Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Business Gem: Warren Buffett's Advice

I got this from a friend. Not sure of the source though so take it with a pinch of salt.

Spending: If you buy things you don't need, you'll soon sell things you need.

Savings: Don't save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.

Hard work: All hard work brings profit; but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Laziness: A sleeping lobster is carried away by the water current.

Earnings: Never depend on a single source of income.

Borrowings: The borrower becomes the lender's slave.

Accounting: It's no use carrying an umbrella, if your shoes are leaking.

Auditing: Beware of little expenses; a small leak can sink a large ship.

Risk-taking: Never test the depth of the river with both feet.

Investment: Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Business Gem 1

I read with sadness that businesses are suffering during this economic crisis period.
Instead of focusing on the gloom and doom, I am starting a new section called Business Gems.
I hope to jot down my thoughts or good ideas i have found on surviving this crisis.
It also acts as a reminder to myself.

Business Gem 1

Your customers face new problems,
so give them new solutions.
No matter what business you're in,
you can redefine value for the customer.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What should the banks do next? Part 2

Efficiency is one of the main drivers for any company. It is the increase of shareholder returns by delivering profits at reduced costs. Besides striving hard to generate the income (most banks are affected by the recent financial crisis) , they should take a hard look at reducing cost. Two main cost centers they should address are the operations and IT departments.

Through innovative use of technologies like utility computing and virtualisation, banks can reduce costs. and improved speed and service.

The Lehman brothers' saga provided the banks with invaluable experience and insight on communication and service quality. They should also take this opportunity to tighen the process of selling financial products especially if they are to continue offering complex derivative products. Care should be taken to balance risk and efficiency.

Read What should the banks do next? Part 1

What should the banks do next? Part 1

Based on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, A banker or bank is a financial institution whose primary activity is to act as a payment agent for customers and to borrow and lend money.

Of course, there is the treasury (investment) function which in recent years is the Cash Cow of most banks.

For many years, banks have been growing at break-neck speed. The tremendous growth has produced redundancies and inefficiencies. It was not a priority to be dealt with at that time. They were more concern with more growth, riding on unprecedented economic prosperity.

A series of U.S. legislative moves in the 1980s made subprime lending possible. Mortgage securitization made the banking scene more complex than ever. Eventually the bubble burst, the subprime-led financial tsunami swept through the world affecting the real economy.

What should the banks do next?

The banking institutions should go back to the basics and take this time to increase steady revenue (interest and non-interest income), reduce cost, increase efficiency and improve service quality.

*to be continued in part 2*

Are you ready for the next bull run?

No body seems to talk about Bull market nowadays.

Bull markets are born on Pessimism,

grow on Skepticism,

mature on Optimism,

and die on Euphoria.


The flaw of pure Buy & Hold Strategy

Those who do not discern what the analysts say,

who buy, hold and pray

will get poorer by the day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The root of the Credit Crunch

The world is under siege from one of the worst Financial storm in history.

The root cause is believed to be years of uncontrolled spending on credit.

No one wants to mention hot Buzz words like "Leverage" and "Nothing Down" nowadays.

The Credit Crunch Crisis is

the result of buying things you do not need,

with money you do not have, to impress people you do not know.

Don't Try to Time the Market, Either

I came across this good video clip (from Yahoo Finance), which i would like to share with you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Original Law of Attraction

Because of who you are to us, O Lord,
people are attracted to you.

Like Abraham who was chosen by God to be blessed and to be a witness of His works. Abraham obeyed God's instructions, and because of his faith God blessed him richly.

Lord Reign In Me *

Over all the earth
You reign on high
Every mountain stream
Every sunset sky
But my one request
Lord my only aim
Is that you reign in me again

Lord reign in me
Reign in your power
Over all my dreams
In my darkest hour

You are the Lord of all I am
So won't you reign in me again

Over every thought
Over every word
May my life reflect
The beauty of my Lord
You mean more to me
Than any earthly thing
So won't you reign in me again

*Lord Reign In Me (by Cadet)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cunning Bear and Sluggish Bull

This is an interesting article i came across 2 years ago.

***Characteristics of Bull and Bear markets***

The direction of the primary trend is the single most important piece of information that an investor can possess. It is critical to understand that the primary trend is the great all-powerful tidal-force of the market - the prevailing trend. The basic concept of the primary trend of the market is the most difficult concept to get over to people and that includes Wall Street professionals and money managers.

The most difficult thing to do in a bull or bear market is to exercise patience. In this world of instant information, perpetual talking, instant quotes, and fast moving markets, it is very easy to lose sight of the big picture. In this business of investing, the major consideration is always the direction of the primary trend of the market.

Patience has to do with the ability to sit through time, even boring time. A basic instinct among investors is "always to do something." Often, the correct posture is simply to sit with your basic positions and allow the primary trend to fully express itself. (Obviously in a bear market your positions would not be in stocks but cash deposits etc).

Big money is made investing early in a bull market and staying with the bull market for months, years and maybe decades, until the bull market finally expresses itself. The full expression of every major bull market is "super-speculation", while the full expression of every bear market is abject pessimism. Big bull markets and big bear markets always end in exhaustion. Exhaustion in a bull market occurs when the last bull has spent his money buying shares. Exhaustion in a bear market occurs when the last bear has dumped his last stock. Many events can temporarily halt a bull market - but nothing can end a bull market except exhaustion. The same principle applies to a bear market. The bear can be temporarily halted but once the primary trend turns down, the bear market will run to conclusion, and conclusion will be exhaustion - nothing will stop the bear market from fully expressing itself.

Primary trends always take much longer than anyone thinks possible - and ultimately, they go much further than anyone thinks possible. This applies to the stock market, the gold market, the money market (bonds) and the currency market.

All bear markets are deceptive. If they weren't, nobody would ever lose money. The reason people lose money in a bear market is simple - they do not believe they are in a bear market, so they sit and they lose their shirts. It's the same reason most people do not make money in a bull market. By the time the bull market is two-thirds of the way through its cycle, market talk is everywhere, and people finally believe it's a bull market. They get in late, get caught at the top and they ride down the first leg of the bear market before they realise that they are again on the wrong side of the fence. Thus it will ever be.

The key to a bear market is erosion, the gradual whittling away of profits and the gradual increasing of losses being sustained by the investing public. Holding common stocks in a bear market is as tantamount to gambling at Las Vegas. You may hit it in the short run, but the longer you gamble, the better the chances that you will lose your money. By the same token, the longer you hold your stock portfolio, the surer the odds that you will sustain declining profits or increasing losses. The bear's favourite advice - "Hold them for the long haul".

The stock market is like a living organism, an ever-changing animal. If the animal is a bear he is cunning and ruthless, without emotions and without pity. The bear has no mercy and no conscience. His first task is to lock in the largest number of people into the stock market - and lock them in with losses. The next step is to take the market down, while keeping this "losing majority" in the market; keeping them "happy, hoping, and above all holding"

How can the bear accomplish this feat?

He will do it with the help of a "cheering section" made up of amateur TV and newspaper "experts" and permanent - bull brokerage house analysts who make a living by way of commissions buying and selling shares. Very few analysts make insightful comments about the main or primary trend and cover up their ignorance by touting individual stocks or what percentage this or that stock or sector has risen. And of course there is the investors own reluctance to "take a loss" - so the investor listens to the "cheering section" of amateur "experts" - the investor is only human - and he hears what he wants to hear to avoid the pain, even thinking rationally about it. Of course, there's the other phenomenon that the average person has an ingrained inability to envision or accept change. The evolution from primary bull markets to primary bear markets entails massive change. White becomes black and day becomes night. This is more than the average investor can deal with.

One of the most difficult procedures on the stock market is to identify the big picture. One reason why it is so difficult is that the market tries to disguise the direction of the primary trend. In a bull market one of the main disguises is the barrage of items, comments and analysis that serve to frighten investors and keep them out of the market. In a bull market "investors climb a wall of worry", the bull market does not like company. It always aims to confuse and disappoint the greatest number of investors possible.

In a bear market, the continuing ocean of optimism serves to keep investors in the market, happy, hoping and holding even though the great majority of stocks are heading south "a bear market descends on a stairway of optimism and hope." Gradually, a background of pessimism builds that ends in a crescendo of fear until finally - abject terror. The operative sentence towards the end of a bear market - "I cannot take it anymore." Get me out at any price, just get me out.

Bear markets move much faster than bull markets. The action tends to be more concentrated, more violent, and more emotional. Bull markets gradually build a background of optimism, optimism that ends in a crescendo of enthusiasm and finally - frenzy. The operative sentence toward the end of a bull market is - "I have got to get in, buy me anything."

The bear market is in no hurry. The bear has got all the time in the world. One thing is certain however and that is when the super-bullishness does burn out, the parabolic will break down and the ensuing correction will develop into a full fledged bear market and will accelerate in earnest often wiping out a major portion of the entire preceding rise.

In a bull market values increase through time and all situations tend to work out favourably. Conversely, in a bear market values decrease through time and all situations tend to work out unfavourably.

Bear markets don't work the way bull markets do. In fact bear markets often work in the opposite way to bull markets. Dull areas become sell areas. Bullish appearing technical methods become bear traps. Hopeful areas suddenly turn into panic areas. Remember "everyone loses in a bear market and the winner is the person who loses the least" (Richard Russel). Why gamble when you don't have to, and you don't have to until the bear market has finally run to conclusion and conclusion will be exhaustion.

In a bear market, the bears are right, just as in a bull market, the bulls are right. For example, in a bull market a build-up in the short position is very bullish since in a bull market the shorts are positioning themselves against the primary trend and are therefore wrong. But in a bear market a build-up in shorts is not bullish, since in this case, the shorts are aligned properly in harmony with the primary trend of the market. Therefore, those believing that a build-up of shorts in a primary bear market is a bullish factor do not understand what's going on.

In a bull market bad news is "appreciated" since ironically and intuitively bad news helps to build the proverbial "wall of worry in which the bull market climbs." But in a bear market bad news drives stocks lower since the bad news is in harmony with the basic trend - in other words bad news should be taken for just what it is - bad news.

In a bear market the technical indicators that you used during the bull market are not going to work. Be forewarned (this is one of the tricky factors that hurt so many sincere analysts during the 1968 - 1974 bear market collapse). Bull markets do not go straight up and bear markets do not go straight down. It is not wise to play for bear market rallies. Professional investors buy into a bull market's downside correction, and will sell into a bear market's upside correction.

There is no point in playing for a bear market rally as the odds are against you and bull traps abound and render your technicals useless. A bear market is a force unto itself, and it does not give a darn about oversold conditions or any of the dozens of other studies that "worked" so well during the bull market. Example, unlike corrections in a bull market, a bear market "sneers" at so-called "supports." The bear makes a practice of cutting through "supports" like a hot knife through butter as though they do not exist. This is one of the surprising and frightening characteristics of bear market action.


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