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

Is today’s stock market rally for real?

With the closing bell, today’s market recorded a significantly high spike to the tune of 5.8%! Somehow, when my ears heard the ring… it sounded hollow!

“Profitable” news from Citi chief this morning caused the spurt. But will this rally be sustained over the coming days? Already there’s talk of tightening credit. Metrics used by market analysts are signaling gloomy times ahead with a severe cash crunch looming.

FAZ is down at 60; I’m stuck with it, at 105. Will it rise tomorrow, or by the day after? Watch and wait for another day, am I kidding myself, or should I remain unfazed by DOW’s jump today?

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.

Laugh, or cry… Yahoo! Finance User Comments… 090309

How you would react to the following, I wouldn’t dare predict, but I just fell off the chair, laughing!

“Cancel your credit card before you die……….(hilarious!) Now some people are really stupid!!!! Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die. This is so priceless, and so, so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today. A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank. Here is the exchange : Family Member: ‘I am calling to tell you she died back in January.’ Citibank: ‘The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.’ Family Member: ‘Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.’ Citibank: ‘Since it is two months past due, it already has been.’ Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?’ Citibank: ‘Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!’ Family Member: ‘Do you think God will be mad at her?’ Citibank: ‘Excuse me?’ Family Member: ‘Did you just get what I was telling you – the part about her being dead?’ Citibank: ‘Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor.’ Supervisor gets on the phone: Family Member: ‘I’m calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.’ Citibank: ‘The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.’ Family Member: ‘You mean you want to collect from her estate?’ Citibank: (Stammer) ‘Are you her lawyer?’ Family Member: ‘No, I’m her great nephew.’ (Lawyer info was given) Citibank: ‘Could you fax us a certificate of death?’ Family Member: ‘Sure.’ (Fax number was given ) After they get the fax : Citibank: ‘Our system just isn’t setup for death. I don’t know what more I can do to help.’ Family Member: ‘Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won’t care.’ Citibank: ‘Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.’ (What is wrong with these people?!?) Family Member: ‘Would you like her new billing address?’ Citibank: ‘That might help…’ Family Member: ‘ Odessa Memorial Cemetery , Highway 129, Plot Number 69.’ Citibank: ‘Sir, that’s a cemetery!’ Family Member: ‘And what do you do with dead people on your planet???’ (Priceless!!) You wondered why Citi is going broke and need the feds to bail them out!!”… Yahoo! Finance User – Monday March 09, 2009 01:11PM EDT

Funny, just four or five days ago, I blogged on the subject saying, “Till death do us part…”

For some strange reason I am reminded of the Bee Gees, and tune in to YouTube right away… to watch Robin Gibb singing I started a joke (1968).

Hats off, to all those brave job-seekers in Manhattan!

“Wow!” said the cabbie in Gotham, and “Oh wow!” sez I, sitting at my desk after watching this video of gutsy New Yorkers. But for the video caption, I’d have wondered, “Who are all these people waiting in line outside the Sheraton Hotel on 53rd St in sub-zero temperatures!”

In contrast to the expected turnout of about 2000 job applicants at the Job Fair on 24th February, over 5000  applicants showed up! Including a few men but mostly women, they all waited their turn patiently outside the hotel in a long winding queue, until they could meet one or more of the 40 prospective employers that participated in the event.  With resumes and their portfolios in hand, donning business suits, here they were braving not only the bleak weather, but perhaps steeling themselves against looming possibilities that they may well have to consider even entry level positions, if at all… Most were mid-career applicants with numerous years of solid work experience and talent and these are tough times even for recent graduates! I learned later, there was another job fair at the Radisson Martinique in Midtown Manhattan just days before this one… thousands showed up, but with little luck.

The stock market reflects the goings-on in the job market… today, the scenario was even more alarming than last week. Did all those seeking employment at the Job Fair last week meet with success?  At this point, hard to tell… many of them were requested to apply online! It has the ring of “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”? Perhaps it is the 21st century tactic adopted by foot-dragging clerks-posing-as-hiring managers from companies who must at least pretend they’re not going the penny-stock way.

Frankly, at this stage, I fail to understand why companies e.g. AFLAC or even Home Depot would hire more people at this stage; or for that matter Sovereign Bank!

In the past year, AFLAC stock value has dropped by over 78%, and last January the Chairman magnanimously  turned down his $2.8 million bonus for 2008, not to mention even some of his $26 million “golden parachute”. But it seems some folks who have attended AFLAC’s “training” sessions say they’re hiring in every state; apparently, their hiring practices reek of a pyramid scheme! Hey, this is hearsay (I do not know this for a fact since I have absolutely no affiliation to them one way or another.)

Again, less than a month prior to their participation in the aforementioned job fair, Home Depot announced 7000 layoffs, on grounds that dismal sales had hurt them. A month down the line they would set out to hire a new set of people, eh, is that how it works? I find it really hard to digest such information. Likewise, “1000 to be laid off”, indicated the announcement from Sovereign Bank (in their effort to lower costs)… just weeks before Christmas 2008; then they are displayed as prospective employers at a job fair the following February? What in the world is going on? Dangling carrots in front of hopeful (and sometimes desparate) job-seekers… without any qualms whatsoever!

I’m afraid to further research all of the companies who may have been actually present at the Job Fair… to confirm whether or not they recently laid off hundreds or thousands of employees. Only those who waited out in the cold that February morning can really tell their story. Those who are still awaiting responses to their applications, submitted in-person or online, may have another set of tales. Yes, and I’m also thinking of all those who were laid off by these companies and who may now learn that their past employers are hiring again! What has become of them… are they also waiting at other obscure job fairs, or knocking on the doors of some recently laid off employee posing as a hot recruiter?

It’s such a shame, these shams… boy, what a scam!

Sham, or Scam?
Sham, or Scam?

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.