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!

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

In the war against Al Qaeda, how will the US cope with rebellious local youth!

Billions of tax dollars are spent by US to wage a war against terrorist groups outside the nation. But then a young man from Long Island, New York, travels all the way to Afghanistan, receives training from Al Qaeda, then plots a terror attack over his home base, then goes on to confess… who and what should the American people fear more?

The anger and terror lies within the common people of the US. The reasons may be varied… frustration about the status quo, ignorance, prejudice, poverty, skewed perceptions, unreasonable expectations of life…

It’s odd though… people from other parts of the world have thus far believed that Americans have it all… with no reason to be frustrated, that they are all rich, beautiful and smart! The irony of it all… and now in the present downturn, we have already heard of how these pent-up emotions of frustration and anger of the unemployed can take shape!

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

Response to: “The New Frugality: No Passing Fad” in The New York Times

In response to this article, http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/09/the-new-frugality-no-passing-fad/comment-page-11/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Largely, you could say I’ve lived frugally my entire life; whether or not I held a well-paid job, did a survival job, or when I have no job; only, so that I could save for the rainy days (which are a given for most people, at least at some point in their lives, on an average); yes, and my savings I invested conservatively – not always with great results, but with reasonable success. Despite being watchful, today those investments have dwindled to virtually nothing. In fact in the given situation, I even played the bear market, so as to recover some of my losses. But in a single day the market spiked because of one measly piece of news. For almost two years I’ve been unemployed, despite my best efforts. Yes, I’ve lived off my “savings”… and no, I’ve never ever claimed unemployment insurance (that would be demoralizing for me). Tired of applying for jobs that are commensurate with my skills (with little success) and my profession, I started to apply for jobs – anything that I could handle, and which I was confident would fit my skills. I still don’t get them, perhaps because I’m “overqualified”. I trimmed my resume, but no go. Networked, contacted recruiters, applied for jobs online… no response. I started my own business… after delivering a couple of projects it’s been quiet… there’s no work! Where I live, it costs me a lot to keep going out looking for a job. Oh, and did I mention… I’m not hooked up to cable TV, rarely eat out (perhaps 3-4 times annually), am not a shopaholic (classic styles can go far). The car is 10 years old, I eat once a day… where do I cut back further? Here are a couple of blog posts which may interest some readers:
https://chitralekhan.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/ad-agency-layoffs/
https://chitralekhan.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/is-todays-stock-market-rally-for-real/
Even for those “frugal” folk among us, who are now considered “fashionable”, how far and for how long would our savings “for a rainy day” carry us? I’m busy trying to figure that out. Tax filing deadline isn’t too far now… this year at least that should be easy-peasy, eh? Especially if you haven’t had a job for most of the past year.

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.

Ad Agency layoffs

In Spring 2008, when I referred to layoffs at marketing companies and ad agencies, some smart alecks scoffed at my words, merrily mocking me and my writing. Numerous people holding jobs then dropped pearls of wisdom… “Network, get yet another degree (since my MBA does not seem to cut it), or better still, change your profession“. Some even went as far as suggesting I change my personal [‘Look’ and ‘Feel’]… like I was some website that was long overdue for a total makeover!

Of course, last March, Bear Stearns, believed to have been firmly parked at 383 Mad Ave in NYC, was only just beginning to teeter…  we all are now privy to its change of address… they’ve moved permanently to the annals of financial history. At the time of their big move, the formal announcement of a recession that had already been three months in the making since December 2007 was at least three seasons away! It is highly unlikely then that A&M agencies could have been insulated, impending announcements notwithstanding! However, only those who were laid off, and those who never got  hired — despite job postings that continued to appear (to ostensibly lure fresh, “experienced” talent) — would have gotten a whiff of the hard times to follow; obviously, the rest of the world was happily oblivious to the latent harsh effects it was already beginning to experience!

Long before birds herald the onset of spring, you may have heard (and read) twitters about ad agency layoffs. Think back, the frequency may have been rising since mid-December 2008. Now why is that? It’s because that’s when the US government formally announced that the recession had already set in since December 2007! Looking back now, for 12 months this recession had stealthily taken its toll on jobs, home sales, the fate of companies and on families that depended on these organizations – directly, or indirectly; or even on retirees who lived off their fixed incomes! Wow, so now that it was official, it was okay to openly talk or twitter about how much even the ad agencies were hurting.

You just have to read the compilation of all the twitters (14 pages as I blog just now) to truly gauge the severity of this situation. If that’s too much work, especially considering you may be looking for work, take a look at BNET’s mind-boggling layoff numbers… including ad agency, media and marketing layoffs, ever since the recession started. These will show you why you’re meeting with little success in finding a new job. Or that if you do still have your job while your colleagues have been shown the door, why it’s no time to be smug… the pink slip may likely be well on it’s way to you! Perhaps it’s time to consider another field, go to school and acquire a new skill… and while you’re working on that resume, remember also to go for a makeover on yourself… I’m just sharing those pearls of wisdom I’d received from the mavens on Mad Ave!

The layoff counter keeps ticking.
The layoff counter keeps ticking.
No stopping to this counter's ticking!
No stopping to this counter's ticking!
The Twitter since December is getting louder in Spring '09.
The Twitter since December is getting louder in Spring '09.
When will the Twitters end?
When will these Twitters end?