Rant About It

Archive for February, 2007

A Day To Remember: The Great Wall Falls

Posted by rantaboutit on February 28, 2007

Everyone knows that the market goes through a correction every once a while. The problem is not everyone knows when. Stocks slumped Tuesday 27th Feb on worries about economic growth at home and abroad especially China.
What Happened
The Dow dropped 416.02 points equivalent to 3.29%, its biggest one-day point loss in nearly 5 & 1/2 years. The S&P 500 tumbled about 3.5 % and the Nasdaq skidded 3.9 %.

What Caused It
  • Chinese market dropped 9 % on concerns that the government was looking to crack down on market speculation that has driven chinese stocks to record highs. There are were also rumors that China is going to impose a high capital gain tax on stock investments. Other Asian markets slumped in tandem. European shares also tumbled.
  • Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that U.S. economy might slip into a recession by the end of the year.
  • Economic indicators showed the biggest monthly drop in new orders for nondefense durable goods, items meant to last 3 years or more.
  • Reports indicated that the median price of an existing home fell 3.1 % in January from a year earlier, giving investors more reasons to worry about the housing slowdown hurting the economy.
  • Increased violence in Iraq and Afghanistan also alarmed Wall Street.
  • The Dow and S&P 500 have each risen 12 % in the past 6 months while the Nasdaq is up 17 %.

Few of the big guns in the tech sector like Google (GOOG) lost 3.5 %, Yahoo (YHOO) lost 3.64 %, Microsoft (MSFT) lost 4.13 % and eBay (EBAY) lost 4.25 %. Chinese stocks got burned badly with CDC Corp (CHINA) losing 11.4 %, Telestone (TSTC) losing 13.97 % and Fuwei Films (FFHL) losing 11.53%.

Those who shorted the Dow (DXD) and Nasdaq (QID) had a smile on their face. Both were up 4.21 % and 4.81 % respectively.

Conclusion: Analysts believe that nothing has changed fundamentally and investors do not need to worry about a bear market. Consumer spending has held up relatively well. The company profits/earnings has been positive. Analysts also believe that this sell-off could give the Feds a reason to lower interest rates which would evidently boost earnings.

Recommendation: Commodities also took a hit and are now trading at a bargain. Alot of stocks are trading at a cheaper prices. For those investors that stayed away from the market, have a question in their mind for sure. Is this a good time to buy? Maybe, maybe not. The point is nobody knows. History shows that after a huge correction, the market trades lightly the next day indicating cautious investors. Any substancial upswing would not occur until day after tomorrow.

(Source: CNN Money)

Posted in Asia, China, Investor, Stock Market News, Traders | Leave a Comment »

Forex: Do You Understand Currency Movement ?

Posted by rantaboutit on February 26, 2007

There used to be a time when trading on the currency exchange (foreign exchange market or forex) was not for everyone. It used to be a domain for government central banks, commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and huge international corporation. However with the advent of the electronic trading networks, trading in forex is now more accessible than ever. The forex offers trading 24-hours a day, 5 days a week, and the daily dollar volume of currencies traded in the currency market exceeds $1.4 trillion, making it the largest and most liquid market in the world.

Forex is generally a low volatile market. Currency fluctuations are usually very small. Most high risk investors & speculators use leverage (which is possible due to high liquidity) to increase the profit margins. For example, it is possible for an investor to control a position of $100,000 by putting down as little as $1,000 up front and borrowing the remainder from his or her broker.

The movement of currency prices are based upon the demand and supply model. This cannot be manipulated easily because the size of the market does not allow even the largest players, such as central banks, to move prices at will.

What is Forex all about ?
Currencies are important to most people around the world, whether they realize it or not, because currencies need to be exchanged in order to conduct foreign trade and business. If you are living in the U.S. and want to buy cheese from France, either you or the company that you buy the cheese from has to pay the French for the cheese in euros. This means that the U.S. importer would have to exchange the equivalent value of U.S. dollars into euros. The same goes for traveling. A French tourist in Egypt can’t pay in euros to see the pyramids because it’s not the locally accepted currency. As such, the tourist has to exchange the euros for the local currency, in this case the Egyptian pound, at the current exchange rate.

The need to exchange currencies is the primary reason why the forex market is the largest, most liquid financial market in the world. One unique aspect of this international market is that there is no central marketplace. All transactions occur via computer networks between traders around the world, rather than on one centralized exchange. The forex market can be extremely active any time of the day, with price quotes changing constantly.

Spot Market and the Forwards and Futures Markets
The 3 ways to trade forex are the spot market, the forwards market and the futures market. The spot market is the largest market because it is the underlying real asset that the forwards and futures markets are based on. When people refer to the forex market, they usually are referring to the spot market. The forwards and futures markets tend to be more popular with companies that need to hedge their foreign exchange risks out to a specific date in the future.

Spot Market
The spot market is where currencies are bought and sold according to the current price. Few factors that determine the price is demand & supply, interest rates, economic indicators, political stability and future performance of one currency against another.

Forwards Market
The forward market does not trade in actual currency. Instead they deal in contracts of a certain currency type at a specific price/unit and a future date. Forward contracts are traded over the counter.

Futures Market
The futures market also does not trade in actual currency. Like forwards market they deal in contracts of a certain currency type at a specific price/unit and a future date. Futures contracts are traded upon a standard size and settled over public commodities markets such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Trading Instruments
The majority of forex traders focus their efforts on seven different currency pairs: the four majors, which include (EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, USD/CHF); and the three commodity pairs (USD/CAD, AUD/USD, NZD/USD). All other pairs are just different combinations of the same currencies, otherwise known as cross currencies. This makes currency trading easier to follow.

Conclusion: The forex market provides plenty of opportunity for investors. The currency market is also the only market that is truly open 24 hours a day. The amount of leverage available in the forex market also makes it attractive for many speculators. However, in order to be successful, a currency trader has to understand the basics behind currency movements otherwise the benefits of leverage can work against the trader.

Forex trading is a vast topic and will be covered in depth..
To be continued….

(Source: Investopedia)

Posted in Dollar, Educational, Foreign Exchange | Leave a Comment »

Can Weak Dollar Make Money

Posted by rantaboutit on February 25, 2007

Can Weak Dollar Make Money

Yes it can. Deutsche Bank and PowerShares announced the listing of PowerShare DB U.S. Dollar Bullish UUP and the PowerShare U.S. Dollar Bearish UDN exchange traded funds (ETFs) on the American Stock Exchange. These ETFs offer investors access to the performance of the United States Dollar against global currencies.

Rant: This is simply wow. Investors can make money not only in the strong dollar, but also in the weak one. However investing in foreign exchange related product is not for everyone. One needs to understand and monitor the national debt levels, trade deficits, changes in domestic and foreign interest rates, regional and foreign politics, economics and financial events.

Wal-Mart soon to enter India
A potential joint-venture between Wal-Mart WMT and India’s Bharti Retail is likely on the way. Multi-brand foreign retailers are only allowed to operate in India with a local joint-venture partner. Bharti plans to invest $2 to $2.5 billion by 2015 across 30 Indian cities each with a population greater than 1 million. Wal-Mart has not said how much it plans to invest. At this stage Wal-Mart’s role seems focused on providing supply-chain and technology management to the venture.

Once Wal-Mart breaks into the Indian market, they have the capability to capture a huge market. However it would be a big mistake from their part if they step into the market without thoroughly understanding the mind-set of Indian consumers.

Sirius and XM Satellite to Merge
Satellite radio companies Sirius SIRI and XM XMSR have signed a merger agreement. The tax-free, all-stock deal values the combined company at $13 billion, including $1.6 billion in debt. The companies have lost $7 billion over the past eight years as they have battled for subscribers and high-profile talent, and their share prices have fallen 47% over the past year. Together, they can offer subscribers greater variety, including sports, news, and celebrity hosts. Sirius and XM claim their marriage would not create a monopoly, since they compete with media offerings like iPods, cellphones, and HD Radio.

Rant: The Department of Justice will need to decide whether the combination would violate antitrust regulations. This is going to be an really interesting merger. What you and me as an investor needs to find out is will a combined company be better equipped to stem the slowdown in satellite subscriber growth ?

JetBlue CEO Promises Big Changes
Recently a breakdown in communications at JetBlue JBLU led to passengers stranded for almost a week. JetBlue assumed that the ice storm would pass quickly and refrained from cancelling flights right away, as other airlines did. The storm intensified, and JetBlue ended up cancelling 1,000 flights within five days and shutting down service in 11 cities. At one point, nine full JetBlue planes sat on the runway at JFK for up to 10 hours. The company’s communication system failed to cope, pilots and flight attendants were not where they were needed, and there was no method in place to contact them.

JetBlue said they will enact a customer bill of rights that will pay stranded passengers and vowed to make changes.

Rant: Consumer confidence will be low after this mishap which would possibily affect their quarterly earnings. The stock is already seeing negative numbers.

(Source: SeekingAlpha)

Posted in Asia, Dollar, Exchange Trade Funds, India, Sirius, Walmart | Leave a Comment »