Archive for the 'Money' Category

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Friday, October 10th, 2014 October 10th, 2014 Probir Roy

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What can set camo baseball caps apart is not the visor or the number of panels of the cap, or even the colour, but how the cap is fitted. The most comfortable baseball cap that can be purchased is a fitted cap. A fitted cap is the same size as your head, which allows the cap to fit snugly. This lets the sweatband built into most caps work the best, as well as keep the cap from flying off of your head in the slightest breeze. If you play sports, this is extremely important, as a poorly fitting hat can fly off at the most inopportune times. When you are playing war games like paintball, a well fitting cap can make the difference between success and failure. A properly fitted cap will not get in the way of safety gear,cheap snapbacks, and also poses no risk of falling off during play.

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Margin Call

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 December 1st, 2011 J Jagannath

There has been massive literature on the financial recession that shook the world three years ago. However, not many movies have been made depicting the exact turn of events. Wall Street 2 was at most middling with the usual Oliver Stone empty bluster. First-time director PC Chandor’s Margin Call makes more than a decent attempt at plugging this ever-widening gap. In his fictional account of how Lehman Brothers bit the dust, Chandor shows how harrowing those 72 hours leading to the bankruptcy were.

In brokerage parlance, “margin call is a demand by a broker that an investor should deposit further cash to cover possible losses”. The large investment bank in the movie realises that it has too many junk bonds well past their sell-by date, which it can’t sell to the investors anymore unless it doesn’t mind cheating. Thus, this dictum: “There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat.”

Chandor’s camera is a fly on the wall and is uncomfortably close to the faces of the dramatis personae. The viewer is bound to feel the tension. There are no two ways about it. The bank’s chairman Jeremy Irons, who is modeled on, YES, Dick Fuld, delivers a masterly performance as the man who knows end is nigh but would still delude himself that a miracle is on the anvil.

Not just Irons, each actor, the bits-and-pieces ones included, perform their part with a gusto that these themes need. Chandor manages to give everyone sparkling dialogues. In the heat of the moment, Paul Bettany stands atop the skyscraper and gets philosophical with his subordinate Zachary Quinto, “When you’re this high, you’re not afraid that you might fall, you’re afraid that you’ll fall.”

In another delicate moment, Quinto’s colleague has an epiphany that he is just “pushing buttons” and making loads of money. “I might as well play roulette,” he says.

The movie’s denouement is equally heartrending when Kevin Spacey asks the brokers to go for the broke (pun not intended) and deceive their clients. When the game’s up and only one team of players knows that, it’s an absolute rampage. This is why the Occupy Wall Street protests fall flat on one level. This quote from Reuters journalist Felix Salmon should illustrate why, “Wall Street isn’t picking the pockets of the 99% and giving the proceeds to the 1%. It’s picking the pockets of the 1% and giving the proceeds to itself.”

Big bang gain?

Monday, May 18th, 2009 May 18th, 2009 BG ShirsatBG Shirsat

Led by a landslide victory by the Congress, the UPA has returned to power, with a strong coalition that removes a huge overhang among investors. I had indicated in my previous blog that markets will revisit October 2008 lows if the new government has to take support of the Third Front, which includes Left. The Indian voter turnout to be smarter voted for stability, defeated communal forces and sideline Left for their anti-development economic policies.

The expectation from the new government is reflected in the first trading day after election results on Saturday with the benchmark indices frozen to upper limit of 15 per cent in just nine seconds and trading was halted for the day. Investors now expect big bang economic reform with key pending bills such as insurance and pension to be passed. The market expected to be firm from here and the FII inflows expected to increase due to political stability.

If the corporate earnings cycle improves, we may revisit January 8, 2008 Sensex high of 21,000 any time in the next 12 months. Most US macro data and credit market indicators are showing some improvement. However, incremental gains are modest and indicate continued growth contraction ahead following two quarters of GDP decline of -6.4% (QoQ) and -6.1% (QoQ) during the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first of 2009.

However, the historical evidence shows investors entering the equity market at lower level get a market return of over 50 per cent within six months and the recent slowdown considerably thereafter. Investors entering the equity market after 150 per cent performance get a modest return after three-five years. According to a Credit Suisse report, if you buy the market after a drop of 40 per cent, the probability of posting a positive return after three years is over 70 per cent. After five years, it goes up to over 80 per cent, against close to 40 per cent if you buy after a long rally.

The Sensex has appreciated by 75 per cent in two months from its low of 8,160 on March 9, 2009. So, the short-term upside is limited and for long term gains, economic recovery is the pre-condition.

Houses Crash

Sunday, April 19th, 2009 April 19th, 2009 Praveen Bose

It was some crash about which I heard today. A friend, I have known since the early ’80s, is in a state of near-shock and, now laughs and cries at the same time, by merely thinking of what’s happened to their investment.

Imagine in investment of yours crashing about 60 per cent in just over an year. She had bought a flat for Rs 75 lakh. It was meant to be an investment. Everything was rosy with the real estate then.

The ‘experts’ in real estate always say “location, location, location” when you consider buying a property. That is precisely what she thought when buying the flat. After-all it was barely 10 or 12 km from the international airport, which is very near to the airport for someone familiar with Bangalore.

About a month or two ago, she tried to find out what’s happened to her investment now that there are frequent news reports about the property market bouncing back. She had missed the opportunity to sell when the market had peaked, she thought. On trying to sell their property. instead of earning a profit, the highest price being quoted was Rs 30 lakh. They had rented out the flat and are now happy with whatever rent they are getting.

That left me wondering what must happened to the ‘investments’ at the other end of the city where there is not even water. The borewells have dried up. Many of them are high-end flats going up to Rs 1 crore or more. Today they got no water and any water they get is supplied on water tankers.

OK, back to my friend. She’s now praying that the hopes of a ‘V’ shaped recovery happens in the property market as many hope will happen with the general economy. But, that could take time in case of the real estate sector.

Google launches Google Video for businesses

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 January 6th, 2009 Priyanka JoshiPriyanka Joshi

Google is launching Google Video for business, a customized video platform aimed at businesses for internal use. Google is targeting Heads of training and HR and anyone that uses internal videos at the company. The product will be included in Google Apps Premier Edition for free, with 3 GB of storage per user account.

This is a “Zero billion dollar market today” said the director of product management Matthew Glotzbach in a briefing about the product. “But we will change this and Google video for business will be easy to use.” See Google Video Overview here.

These videos will basically have the same features and limitations as YouTube, including upload size and file type limits. Videos have access control, even if they are embedded outside of the intranet or Google Apps, and can be tagged and commented on just like YouTube. These videos are quick and easy to create and can be uploaded and shared in a number of ways: for training, to communicate end of quarter results, to showcase employee achievements and finally just for some laughs and fun during a stressful overworked the day.

So, what do you think as head of training or Human Resources at your firm? How will you use this? Will this replace your in-house video production crew? Will you use video more in video sharing sites to describe a new service or for quick updates?