September 2006


US economic situation was bad for over couple of years now.  I personally have been keeping my fingers crossed for a long time now. I realise its a slow process ..the coming of recession.

Here is a nice round up of the situation 

 Bonds are screaming recession right now, as stocks continue to spike higher on window dressing and short covering. Rates have been falling for several months now, but housing continues to implode at an alarming rate, now with falling prices across most of the country. The massive fiscal and trade deficits are putting the US dollar at major risk, as we depend on the investment of our foreign friends to finance our deficits, homeland security and the ever-growing wars on terror. No borrowing from the people, as our US personal savings rate is now negative, and growing deeper everyday. Think about it…if the tech (dotcom) bubble could induce a mild recession in 2001-2, what will the bursting of the greatest housing (lending) bubble of all-time produce? Sorry, but falling oil prices won’t save your day. Oil is still double what it was priced at in 2001-2. Still up over 100% from just four years ago! As for housing and lending, everybody is in…and many are and will continue to try to run for the exits… 
 
October 2006 has the potential for a historic sell-off that could put the US economy in a moderate to severe recession within days if not hours. The negative wealth effect of an imploding housing and lending bubble, coupled with selling in the public stock markets, will put the consumer (~70% of GDP) and our banks and lending institutions on ice for some time.  
 
Lastly, history tells us that soft landings rarely happen, inverted yield curves often lead to recession, the “end” of a rate hike cycle often precludes a significant decline in stock indices, and that sooner rather than later, the US equity and risk markets will begin the process of pricing in all of the above. 

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Morgan Stanley takes IT honours at Financial News awards  

21 Sep 2006

Morgan Stanley has taken the crown for best European IT department for the second year in a row at the fourth annual Financial News Awards for IT Excellence, with Credit Suisse, Reuters, Bloomberg and Markit Group last night’s other big winners.

Morgan Stanley won best European IT department over rivals Credit Suisse, Dresdner Kleinwort and Deutsche Bank, and claimed the best back office solution prize for its European equity asset servicing project.

The US investment bank shared the sell side awards with Credit Suisse which won the best algorithmic trading system prize for the second year, and claimed the award for best regulatory driven initiative for its work on commission sharing.

Its chief information officer Tom Sanzone saw off peers from Deutsche Bank, Dresdner and Morgan Stanley to take the coveted best personal contribution prize.

Reuters, Bloomberg and Markit Group dominated the data and trading categories.

Reuters took three awards. It won best foreign exchange trading venue and best FX data solution. Reuters also shared the award for best equities data solution with Thomson Financial.

Bloomberg took the awards for both data and trading excellence in fixed income.

Markit Group claimed the best derivatives data solution for the second year running and the best new vendor solution for its derivatives system.

Eurex, the German exchange, knocked Euronext.liffe off top spot to claim the prize for best derivatives trading venue and the London Stock Exchange beat rivals Euronext and Deutsche Börse to the best equities trading venue award.

Barclays Global Investors was the inaugural winner of this year’s third new category – best buy side IT department of the year.

In total nine organisations shared 15 awards.

Financial News compiled a short list based on firms nominating themselves and consultation with industry experts. The winners were chosen by a panel of ten judges who are independent analysts and consultants.

On reading the news headlines “FASTEST SUPER COMPUTER TO BE BUILT”. Before reading further if  you don’t guess  who is building it and where… you are probably living in Mars.

Yes, its by IBM at a US govt lab.

From DIGG

IBM is at it again, trying to build the world’s most powerful supercomputer at a US government laboratory that could potentially be up to 4 times as fast as IBM’s very own BlueGene/L. The new machine has been codenamed Roadrunner, and this computer will follow a hybrid design that uses both conventional supercomputer processors as well as the new Cell chip design. It is hoped that the Roadrunner will hit petaflop speeds, maxing out at 1.6 thousand trillion calculations per second. In comparison, the BlueGene/L is only capable of a trillion calculations per second. The Roadrunner has a projected completion date of 2008 and will take up approximately 12,000 square feet of floor space

MindTree out to teach errant staff a lesson

MindTree, a $100 million software services company based in Bangalore, announced to have taken initiatives to stem the malpractices indulged in by a section of employees hoodwinking the employers for gains by any means. 
 
The move comes close on the heels of the initiatives undertaken by some frontline companies like Wipro. 
 
According to MindTree, the company asked around 10 per cent of the people it had hired during the last financial year to leave the organisation as they were found to be indulging in malpractices – ranging from false experience certificates to fake payslips. MindTree hired close to 800 people during 2005-06. 
 
“What is shocking is that they had the required expertise to get through our recruitment process and earn pretty well. They did not need to resort to such malpractices,” Subroto Bagchi, COO, MindTree, said.  

MindTree, on its part, has come out with a book titled ‘All About Integrity’ for all stakeholders of MindTree, including its employees and partners. 
 
This book will also be circulated to other organisations, including educational institutions so that issues are understood at a larger social level. 

This doesn’t sound correct. If they had the required experience/expertise are they FOOLS to put fake experience ?

They mention the loosely used “I” word. INTEGRITY…

If mindtree goes public with this sacking etc, they are going to be out of business soon.

With the talent shortage that indian companies are facing now (and companies recruiting BSc grads from villages) all these sacking will make most people avoid joining mindtree.

Suppose I am looking for a switch, will I think about attending Mindtree interview after reading the news (even though I haven’t put fake ex) ? Not a chance ,coz I never know what they will use the “I” word for.  

Oh yeah, I don’t want to receive books on Integrity. I have enough to read already.

My Verdict : 

SACKING is their prerogative. They better stop with that. Preaching integrity is overcooking it.

Steve Irwin is special.  He is too daring to be true sometimes (such as this pic).

We are sure going to miss him and  it’s truly sad that he died after getting stung by a sting ray. (getting killed by sting ray is a very low probablity event) 

Pete Sampras was the greatest player of his generation, but he admits he might not have been without a genuine rival.

“Andre made me a better player,” said Sampras after beating Agassi in the 2002 US Open final, the last match of his career. “Borg and McEnroe needed each other. I needed Andre. He was the only guy who forced me to add things to my game.”

Agassi summed up their rivalry thus: “We’re opposite in everything we do. We’re two styles going against each other. Every point, something special seems like it can happen. There’s been nothing in my career that compares to playing against Pete.”

[From BBC] 

Of many things that “suck” in India the most irritating are the ideas of the policy makers. Here is another one Panel suggests scaling up convertibility

How does it plan to do that ? This is how

“revenue deficits of the states should be eliminated by 2008-09 and fiscal deficits of the states should be reduced to 3% of GDP. “

How ridiculous, we don’t know what the oil price could be next month and we are talking about eliminating deficits.  Sigh !