Archive for the ‘Stockmarket’ Category

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Can’t let the month end without another Sunday Sermon.

This time a little bit of an update on the political and financial scene as I see it.

So far the Obama administration is doing great! (That was a little sarcasm in case anyone didn’t get it.)

Troops are being sent to Syria and soon we’ll get bogged down in another mess that’s none of our business and will probably take many years and many lives to get us disentangled from – leaving behind chaos and confusion and a worse situation than the one we tried to fix.

obama-milking-us-economy-dry_cow_

Meanwhile the economic crisis continues. Not that you’d notice. The sham recovery has meant that stocks have been on an upward trend, bonds have been doing well, and confidence is high.

And all because….

….well all because the Fed continues to print money and pour it into these markets.

bernanke printing money cartoon

Or at least it has been.

Then Bernanke made a statement a few days ago to “clarify” the government’s position.

Oh dear me!

He said that the government would… he thought… he hoped anyway…. assuming nothing unforeseen happened…. at least nothing major that they didn’t see coming… that they would ease off their money printing and bond buying… or at least they might… soon or maybe later… but sometime at least… well, it was being discussed…

Needless to say with that dithering statement confidence immediately melted away from the market and the DOW headed down by more than 500 points. In fact investors and brokers seemed to be selling everything, not just stocks and bonds but gold and other commodities too. Not quite panic but definite unease was clear to be seen.

The only reason it didn’t all collapse is that while the underlying message is clear, the Fed’s delay in implementing their tap turn off gives investors a little more time to make a little more money  -  they hope.

The problem with that is knowing when to sell. And that is the trick that has eluded investors from individuals to hedge fund managers since the markets began.

What Obama and Bernanke want is crystal clear. They see the folly in printing money and buying bonds at near $100 billion a month and they know they have to stop it eventually otherwise an even bigger financial catastrophe will result.

Their problem is they want to stop it without causing a massive market correction.

bernanke economic growth

And that, as Samuel Goldwin used to say, can be summed up in two words – im possible!

It will be interesting and perhaps a bit painful to watch what happens next.

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Remember this post from way back towards the end of May 2012?

 Furious Flabbergasted Facebook Fools Face Frightening Falls From Fanciful Flagging Financial Flotation Farce. 

As well as being the biggest F’ing title ever seen on a WordPress blog, it drew attention to the debacle that was the much heralded launch of Facebook shares on the stock market.

facebook ipo

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Well, the fallout from what is now being called the IPOcalypse continues.

The head honcho at Nasdaq has had his CEO’s bonus slashed because of it, and rightly so.

But don’t start feeling sorry him just yet. Even with a slash he will still be taking home a $1.3m bonus, slightly north of half a million dollars lighter than it would have been, but still enough to get by on.

Oh yes, and that’s bonus on top of his $1 million salary!

Others at Nasdaq have also been penalized, including Anna Ewing, VP in charge of “technical glitches” that messed up the first day of trading. Her bonus was cut by over a quarter of a million dollars. But keep those hankies where they are, she is still left with a $574,125 bonus for the year.

Losses for angry brokers and traders from the botched IPO, on the other hand, have been estimated at around $500m. Nasdaq has approved just $62m in compensation, I suppose they needed the rest of their money to pay out the bonuses?

Like the banksters, it all begs the question of just how incompetent do you have to be in the financial industry to not just lose your bonus, but lose your job as well?

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Way back towards the end of May I wrote a post with a big ‘F’-ing title about the greed-inspired stupidity and madness that preceded the Facebook IPO. Remember, “Furious Flabbergasted Facebook Fools Face Frightening Falls From Fanciful Flagging Financial Flotation Farce”

Launched at the ridiculous price of $38 a share, or about 100 times the company’s earnings, the price momentarily made it to $45, but then quickly plummeted to $34. 

In my post in May I suggested that the shares were worth more like $18 a share rather than $38. As of yesterday (August 16th) the price had fallen below $20.

Facebook stock has crashed

Facebook stock has crashed

I’m not saying this by way of blowing my trumpet, because I now think that my $18 peg may have been rather optimistic too. Investors have by and large turned against Facebook.

Apart from the odd blip, the stock has been on a downward trend pressured by disappointing earnings and by the fact that from today the so-called “lockups” that have prevented some early Facebook backers from unloading their stakes begin to expire. This simply means they will be able to sell shares into the market and with around two billion shares eligible for a sell off between now and May 2013, with a big one coming in November, the signs for a price recovery are ominous.

In fact further falls are more than likely.

Those who can are shorting the stock like crazy. (Shorting is where your broker borrows shares which you sell immediately in the hope that you can buy them back later at a lower price.)

The number of Facebook shares on loan to short sellers has risen from 63 million a month ago to more than 93 million.

So is it a good buy now at $18? I think not. Not for a while anyhow, until these locked shares find their way into the market and the price stabilizes and that will probably be well into 2013.

In the short term the status quo is probably down down deeper and down.

Forget Facebook and enjoy some music from the 70s instead.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKe2OfXLxuc

 

The small print.

Fasab disclaimer: this blog post does not constitute professional advice as regards investments on the stock exchange, such advice would only be given and indicated thus if an outrageous fee were being charged and this blog is being given to you for free. Also any investor should always be aware that shares can fall as well as plummet and should act accordingly by not investing any money they can not afford to lose.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?

Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” 

Ovid / Sir John Harrington

 

When I first though about this subject for a post on my blog, I had America mainly in my mind, I suppose because that is where the rot started to show. But when I though about it a little more I quickly realized that the same charge could equally be brought against the banksters in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France and in fact the entire European Union.

They took money that was not theirs, that was placed in trust with them for safe and responsible stewardship, and they gambled it and lost it. 

Then they used their influence on stupid politicians to steal the honest taxpayer’s money to fill up their coffers again. They were apparently too big to fail – what an utter load of nonsense!

They promised when they were stealing OUR money that they would use it to make loans to businesses and thereby stimulate and reactivate the economy that they themselves had brought to a standstill when they lost OUR original cash in stupid and foolhardy deals that no one with any brains or any sense of responsibility to their clients would have dared to go near.

They lied.

 

The banksters lied to us

The banksters lied to us

 

They took OUR money for the second time and kept it for themselves. A lot of it went on bonuses, sometimes in the tens of millions of dollars. A reward to themselves for staggering incompetence.

In any other industry, if you were so bad at your job as to bankrupt your company, you would not only be fired but stand a good chance of being charged with fraud or negligence or something. But if you are a bankster and have successfully sold the lie that you are “too big to fail”, then you get away with it. It doesn’t hurt if you have a few politicians in your pocket either! 

And, apart from paying yourself huge bonuses for losing OUR money the first time, what do you do with the proceeds of stealing OUR money the second time? Well, of course, first you give yourself another big pay rise, and then you gamble again and lose even more of OUR money.

Remember the J P Morgan $2billion loss – er, make that a $9billion loss would you. Just as Hillary Clinton “mis-spoke” when she lied to the public, J P Morgan “mis-counted” the first time they declared the extent of their incompetence! We probably have not heard the truth yet.

Banksters - the best we have???

Banksters – the best we have???

And President Obama has the gall to tell the world that these morons and liars are “the best we have”! Seriously? Do you really expect the people to believe that? I don’t think so. I certainly hope not.

But the J P Morgan $2billion loss turning out to be a $9billion loss is just the tip of a colossal  iceberg. This one is a hell of a lot bigger than the one that sank the Titanic  -  it’s threatening to sink entire countries.

 

Banksters Motto: Greed Before Country

Banksters Motto: Greed Before Country

The public and even the various governments have not been made aware of the full extent of the catastrophic losses these idiots (remember the best we have) have made. All the big banks, whether in the US, or Britain, or Spain or France or wherever are furiously cooking their books and have been for the last five years. Their companies are insolvent, they are bankrupt, but they are hiding the truth from everyone.  

This is fraud.

In fact, because of the power that they have, and the impact their stupidity inevitably has on the entire national economy, what they have done and are continuing to do is commit treason.

In a country run by Joe Stalin or Saddam Hussein (perhaps proving that not everyone is all bad all of the time) these treacherous banksters would have been put up against a wall and shot. That may be a bit extreme for us, but at the very least they should lose their jobs, have their stashes of personal wealth confiscated, and be thrown into jail. If it was good enough for a thief like ponzi king, Madoff, it should be good enough for thieves like them.

End rant, cue a few videos on the subject.

Enjoy!

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A view from Britain

 

A view from Ireland

 

 The best government money can buy

 

Understanding The Financial Crisis–For Kids and Grownups

 

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

I should make it clear right at the start of this blog post that the person who was being accused of being an asshole was ME!

Of course, you know from reading my blog that such a description could never be applied to me ….ahem, however, a while back I had somehow managed to get my name on an “idiot” list of people who could be called about various scams and “investments”.

I suspect that one of those companies that would never sell your details, sold my details.

Well, as an unwanted consequence, I had cold callers by the square yard for a while.

Oil was the thing to be in.

No, it was commodities futures.

Had I invested in ETFs?

No, wait,  currency trading was far better.

Nope colored diamonds was even better than that.

Shale oil, natural gas, copper reserves, opal mines……

And on and on and on and on it went for several months.

getting cold called

getting cold called

At the start I listened politely. I’ve had to cold call people on a few occasions myself and I know what a horrible job it is, so I answered their inane questions, pretended I was vaguely interested in what they had to say, but eventually declined all their more than generous offers.

Man, if only I had done a few of those investments I would have been richer than Bill Gates by now – or broke a lot faster!

But as the weeks went on, a bit like the telemarketers I wrote about in the cunningly named “Telemarketers”,  my patience ran out. I started to say up front that I wasn’t interested and couldn’t afford it and if they couldn’t take that hint, I hung up.

However there was one particularly unpleasant young guy who worked for an investment brokerage in New York. He probably had never made it farther than Manhattan in his life, but he was an authority about everything, about everything, about everything. You know the type. And like most people so endowed he actually knew hardly anything at all.

So one day he phoned me up. I must have been at a bit of a lose end (before my blogging days!) so I listened to what he had to say. He had spoken to me before, but didn’t remember, so I knew his patter and what was coming and therefore was well prepared with my answers.

Was I interested in investing? Yes, absolutely.

Had I ever invested in the stock market before? Yes, indeed I had.

Had I any stocks at the moment? Well, no, not at the moment. I’ve been waiting on a “really great deal” to come along.

Of course, I knew he had a “really great deal”.

“Terrific!” he said. “Because I am about to offer you a really great deal!”

Am I psychic or what?

I have a great deal for you!

I have a great deal for you!

 

Naturally I got a little excited at this wonderful news and wanted more details, like pronto!

Ah, but first he had a bit on his cold call sheet to quality investors.

What kind of amount was I comfortable with? How much did I normally invest?

I knew this would be where the fun would really start. So I said that it depended on the deal, if it was good enough then it could be a decent amount.

That wasn’t good enough. He wanted to quantify it.

“Would you be comfortable with something in the $5000 range?” he asked.

“Not really,” I said, then hearing him deflate on the other end of the phone I followed with, “No, if I’m interested, and there’s no guarantee that I am because you haven’t told me anything about this investment, it would have to be a much bigger amount than that.”

Almost immediately I could hear the vacuum pump activating and re-inflating him.

Now he was sure he had hooked a whale, but tugging on his line was just the big bunch of crap I was giving him.

Then he told me what the investment was. Some pharmaceutical company that was about to go into orbit once a new drug they were working had been perfected and FDA approved and all that rigmarole.

If you don’t know about these things, firms like these who cold call hyping some obscure share or other are on a BIG percentage of the price they get. Could be as high as 75% in some cases. The shares are usually completely worthless and virtually unsaleable on the open market so if you are foolish enough to buy them you are stuck with them and the chances of the company coming good are millions to one. Better to buy a few lottery tickets.

So he could do me a great deal on these shares. They had been trading at up to 90 cents a few months ago (I presumed on IMDAQ, that’s the imaginary stock exchange) but his company had managed to secure some at a fraction of that price. If I were to invest say $50,000 I could get them at 30 cents.

Boy was I interested?

No, not in the slightest, but I didn’t tell him that.

What I said was something like, “Yeah that sounds okay, but for that level of investment is that really the best you could do. What if I could get a few friends interested and maybe raise $100,000? Could you sweeten the deal on your end?”

I got the feeling that this was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to this idiot. He could hardly contain himself.

He talked and he talked and he better talked.

Unsurprisingly he could sweeten the price a little for that level of investment and the price duly came down to 25 cents per share.

I wasn’t very impressed. I asked for a better deal.

This time he would have to consult his supervisor to see if he could get a better deal on the share price, so the line went dead for a couple of minutes (a well known sales ploy) and then back he came, 23 cents was the best he could do.

“So that’s 434,782 shares for the $100,000?” I asked. Our calculators agreed the number.

“It’s good,” I told him, “But for that sort of cash I would need at least half a million shares, probably more.”

“Let’s not play games,” he said, ready to make another counter offer.

“Why not?” I asked. “I like playing games.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah!”

“You like playing games?” he asked, a little confused.

The penny was very close to the edge but it hadn’t quite dropped.

“Yeah, don’t you?” I answered happily. “This has been fun.”

“What?

…..WTF?

…..You mean you’re NOT interested?”

 

“Well I did say up front that there were no guarantees,” I reminded him.

 

“But?….  Why did….? ….”

Short pause.

Silence.

Sound of penny finally dropping.

Then, in a very high pitch girly kind of voice,

angry and shrieking like a girl

angry and shrieking like a girl

“You’re a f****** asshole!”

CLICK!!!

He was great fun. But, alas, he didn’t want to play any more because he never called again ;(

 

Have fun with your next cold caller!

 

 

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

 

First of all, well done if you were one of the people who tried out the quiz. I hope you enjoyed it.

Today’s blog, if the alliterated title full of “f” words hasn’t given it away already, is regarding financial matters. No, hang on, stick with it. It’s not that bad really.

Were you one of the “zuckers” who bought shares in Facebook? I hope the answer is no, because it is another example of the stupidity and madness that greed can provoke in people who should know better, but frequently don’t.

Zuckerberg Pre-IPO

Zuckerberg Pre-IPO

I can’t predict the future, but I knew that the Facebook IPO would cost a lot of idiots a lot of money.

The IPO launch price was tagged at $38 per share or something like 100 times the company’s earnings. It is easy to know why they priced it so. They set the price that high because they thought they could get away with it. Because the herd, unknowing and unthinking, would swallow the crazy hype about the company and buy, buy, buy!

Does that show more than a little contempt for the people you want to invest in your company?  Sadly I think that it does. Not that it is all down to the greed of Zuckerberg. The advising and underwriting banks had a lot to do with it and we know for a fact that they have nothing but contempt for ordinary mortals like ourselves. We are the marks, they are the conmen!

Usually they take the time to milk us dry before abandoning the market and leaving the ordinary investor to lick their wounds. But this time it happened fast. Within hours in fact!

Those who were not in the “loop” and couldn’t buy pre-launch, waded in on launch day and bought, bought, bought from $38 right up to $45 which the shares reached for a couple of minutes.

zucker

zucker

The poor fools got whacked almost straight away.

The market very quickly began to realize it had been conned, that this was not a LinkedIn IPO and the issue price had been set far, far too high to ever double on launch. An element of sanity crept in. Facebook  promptly started to fall, by about 11%.

In other words if you’d invested $1000 in the morning you would have turned it into $868 in the space of a few hours. If you were unfortunate to buy at the peak price, your $1000 would now be worth just a little over $700. OUCH!

Zuckerberg Post-IPO

Zuckerberg Post-IPO

But it wasn’t just individual investors that got caught. Almost every large mutual fund etc., most of which are run by, let’s be kind and say, poorer quality managers, felt compelled to purchase Facebook shares, not because they though they were a good buy but because they saw other idiots doing the same and they were frightened about the possibility of missing out “the next Big Thing”.

Little do most investors realize, but the situation could have been even worse had the price not been artificially propped up for a while by the investment bank underwriters.

For the benefit of those who aren’t investors and/or who don’t know how the market works in things like this, here is a quick summary. IPOs are underwritten by investment banks like Morgan Stanley. The investment banks therefore have their reputations on the line. If the IPO goes really badly so does their reputation and their chances of being asked to underwrite future IPOs (and they get huge gigantic enormous fees for this work so they don’t want to lose it.)

Trust Me I'm A Banker

Trust Me I’m A Banker

Thus, in the case of Facebook, when the share price stopped climbing and quickly fell back to the $38 launch price, the investment bank underwriters stepped in and bought heavily. Without their intervention Facebook could have fallen catastrophically on its first day of trading.

Facebook does generate cash, mainly from advertising revenue. It has a vast following and that advertising revenue should rise substantially over time, so the company may one day be worth the $38 and even more. Google launched at $85 and is now worth $600, but it is a proven quantity revenue-wise and the price rise took time.

But, and it’s a big BUT, Facebook would need to be a hell of a lot better managed than at its market launch.

Thumbs DOWN Facebook stock IPO crash

Thumbs DOWN Facebook stock IPO crash

But for now, I’m with my other “mad” friend Jim Cramer of Mad Money fame who rightly and sensibly advised a pass on the Facebook IPO. There may be a time to buy into Facebook, but the writing on my wall says “not today thanks”. Booyah Jim!

Jim Cramer "Booyah!"

Jim Cramer “Booyah!”

There’s an obvious question that I haven’t addressed. It is, “So what do I think Facebook is worth?” Well for what my opinion on these matters is worth (i.e. probably not much) I would peg the value at a lot closer to $18 than $38. I may be right, or I may be wrong, but I really don’t care because I haven’t bought any. I might reconsider if it the price comes a bit closer to my valuation, but it’s only a might.

The small print. (I know it’s just the same size, WordPress didn’t tell me how to change it.)

Fasab disclaimer: this blog post does not constitute professional advice as regards investments on the stock exchange, such advice would only be given and indicated thus if an outrageous fee were being charged and this blog is being given to you for free. Also any investor should always be aware that shares can fall as well as plummet and should act accordingly by not investing any money they can not afford to lose.