fate, or destiny, the events in the early years of this decade somehow did not allow my buddy with an opportunity to work as a ‘quant’ on Wall Street… something he had so deeply desired, and for which he toiled and sacrificed much, but which somehow eluded him.

Talking of predictions, futures, recent market volatility, financial debacles and gargantuan tumbles in the world’s financial capital, I am secretly thankful – at a personal level – that a perceived “failure” in finding a suitable position turned out to be a boon in disguise. For the past several years my pal has again immersed himself in science, and research towards what I consider a noble cause, and which, in my opinion, deserves far more genuine respect than what he would have earned through his computational genius on Wall Street.

Good luck to all those who have done well in their selected field, playing a clean, positive role, even in what is today deemed a maligned world, but which will undoubtedly rise again. When money begins to flow freely someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, memories of present times will fade, of that there’s no doubt, I’m afraid.

Ex-leaders of lending, once again at the forefront!

Express regret and thou shalt be absolved of blame. So what, you cannot be held responsible for the turmoil, despite ranking high within the nexus of all those who must bear responsibility for the present debacle in the financial world; a  disruption that not only affects past borrowers of home-loans, but also those who hold no jobs (only a bleak future… at least in the immediate run), thanks to the bungle-ups by Countrywide Financial and the likes.

In fact, while this hysteria has dulled the senses of the masses, it is the optimal time to keep your wits sharpened, stay calm so as to “…capitalize on a situation that was a product of (one’s ) own creation”!

For some, like those who faced foreclosures of their homes, they feel secure with these “new-name” lenders who are back in business playing the old game. However, for the rest of us, no matter how straight they would like us to believe they are, their new-found success reeks of profiteering through unsavory wheeling-dealing.

We need to borrow to save our homes… PennyMac, here we come. But pause… will this not lead to further doom… a repeat tale… that of the penny-wise but pound foolish? Stories of unscrupulous lenders abound… is there merit in borrowing at all? Today, although it’s unrelated, somehow I’m reminded of a sign inside of my doctor’s office; it  brought on a smirk every time I noticed it  – “In God we trust; the rest pay cash!” But perhaps there is merit in that, after all… ‘though whether it has a place inside of a doctor’s office, of that I’m still unsure.

Recent quotes, pleas… from leaders in banking!

Hear this:

Don’t give up on us… give us a chance to execute.“: Vikram Pandit, Citigroup.

We’re Americans first and bankers second.“: John Stumpf, Wells Fargo  & Co.

I feel more like corporal of the universe, not captain of the universe at this moment.“: Ken Lewis, Bank of America.

As an industry, we clearly made mistakes… I am especially sorry for what has happened to shareholders. “: John Mack, Morgan Stanley.

We’re sorry that our supervision didn’t achieve all it should have done.“: Hector Sants, Financial Services Authority.

It is abundantly clear that we are here amidst broad public anger at our industry.Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Tardy for sure… bereft of pithy?

Once again Vikram Pandit is  the CEO of Citi, but at what cost? Three months ago, this was the tune that Pandit was singing. Again, questions arise regarding the wisdom of the Merrill Lynch takeover by Bank of America. Examples of extravagance among bankers seem to be abound even today. Talk of trust, or banking… be they people in high places, or on age-old beliefs, it’s time to revisit these issues and rebuild one’s convictions.