Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where are we heading ?

No matter where u r in this world u might have heard about the recent catastrophe in USA. A catastrophe which rocked & shook the complete world. No... I am not talking about Hurricane Ike or Hurricane Gustav. This article is on the downfall of 5 giants.
It all started with the Jan 22nd crash. The sub-prime crisis, US economy slowdown, Increasing Joblessness claims etc., by March many global banks have written down billions of dollars. Citi Bank writing off 50+ billion USD topping the list!! followed by companies like UBS. The total estimated losses of all the companies accounted to a whopping 512 Billion USD!!( write offs were approx... 275Billion USD in America, 215Billion USD in Europe & 25 Billion USD in Asia). Citi Bank need to sell some of its assets to come out of this quick sand! Few giant companies survived & few are still struggling & swimming against the tide & few have gone almost bankrupt!! Lets now talk about few of the biggest Organisations( based out of USA) which were washed away in the tide called Sub Prime Crisis.

First up....

Bear Stearns - one of the oldest Investment banks in USA was severely hampered & its stock price came down to 2$/share down from 133$/share. Finally it was acquired by JP Morgan. JP Morgan has paid close to 10$/share.

Next up...

Now its the turn of the US' oldest mortgage firms Fannie & Freddie ! The Fed came to the rescue this time.

The real Carnage begun in mid SEP.

With in a gap of less than a week, first Lehman Brothers made the headlines filling its bankruptcy. Then came the news on AIG, the biggest insurance company in the world !! Merrill Lynch followed in their footsteps. The stock price of Lehman bottomed out! It was almost valueless at 0.12$ last time when i checked. A company which has a successful history of 158 years surviving many financial crashes & world wars has finally bitten the dust :-( Interestingly Lehman has never even reported a quarterly loss till June 08!! More or less same is the case with AIG. Merrill Lynch is slightly in a better position. Luckily Merrill Lynch was taken over by BoA(Bank of America) there by becoming the biggest brokarage house in the world !! Federal Bank again came into the picture. It helped AIG by providing $80B loan after picking up 80+ % stake in the company proving that AIG is too big to fail !!! Parts of Lehman Brothers were acquired by biggies like Barclays. But that was not sufficient. Need to wait and see the future of Lehman :( It definitely looks gloomy.

The story so far :

Till date Investment Banking is the buzz word in any country when it comes to Finance ! Most of the American giants used to recruit grads from our IIMs ! I Banking used to be the most preferred profession for any MBA with splzation in Finance. But with the recent turn around in things it may soon change. There is already an article in TOI which says IIM grads are now shifting focus from IB to Micro Finance. I am totally unaware of what this Micro Finance means :-( But I am sure there is something cooking in every B-School :-) we can smell it :D

Bear Stearns, Merill Lynch, Lehman Brothers...... 3 out of top 5 Investment Banking firms are clean bowled. Left are........the dream company of many young Finance Aspirants (like me) Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley. Goldman has announced a 70% decline in profits when compared to last quarter!! which it self is an indication of slowdown. Both Goldman & Morgan used to be individual IB firms which out any tieup till now. But looks like they are reconsidering their independent status. Donno what exactly is cooking inside these firms... but the odour is definitely bad :P

If you think that the list has ended here then u might need to think again ! wait for another quarter or two.... there might be still some bad news left :(

Side Effects:

After all this mayhem analysts have termed this as Financial Tsunami !! & rightly so.
Guru Buffett termed this turmoil in the markets an 'economic Pearl Harbor' ! His quote: "It's not like Pearl Harbor where you could look at what happened with your own eyes and decide you had to do something that day. This is sort of an economic Pearl Harbor we're going through.'' Which only means that this Financial Tsunami has not reached its Climax !

Amid all this chaos, the Bush administration is trying for a $700Billion 'bailout plan' to bring some steadiness in the markets. But things did not turn in their favor till now. Voting went against the bail out plan and the DOW JONES plummeted 777 points on 29th Sep !! The biggest ever single day fall in the history of US. The jitters and tremors are felt across the globe & India is no exception. Now thats really Bad.... in fact its worse.

The aftermaths of these crashes, downfalls are Pink Slips in almost all the sectors which are dependent on US. IT is ahead in the list ! More than 65% of revenues of major Indian IT companies come from USA. which means these companies will get less business in future. Moreover, a significant part of these revenues come from BFSI(Banking,Financial Services & Insurance) sector(anywhere between 20%-45% of total revenues). Now its self explanatory!

He he he .......every second is filled with excitement these days. Its feels just like watching an F1 race! U never know who is going to crash OUT. My company has already started the cost cutting business by sacking jobs!! Is ur company into this business ?? If NO then they might soon learn this ART. BE CAREFUL !!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Break the Jinx

Kimster & Ferrari have started this season with a bang. There was no stopping till the 5th or 6th race. When everything seemed to be just about perfect, Kimi is followed by a series of nightmares! Forget about winning the race(or at least finishing on podium), he is unable to even finish the race !! Sometimes he is haunted by engine failures & sometimes by crashes on wet tracks.

I didnot watch last week's Belgian GP as I was out with few of my colleagues. Had I watched the race I would have either broke into tears or would have broken my TV set !! Hamilton started at Pole & Iceman at 4th. Still Iceman managed to grab the # 1 spot minutes into the race! Unbelievable...isnt it :-) Then he led till the penultimate lap. Penultimate lap- this is when the real drama took place. First the showers made the track wet then the Hamilton-Kimi duo fight for #1 positon. Kimi managed to throw Lewis into the woods! but strangely Lewis took the back door(hamilton has cut chicanes) and was out on track ahead of kimster!! Heart break for Ferrari & Iceman fans!!! immediately for some reason(may be kimi lost his cool as lewis overtook him or bcoz of Kazuki Nakajima coming in the way or may be bcoz of his left tyre becoming flat!) he crashed out!!! RACE ENDS, at least for kimi Raikkonen fans.

Post race comments by Kimi:
"I was prepared to win or lose, but unfortunately I went off. I only wanted to win. I slid wide on the fast left hander, and tried to come back on the circuit but I went off. I didn't want to finish behind we would have lost points. We see what we can do."

Raikkonen said: "You get punches and blows, but you just carry on and fight back. There is no reason for me to start worrying over what has happened to now stop trying. I will fight until the very end."
Now thats more like a fighter.... I luv to hear this from u Kimi.

Have a glance @ Kimi's F1 career so far.

1 Wrld C'ship
17 wins
16 poles
33 fastest laps
54 podiums
513 points

Next destination is Monza,Italy. Monza is one of the fastest circuits in F1, with average speed of 250+ Kmph add to that + Ferrari is from Italy. There is a lot to look out for in this race...Glamor,Speed,Over takings,adrenaline rush & finally champagne. If not Kimi, Massa will fight out with Lewis for the championship. This will FOR SURE keep your adrenaline pumping! Game has already begun. In today's(Friday) practice Kimi has topped the table. He has regained his lost form and showed his true colours!! RED Rules.... Kimi will rule(OMG...I am sounding too optimistic). Its going to be a Mission Impossible for Kimi to win this championship as we are left only with 5 races. Mind you Kimi is currently at 4th in the drivers standings with 19points short of steward Hamilton.

Oh...forgot to mention....just when i am writing this post the news of contract extension of ICEMAN with FERRARI till 2010 is out !! I am luving this sport even more now.

This weekend I am going no where....I don't give a damn even if the big bang happens & world comes to an end!! I will stick to my TV with Star Sports ON from 16.30 PM IST !!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Google turns 10

Happy B'day Google.

Google celebrated its 10th anniversary on 7th Sep. I know I am a little late in wishing but nevertheless its not too late :-) I am sure you all will agree that Google has become a part of our daily lives. We all search for something on internet at least once in a day. Not sure about remembering my best of best friends daily but I am doubly sure that I remember Google each day!! That is the impact this $20b monster has on my life at least. It has become a synonym for 'Help'. Google is God(for ppl who believe in God). Google is Luck(for ppl who believe in Luck). Google is a genie(for ppl who believe in magic). Google is Life(for all netizens). Google is pure innovation, an evolution, a revolution. A tool which has changed the face of this internet industry by all means through its innovative products. Recently it has added one more jewel to its crown in the form of 'CHROME'-A WEB BROWSER. I am currently writing this blog with the help of Chrome. Its looks really cool !

I have read an article in NYTIMES.COM. This article has got few interesting statistics. I advice you to go through this link if you are a fan of Google just like zillions of people around this world are. CLICK HERE to know interesting facts about 'G'.

We have reached a stage where we cant imagine LIFE without Google!! WOW... "LIFE WITHOUT GOOGLE"! sounds good...will plan to write a book on this :P

I admire Google.... do u??

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

SAI.... The Face Reader !!

Few days back.....

I was waiting in the parking lot outside a building in Secunderabad. I was just killing time watching the people around as I was a lil early than I should have. Then came a guy aged around 18 years, with a bag on his shoulder, lean, dark & tall. He introduced himself as Sai.

My first impression on him: must be someone from a remote area who lost all his money. Now he needs to go back & there is no other source than to ask help from someone! Believe me these kind of cases are increasing exponentially !! When I used to take public transport, I used to come across at least one such case each week. Though this case is a lil different, the jist is the same! Read on !!

Sai: I am from Srikakulam. I am studying Intermediate. I came here on a weekend to meet one of my old lecturers.

Me: so ?

Sai: My sir has asked me to come after an hour or so.

Me: so ?

Sai: I am a Face Reader !! Face Reading & fortune telling is my family occupation. I found your face very interesting !! If you don't mind can I tell something about u?

Me(within myself): Lets kill some time. Though I dont believe in anything of this sort, this is going to be fun. Lets get into the details.

Me: Oh is it !! Please go ahead. But I am not going to take out even a single penny from my pocket!!

Sai: Thats okay. I am not doing this for money.... I just saw you and wanted to speak to you !!

Me(within myself): Amazing!! not for money... huhuhhhhhhhhh :-)

Sai: Your lucky number is 5. Even if you take a new mobile number or a new vehicle see that you get '5' in it. You dream a lot about your future. you want to make something big in life. Unfortunately since your birth you have a problem with studies. You have never excelled in studies till now!! You are going to meet a girl before 26th of next month!!

Me(smiling): ohh is it!! Interesting. Go ahead...

Sai: This girl will become a part of your life !

Me: pppppuuuurrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhh !

Sai: You struggle a lot to reach your goals and dreams. Ultimately you fail ! Some bad things are happening to you these days and they keep happening untill you do some kind of pooja to god.

Me(within myself): hahaaaa... there u r ! I was expecting that u'll take me here.

Sai: If u r interested then I will explain u the process. Which god do you believe in?

Me: I am an athiest. I dont believe in the existence of god.

Sai: No sir... everyone prays for some god or the other. At least you will have a poster of god in your room. which one do you have...?

Me: Lets assume i believe in God XYZ... what next ??

Sai: I will do a pooja on your name.

Me: okay please go ahead and do...!!

Sai: It needs 7KGs of sugar!! you give me some money so that I can buy it for you and finish the puja.

Me: he he he he he ....good joke. Thanks for passing time with me.

Sai: why sir? what happened? you dont believe me? you can trust me sir. this is my family business and i pray to 101 different gods daily. I dont even eat food till I finish my puja daily!!

Me: Good. Infact very very good. keep doing. You forgot to say onemore quality of mine. " I am a big spendthrift(kanjoos). I dont give a penny if there is nothing in it for me" !!

Me: It was fun. Thanks for entertaining me and telling so many things which I dont know !! Have a good day & all the best for ur 10+2 :-)

There ends the story :-)