Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This blog will not be active in blogspot

I am in the process of moving this blog to a hosted site where I invested. I am also in the process of pulling in other writers to make this blog worthwhile to visit.

I won't be writing any posts in this blog until I accomplish both the tasks I mentioned above.

My tamil blog will be still in blogspot. I am writing tamil blogs once a week, at least I try to.

Please send your comments to tamilnithi at... gmail dot com.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Insider Trading

Martha stewart went to jail for insider trading. Christopher Balkenhol pay some penalty for the same crime, but won't go to jail.

Former Oracle Corp. vice president, Balkenhol will pay $198,000 to settle insider-trading charges stemming from trades he made in advance of news about acquisitions by the company, federal regulators said on Monday.

The SEC charged that Mr. Balkenhol learned about the acquisitions of Siebel Systems Inc. and Retek Inc. from his wife, who worked as the lead executive assistant to Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison and two co-presidents. His wife had access to their schedules and was aware of significant merger-related meetings, the SEC said.

If Martha was quiet when FBI talked to her, she could have avoided the prison term. She was punished mainly because of perjury. Insider trading alone didn't put her in trouble. Balkenhol is lucky to get away with just the penalty.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

As Market Cools, Home Buyers Seek a Way Out

WSJ ran an article about the creative ways thru which buyers bail out of the contracts.

For some builders, the disputes are contributing to cancellation rates as high as 30% and writedowns in some markets. "People will go to great lengths to get out of a legally binding transaction," said Larry Sorsby, chief financial officer of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. "They were willing to ride the real-estate boom on the way up, but some are not willing to ride it on the way down."

Duh...!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Supersonic SEC

SEC accused two Hong Kong residents of insider trading. I am surprised by the quick and swift action from SEC. The alleged insider trading happened just last week. SEC already filed the lawsuit!

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan named as defendants Kan King Wong and Charlotte Ka On Wong Leung, a married couple. It alleged they made "highly profitable and highly suspicious" stock purchases based on inside information between April 13 and April 30.

You can read the complete story here. I hope that all law enforcement agencies act with such a speed!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yahoooooo? or Ya Who??

Yahoo screwed up. That's the sum of it.

Yahoo reported net income of $142 million, or 10 cents a share, down 11 percent from a year earlier and below analysts' forecasts of 11 cents a share.

It's 10:48 EST. Yahoo is already down 11% on more than double the average volume. Not good. More troubled times ahead for Yahoo and for its investors. I believe that Yahoo, Ebay and Google will rule the internet. I can't confidently say that anymore!

May be it is the time to act on Peanut butter memo.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Indian Real Estate Seminars in U.S!

It may be the another sign that Indian Real Estate Market is peaking.

Citibank NRI Business is organizing the India Real Estate Seminars in U.S. I got the email for the following seminars in California.

1. Santa Clara

Date : Saturday, April 14, 2007
Time : 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Venue : Marriott - Santa Clara, 2700 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95054


2. Artesia (L.A.)

Date : Sunday, April 15, 2007
Time : 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m
Venue : Woodlands Banquet Hall, 11845 Artesia Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701


3. Canoga Park (San Fernando Valley)

Date : Sunday, April 15, 2007
Time : 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Venue : Royal Delhi Palace, 22323 Sherman Way #11, Canoga Park, CA 91302

If you live around these areas, just go there and listen to all those 100% ROI promises!

10 Lethal Mistakes for Real Estate Investors

Bankrate published a good article in Yahoo Finance about real estate investment.

If you are a real estate investor or speculator, read that article. It has good pointers.

Common mistake is "Misjudging cash flow". Many people fall into this trap. I feel that this should be the #1 mistake in Bankrate's list.

TiEcon 2007

If you live in Silicon Valley, do not miss TiEcon. It’s an event organized by TiE Silicon Valley. You will learn a lot in the two days conference. Lot of smart people are going to speak. Meg Whitman, Marc Benioff and Vinod Khosla are going to discuss business planning, marketing your ideas and socially responsible businesses.

Apart from all these speeches, it’s a good place to network. If you can get a VC to look at your plan, this may be the life changing event also!

Here is the snapshot:

Event dates: May 18 – 19

Venue:

Santa Clara Convention Center
Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA

Visit the web site of TiEcon for more details.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Neuroscientist Records Brain 'Dialogue'

In work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a research team led by a Brown University neuroscientist describes groundbreaking recordings of activity in two brain regions during deep sleep.

The “dialogue” they captured occurred between the hippocampus and the neocortex, areas of the brain where scientists believe memories are made and stored. The findings were startling.

Researchers found that electrical activity in the brain cells of sleeping mice wasn’t completely random, the conclusion of past research. Instead, the team found that the slow and regular firing of excitatory cells in the neocortex was echoed a fraction of a second later in the hippocampus.

You can read the complete story here.

May be scientists can figure out a way to induce positive dialogues in the brain when we sleep, so that everyone will look forward to the next day! Better yet, scientists may device a method to influence non-violence behavior in criminals that are in prison. Ok, I think that I am getting carried away…!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bond trading

Investors interested in bonds, which can be less risky than stocks and usually pay regular interest, now have more choices beyond mutual funds.

Following comparison is featured in Wall Street Journal. I don't trade bonds, that's boring for me!

Fidelity.com

Investors can compare prices and terms across roughly 10,000 securities, such as Treasurys, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, CDs and others.

Commissions: 50 cents to $2.50 a bond (prices are twice that if you trade through a sales representative). Investors can also buy newly issued Treasurys online at no cost.

TradeKing.com

Analyze and trade corporate, muni, Treasurys, new issues, CDs and other types of bonds.

Commission: $4.95 per bond ($14.95 minimum per transaction), and $24.95 flat fee for Treasurys and CDs.

TreasuryDirect.gov

Buy newly issued Treasury bonds directly from Uncle Sam in lots as small as $1,000.

Commission: There are no fees to buy or maintain marketable securities, regardless of the amount of holdings.

Zions Direct's Bonds for Less

Compare prices and terms across roughly 10,000 securities, such as Treasurys, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, CDs, and new issues.

Commission: $10.95 flat.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blackstone plans to go public

Private equity firm Blackstone group is expected to go public. They are planning to offer 10% of the company thru IPO. Fortress hedge fund's recent successful IPO triggered lot of enthusiasm among financial crowd.

On top of it, Blackstone may think that financial market is peaked, it may be the right time for them to sell the shares. These guys are very smart guys, they took companies like Hertz, Burger King private and improved the performance of these companies.

This IPO offer good opportunity to experienced investors. We can get a piece of private equity game. It's not risk-free. If these guys screw up, investors will be in hot water. But, if history is any indication, investors will be rewarded.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Paying Mortgage Early?

Prepaying a mortgage may seem like the best thing to do with your extra money. Yet investing the extra cash in a tax-deferred retirement account is often a smarter move, according to research.

Almost 40% of all households that are making extra payments on their mortgage -- or taking on a mortgage that is shorter than 30 years -- would likely be better off investing that extra money in a tax-advantaged savings account such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, according to the study, which is continuing. The financial benefit would be even greater if investors receive a company match as part of their retirement-savings contribution, the researchers say.

"We don't want to argue that it's bad" to prepay, says Clemens Sialm, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, who co-authored the study. "It's a good thing to save, but under certain circumstances, you're better off contributing to retirement savings, especially if you get a match."
Using data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, which covered the period between 1995 and 2001, Mr. Sialm and his fellow researchers found that many people are so risk averse that they frequently opt for the lower returns of a prepaid mortgage rather than investing in a 401(k) plan.

Assuming an annual growth rate of 5% in a 401(k) plan, the researchers found that at least 38% of households would have earned 11 cents to 17 cents more on the dollar by investing in the plan instead of prepaying the mortgage. Those extra earnings would have resulted in additional annual savings of almost $400 per household.

If the investors had received a company match for their 401(k) of 50% on the first 6% of their contribution -- and contributed that amount -- it would have added $468 a year per household.

Jennifer Huang, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the co-authors, said she was surprised by the "magnitude of the loss" when savings are put into mortgage prepayments rather than 401(k)s.

To eliminate potential risk, the researchers assumed that the 401(k) investments would be in safe Treasury or mortgage-backed securities. The returns on the 401(k) investments potentially could well be higher if the investments were in equities.

The 401(k) option did even better if the person itemized tax returns and deducted the mortgage interest rate, says Mr. Sialm. For example, someone with a 6% mortgage would, depending on the tax bracket, see the effective interest rate drop by about a third -- to 4% -- after itemizing. In such a scenario, investments in the 401(k) would need to earn only more than 4% after tax for consumers to come out ahead with a retirement investment more than the extra mortgage payment.

Another factor to consider: Investments in 401(k)s benefit from tax deferral, and investors may have a lower tax rate in retirement.

The researchers also found that consumers with a college education and those working with a financial adviser were more likely to choose a 401(k) plan over the extra mortgage payments.

Of course, there are potential benefits to prepaying a mortgage, including peace of mind and more-tangible considerations. For example, adding just $50 a month to your monthly payment on a 30-year $100,000 mortgage could save you $24,546 over the life of the loan and shorten the term to fewer than 25 years.

"There's nothing wrong with having a house that's paid off," says Ralph Wileczek, a senior private-client adviser at Wilmington Trust Co., who points out that you are better off having less mortgage debt if you lose your job. "If you have more equity, it's easier to tap into," he says. But, he adds, "You should absolutely do the 401(k) match. It's free money."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Criminal Intent

In September 2004, just days after Chechen rebels raided a school in Beslan, Russia, killing 331 men, women and children, the Los Angeles Police Department summoned senior officers to its decaying downtown headquarters.

The issue on the table: What would they do if a similar attack took place here?

Most of the talk that morning was about where to deploy SWAT teams if terrorists ever took over a local school. Detective Mark Severino, one of the city's counterterrorist investigators, then asked his colleagues: "Do we even have Chechen extremists in Los Angeles?" Blank stares and silence filled the room. His boss at the time, Deputy Chief John Miller, told him to go find out.

Within weeks, Detective Severino, working with a team of LAPD intelligence analysts, tapped Russian underworld informants, and uncovered an international car-theft ring that wound its way from the streets of Los Angeles to the Chechens' doorstep in the Republic of Georgia. The California racket was disguised as a charity group sending aid to the region. Based on other information, Detective Severino suspected that the operation was more than just a fraud scheme. His theory: The proceeds from stolen cars might somehow be financing Chechen terrorist operations around the world.

On Feb. 15, 2006, the LAPD busted eight people for fraud in connection with the alleged scam and issued arrest warrants for 11 others. Chechen terrorist financing was never mentioned in the indictments or in the press release that trumpeted the takedown of the operation. There were no news conferences claiming victory in the war on terror. Yet Russian police, U.S. intelligence and State Department officials familiar with the case today all say that they believe the LAPD's breakup of the ring was a setback to international terrorists.

Los Angeles has created one of the most active counterterrorist police departments in the country, often reacting to overseas attacks with its own contingency planning. Interestingly, “24” show also has all the CTU drama in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles police's low-key strategy is to use local laws -- from parking ordinances to antifraud statutes -- to crack down on suspected terrorists. Each arrest was the result of a conventional criminal investigation using California state law with no need for warrants, phone taps or secret court orders. None of the cases ever mentioned terrorism at all. Trials are still pending in many cases but there have been dozens of guilty pleas. In some cases, suspected foreign terrorists arrested on fraud charges have been scooped up by federal agents and deported on separate federal immigration charges before their criminal trials got under way.

Some civil-rights groups and Muslim organizations are concerned about putting too much counterterrorism responsibility in the hands of local police. Well, whom else you want to be responsible for counterterrorism? We can’t give that responsibility to Talibans.

Hamid Khan, the executive director of the South Asian Network, a local civil-rights group representing many Islamic community groups, says that many Muslims are fearful of the LAPD's reputation for excessive force and view much of its policing efforts in Muslim migrant areas of the city as insensitive. LAPD’s “excessive” force is nothing compared to what local police does in Iraq, Iran or any other Middle East countries.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Job Fair for Emerging Growth Companies

If you live bay area and looking for a job, this may be a good opportunity.

TiE Silicon Valley Job Fair is around the corner. It will be on March 8th, at TiE conference center, Santa Clara.

There will be two workshops by Dilip Saraf, career coach. If you are going to attend this job fair, Good Luck!

India Faces Dark Side of Its Boom

This is the excerpt of the article that was published in Wall Street Journal few days ago.

On a street crowded with bullock carts, B.K. Garg has a front-row seat for India's hottest economic-policy debate.

Mr. Garg's shop sells pulses in the Indian capital's old section. The prices for red beans, green peas and yellow lentil seeds have doubled on average over the past year, helping to turn worries over rising inflation into a controversial topic for India's politicians and economists.

The sparring has intensified ahead of tomorrow's national budget announcement and ahead of coming state elections. Some politicians have called for more rural aid, through increased agricultural subsidies and expanded make-work programs. But others see such moves inflating government debt, crowding out social programs and squeezing infrastructure projects that, longer term, could do more to improve living standards.
At the heart of the debate is India's new paradox: Amid fast growth, the country faces a set of rapidly emerging problems. Inflation is hurting the poor, especially in urban areas. Crumbling infrastructure is choking the flow of goods at home and from overseas. And by some key health measures, such as child malnutrition, the nation is slipping.

With India's economy growing at a 9% annual clip, perhaps only China rivals the country for market promise. But inflation, now running at 6.6% on an annualized basis, has underscored stark differences: India lacks China's new roads and ports and its broad-based manufacturing firepower to ramp up production and stabilize consumer prices.

With so many in India still living on the margins of subsistence, the smallest of price blips for onions or lentils can bite.

In a letter last week to chief ministers of Indian states, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the rising price for pulses, edible oils, wheat and milk "a major cause of worry." To improve supplies, he announced an export ban on pulses and milk powder, a cut in import duties on palm and sunflower oil and plans for importing more wheat. The government also set up a panel to keep tabs on daily prices of essential commodities.

For pro-reform politicians, one benefit of inflation is that it offers an opportunity to make policy changes in the name of helping the poor. Last week, India's cabinet approved a cut in a national sales tax. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is also expected to fill in a roadmap, announced in last year's budget, leading to the elimination of overlapping state taxes that now impede the flow of goods within India. In addition, inflation has prompted reductions in India's import duties, still among the highest in Asia.

But some familiar subsidies are also expected to feature in this year's budget as politicians seek quick relief for the rural poor. One likely measure is more low-interest loans for farmers. A more controversial initiative would be the expansion of the country's rural employment-guarantee system. That program, which offers farmers 100 days of paid work a year, has become a lightning rod for critics of corruption, government debt and political sops.

"The government is used to giving out freebies," says Chetan Ahya, an economist with Morgan Stanley in Mumbai. "The whole model has to shift toward one that is anchored by investment."

Most foreign investment currently goes into liquid financial markets, and could quickly exit if the global mood shifts.

Despite India's strong economy, there are growing concerns that government spending has increased debt to dangerous levels. In a November report, the International Monetary Fund warned that government debt stood at 80% of gross domestic product, and suggested measures to shrink it, including the reduction of subsidies.

Other countries, such as Argentina, have faced crises in repaying much lower levels of debt, says Suman Bery, director general for the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi. "It is precarious," he adds.

The immediate impact of India's heavy debt load is to squeeze spending. Health and education experts contend that funding shortages -- and poor monitoring of how funds are disbursed -- have sharpened inequalities between urban and rural areas.

Meanwhile, progress in reducing child malnutrition has been "uneven," with the situation worsening in 13 states, according to the National Family Health Survey. The survey also pointed to rising levels of anemia among young children and women.

But as campaigning heats up in Uttar Pradesh and other states this year, it is inflation that has the political spotlight.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Recession or not?!

May be Alan Greenspan should not be allowed to talk to media!

He said on Monday "It is possible that U.S. will be in recession by the end of the year". Most of the world markets crashed. Market pays more attention to his words than that of current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.

Today, Greenspan says that "It's not probable for U.S. to have recession this year".

Oh, well, he may feel guilty that he screwed up. But, it's too late. Markets are going to go down before coming back up.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Short-term trades

IMHO Following stocks are suitable candidates for short-term trading.

GS
TIE
AHS

Market is volatile in spite of VIX hovering around just 10. That's little strange.

On a side note, I feel that Yahoo (YHOO) stock will go up further. I won't be surprised if it trades at $40 in few weeks.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Trade update

I had big position in ICE, closed it. I want to divert the money to other positions. I am not a day trader or a swing trader. However, I like trading and challenges that come with it. When I am right, it gives me lot of pleasure and (of course) money.

I have big position in Goldman Sachs (GS) both in stocks and options. I hope that this would work out ok. I am also looking at MER, JPM and other investment banking stocks.

I had bull put spread on MER 85/90 puts. Currently MER trades at $92+, I guess that my spread will generate profit at the end of the day. (Today is the option expiration day for February)

Market is going up and down because of housing data. Is it a surprise that we keep getting low housing numbers? I don't think so. But, the market use that as excuse for profit-taking.

Related Link: ICE

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

School Admissions Nightmare

If you are a parent in India, you know how difficult it is to secure admission for your child. I heard about all kinds of horror stories! I personally know a friend that camped out all night along in an elementary school in Chennai to get the application form for his child – for Kindergarten class!

The same thing happens in London too, according to the story published in Wall Street Journal.

Some excerpts from that article:

To get her son into elementary school at age 4, Emma Pliner signed him up at birth. When she went into labor, she took the application forms with her to the hospital. "I filled in the forms with an epidural in my back," she says.

At Wetherby, the boys school near Hyde Park, head teacher Jenny Aviss advises women scheduling Caesarean sections to have them early in the month in order to secure one of five places that the school allots to newborns each month. "If you have the option, don't wait until the 31st, have it on the first and call on the second," she says.

At one popular private nursery, the Broadhurst School, mothers sign up even before their babies are born. Headmistress Deirdre Berkery recently got a call from a woman who was five weeks' pregnant. "Every year, there seems to be more pressure for places," says Ms. Berkery, whose school is fully booked until January 2010.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Workshop on Term sheets and early stage financing

Are you seeking funds from VCs and Angels? It's better to understand term sheets and early stage financing before you meet with them. TiE is going to conduct workshop on Term sheets and Financing on February 21, 2007. Following is from the email I got.

As the economy and the funding environment continue to grow, more entrepreneurs are starting new ventures or actively seeking to grow their businesses. To help entrepreneurs understand the financing realm, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) is presenting Financing and Term Sheet workshop on Wednesday, February 21, 2007. This workshop will focus on angel and venture capital financing and term sheet issues. This workshop will have instructors from the major Silicon Valley law firms, who are experts in angel financing and venture capital matters.

A key part of building a successful technology company is raising capital, often from angels and venture capitalists. In addition, many founders are now bypassing traditional venture capital financing, and choosing instead to self finance their ventures. Knowing the important issues relating to such financings can be invaluable.

This workshop is designed to educate participates on the key terms and issues to consider when raising investment capital from angels and venture capital firms, as well as the issues facing founder financed ventures.

You will learn:

The differences among founder, angel and traditional venture capital financings

The advantages and disadvantages to founders of self-financing, and angel and venture capital financed ventures

Key terms to consider when raising capital from angel and venture capital investors

The effect that founder, angel and venture capital financings can have on your company’s liquidity. The workshop is three hours and will consist of a presentation of key financing issues, an interactive workshop where attendees get to address such issues with Silicon Valley legal experts and an expert panel discussion and question and answer session.

Host: Murrali Rangarajan, TiE SV Charter Member

Venue:

TiE Conference Center
Suite 108
2903 Bunker Hill Lane,
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Date & Time: 6:00pm to 10:00pm on Feb 21, 2007

You can use this link to register or go to TiE website.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Silicon Valley is rebooting

Wall Street Journal published an article based on a report by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, nonprofit group in California.

Conclusion of the report: Silicon Valley's nascent economic recovery gathered steam last year, with the nation's technology capital adding more than 30,000 jobs and showing gains in areas such as average annual wages and household income.

Doug Henton, a co-author of the report, says Silicon Valley is undergoing a structural shift in which lower-skilled jobs are moving out of the area to be replaced by jobs requiring higher skills such as design and specialties in certain technologies.

The report comes as Silicon Valley, which prospered during the dot-com frenzy in the late 1990s, has struggled to remake itself in the wake of the tech crash in 2000. In the years since, the region has experienced job losses and a slowdown in growth at many tech companies. The area began to turn the corner in 2005 when a net gain of 2,000 jobs was recorded, the first time since 2001 that there had been an overall increase in jobs. Start-up activity has also become widespread again, with Internet firms specializing in online video, social networking and "clean technology" springing up.

For the 12 months through the second quarter of 2006, Silicon Valley added a net total of 33,252 jobs, which translated to a 2.9% rise in jobs, according to the Joint Venture report. Meanwhile, the region's unemployment rate declined last year to about 4% from nearly 5% in 2005 and down from a peak of nearly 8% in 2002. Many tech companies, from start-ups to larger companies, have recently complained that it has been difficult to hire and fill open jobs. Wow… That’s nice…for a change!

Friday, January 26, 2007

How to Compete in a Global Economy

If your goal is to get senior management positions, overseas experience is a must. It was an unwritten rule. Now, it's a written rule.

U.S. News & World Report ran a story on this. Read more in this link: http://biz.yahoo.com/weekend/globaleconomy_1.html

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Existing Home Sales Plummet in 2006

News from AP: Sales of Existing Homes Plunge by Largest Amount in 17 Years

Sales of existing homes fell in December, closing out a year in which demand for homes slumped by the largest amount in 17 years.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes were down 0.8 percent last month, a bigger decline than had been expected. For the year, sales fell by 8.4 percent, the biggest annual decline since 1989, when existing home sales fell by 14.8 percent

The sales figure underscored the sharp contraction that is going on in the once high-flying housing market, which before last year had set sales records for five straight years.

Even with the sharp drop in sales last year, the median price of an existing home sold in 2006 managed to rise a slight 1.1 percent. But that was far below the double-digit gains during the boom years. The median home price had risen by 12.4 percent in 2005.

After a five-year boom, housing slowed significantly last year, which has caused ripple effects throughout the economy with rising job layoffs in construction and other housing-related industries.

But economists said they believe the low point for housing has been reached and they are forecasting a slow rebound in 2007. Because of that optimism, analysts don't believe the slump in housing will drag the overall economy into a recession.

The 0.8 percent drop in sales in December came after two straight months of improving sales, the first back-to-back sales gains since the spring of 2005.

David Lereah, chief economist for the Realtors, said that even with the December setback, he still believes that sales of existing homes have hit bottom and will start to gradually improve.

I don't believe Lereah guy, he is paid to talk like this. Someone even started blog watch on this guy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sallie Krawcheck


Talk about bad timing. I wrote a detailed article on Sallie and her rise to the top. I even concluded that article mentioning that she would be the next CEO of citigroup. Sallie was asked to move to wealth services division, just when I was about to publish my posting. Well, it doesn't matter now.


I think Sallie lost her chance to become CEO of citigroup. Her performance as CFO didn't impress investors, they basically asked for her head on the plate. Citi CEO Prince doesn't want to do that. Sallie got some kind of graceful exit.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

God gets spam too!

I read the article about Hell.com. If you haven't heard about that site, that's not a surprise, because that site is secretive online community.

There is another site called Heaven.com; Heaven is not as popular as Hell! Hell.com, Heaven.com... How about evil.com, good.com, I-am-a-very-bad-guy.com, You-are-so-cute.com, go-to-hell.com, etc.,? If I buy these kind of domains, can I sell those domains for million dollars also? Hell.com episode shows that we are not in late 90s craze. People are getting more sense, they try to evaluate the business before paying lots of moola. Well, atleast some people are cautious.

Heaven.com gets lot of traffic, but still that site generates only $5 or $6 a day thru ads. Experience of Heaven.com offers a cautionary tale for any would-be buyers of Hell or any other site like that.

Heaven.com gets different kind of web traffic too. It has an email address: God@Heaven.com. This site's founder reports that he receives several thousand emails daily. Like the rest of us, God gets lots of spam, according to the site's founder.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Googlifornia

There are talks about Google buying Iran so that we don’t need to worry about nuclear war! Forget those fake stories, here is a true story:

After cashing in more than 9 million shares valued at $3.7 billion in 2006, 16 Google insiders will owe the California State as much as $380 million in taxes — enough to cover the salaries of more than 3,000 state workers. Taxes paid by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page account for nearly half the amount. There is virtually no way for them or other California billionaires to escape a 9.3% state capital gains tax or a recent voter-approved 1% tax on the wealthy to underwrite the state's mental health programs.

In the often slippery world of state finance, the wildly successful Google has had an unusually quantifiable effect on California's budget. It has become the face of an extraordinary two-year resurgence in state capital gains and stock-option revenue, much of which can be traced back to the tech sector. As Google's stock topped $500 last year, company executives continued to sell hundreds of thousands of shares each month, according to an analysis of insider transaction data by research firm Thomson Financial.

Commenting on Google’s tax money, California's Finance Department’s spokesman H.D. Palmer said, “"On behalf of a grateful state, I'll be happy to wash their windows or mow their lawn!”.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

ICE, ICE, ICE... you are so Nice, Nice, Nice...

If you had bought ICE when I wrote about on November 16, 2006, you would be a happy person today. ICE is still going strong. Have your stop loss in place and enjoy the gains!




Update: Jim Cramer told his mad money crowd today to take some profits in ICE, so you will see little price pressure for next few days.

Bulls finally get to see “Happy” New Year!

Market is getting active after initial dull days in 2007. Investors regained confidence today, sending stocks higher after oil prices plunged and a drop in jobless claims. Dow rose 72.82 to 12,514.98; Nasdaq rose 25.52 to 2,484.85.

Weekly jobless claims fell 26,000, to 299,000 and that marked the lowest number of new claims in six months. It shows that fundamentals of economy are still strong.

Nasdaq blew through its six-year high of 2470! Volume was solid for both the Nasdaq and NYSE. Nasdaq had a beautiful bounce of support at its 50-day moving average (2421) last week. Now, it has support at 2460. May be this is the year Nasdaq will see a decent gain and finish above 3200, I hope so.

Hmm, once upon a time we were celebrating Nasdaq 5000. Now, we are hoping for 3200!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

NYSE acquires stake in NSE, India

New York Stock Exchange along with Goldman Sachs and other foreign investors agreed to pick up a combined stake of 20% in India’s National Stock Exchange. The NYSE Group is buying a 5% stake for $115 million in cash, valuing the NSE at $2.3 billion. Goldman Sachs, General Atlantic and Softbank Asian Infrastructure Fund will also acquire 5% each. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.

NSE will not get any proceeds from the transaction. Domestic shareholders including ICICI Bank, Industrial Finance Corp. of India, IL&FS Trust and Punjab National Bank sold some of their stake to the foreign players.

National Stock Exchange Managing Director Ravi Narain said of the deal: “As Indian businesses grow global, and the mindset of our customer base grows global, it’s inevitable that financial markets make plans to go in that direction.”

India’s stock indexes have risen sharply in the past year as investors poured money into companies, their confidence bolstered by strong economic growth of over 8%, the government’s move to increase foreign investment in several key sectors and growing consumer demand. The National Stock Exchange’s flagship Nifty 50 index crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time last month. In 2006, the average daily traded value in equities on the National Stock Exchange was around $2 billion and the notional average daily traded value in equity derivatives was around $7 billion.

It's another positive sign for Indian Stock Market. When more people trade, stock exchanges make all the money. Investors and traders either lose or win. Stock exchanges don't lose.

You can read the complete article here.

Destroy the Competition!

"Destroy the competition" - One business owner took this advice literally and set the competing shop on fire. David Allen wrote about this in his blog. You can read more about this here.

The business owner faces 25 years in prison now, if he is found guilty. People do all kinds of things thinking that no one will find out about them. Well, only problem is that these guys are so stupid that they leave evidence and then set the competing shop on fire. There is a basic psychology to it, when people are very emotional, brain just stops working.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Speculators Helped Fuel Florida's Housing Boom

Wall Street Journal wrote another article about how speculators drove up the housing boom. If you are a subscriber, you can read that here.

Florida Housing Bust House bought for $621k in Oct 2005 was sold for $250k in Oct 2006.

House bought in September 2004 for $435k was sold for $275k in October 2006.

$690k investment in July 2005 fetched $400k in October 2006.

One of the investors said ""This market downturn came out of nowhere, like a snowstorm...It surprised everybody, especially the people making mortgage payments."

I keep writing about real estate bubble in India. There are so many real estate speculators in all metro cities in India. All these guys think that flipping land to IT companies is a sure-fire way to get ultra rich. Many people think that there is no bubble in India, nothing will happen to real estate market in India and so on. Like the Florida investor said it would come like a snowstorm.

Technology outsourcing in 2007

A research report suggests business transformation to accelerate technology outsourcing in 2007. It also finds India to be the favorite top destination for IT Services.

NeoIT, a California-based consulting firm, predicts the services globalization industry to continue to grow at a brisk rate of 25-30 percent in the coming year. This owes to the fact that more and more companies will look for services globalization initiatives.

Atul Vashistha, NeoIT CEO says, "Business transformation through services globalization is one of the most important levers that global companies can no longer afford to ignore."

India will continue to be the top destination for IT services, but buyers will look for cities of excellence in other countries, too, where they can leverage employee skills.

This is according to the research, which echoes the predictions of Tholons, a Washington DC-based investment advisory and management firm, when it released its report last month.

Both firms predict that M&A activity will increase this year, with outsourcing services companies buying consulting firms or those firms that have local knowledge in the countries where their customers reside.

The trends in 2007 will see companies from developed countries buying firms in countries like India, the Philippines and Russia to gain access to lower-cost talent, forecasts the consulting firms.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

$100 Laptop

MIT lab started this project two years ago. $100 laptop is going to be a reality this year. Many people are impressed with quality and reliability of the laptop and the XO operating system it runs on. There is a new interface called "Sugar".


Initially this laptop is going to be sold for $150. The price will reach (the original estimated price) $100 once mass production starts. Many countries expressed interest in these laptops. India expressed interest initially, but backed out, I am not sure why.

This laptop has battery charging system that was operated by hand, yes, hand! Just like the emergency torch light you get in costco, there is a mechanical lever on the side, you just give it a whirl, your laptop is charged. This laptop is mainly targeted at developing countries, so it is not relying on any electrical power. It runs on slimmed down Linux, with 512MB flash memory. No hard disk. Some guys even tried audio/video conference with this laptop.

There are lot of sites where you can learn more about this project. Best place to start is Laptop.org. Another site of interest is the blog that follows the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Preview of 2007

2006 is a good year for investors. If I said this in Dec 2005, many people would not have believed it. 2006 went ahead with full charge in spite of inflation, Iraq, Iran, and Oil price increase. Total assets in the mutual-fund industry crossed the $10 trillion-mark for the first time in October, according to ICI (Investment company Institute).

Many fund managers waited for pull back in October to jump in the rally that was started in July. That pull back didn’t happen, so many fund managers’ performance is lagging behind S&P 500 index in 2006. Fewer than 20% of U.S. fund managers running diversified stock funds that try to beat the market managed to top the Standard & Poor's-500 this year, according to data-tracker Lipper.

Driven by a splurge of deal-making, a halt in the Federal Reserve's campaign of raising interest rates and continued profit growth, the Dow Jones Industrial Average completed its best year since 2003, gaining 16%. Lot of investors are now itching to get in the party, that would drive the stock market higher in 2007.

For 2007, outlook for stock market looks brighter. Employment numbers remain strong, that should compensate for housing slowdown. Third year of presidential term is always a good year for the stocks. Government tends to take lot of economy-boosting decisions in that year. (Are they not supposed to do that all the time?!) So, 2007 should be a good year. Bumper crop of bonuses on Wall Street could also find their way into stocks.

Emerging markets keep marching higher. You may not get the same spectacular results we had in the past few years, but it should still return decent numbers in 2007. All the fund managers focus on BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Out of these four countries, India and China still has some room for stocks to climb. However, many analysts believe that India and China are in bubble stage. Investing in Russia is not for faint-hearted.

If you are investing in India, enjoy your gains. Market will go higher before retreat. Always have your stop losses in place. Many Indian investors know that they are in somewhat bubble stage in both stock market and real estate. Their hope is that nothing will happen for next few years. Only problem is that bad things happen in stock market only when you don’t expect it. The bottom line is that always monitor your investments especially if you are in India and China.

Gold will rise further from current levels. Silver will also see some healthy market. Zinc mining companies should see lot of buyout offers from established players.

US$ will go down little. That should also help push Gold price up higher.

Large cap stocks already attracted lot of optimists in 2006. They should see more gains in 2007.

REITs performed very well in 2006, that momentum should continue into 2007. If Fed cuts rates in May 2007, that will drive up the momentum further.

Lot of deals happened in 2006. Lot more deals are expected in 2007. That should give tremendous boost to the market.

Good Luck to all the readers. I wish you very Happy New Year!