Thursday, April 24, 2008

Indians for Hillary Clinton

For years India has ensured its best and the brightest headed to the land of opportunities as soon as the opportunity presented could be a bright engineer, bright MBA, bright scientist, bright scholar, bright bridegroom or just a bright Punjabi with the opportunity and before the plane had stopped rolling on the tarmac these brights would have established themselves as the pillars of the society and economy in the land of unlimited opportunity.

Only reasonable to expect of the quickly assimilating "browns" that before long they were getting politically savvy and displaying that famed brightness as discerning vote banks. This was further evidenced by "Bobby" Jindal from Punjab hinterland who quickly converted to Christianity (what's with the US ..can only church going, God fearing Christian who ascribe to George W.'s Intelligent Design magic ever get elected in this most developed of the developed ?) , disavowed his links with India, declared himself "Bobby" and got into seriously ingratiating himself with the powers that be. To be fair, he is a declared professional politician.
Lending credence to the assumption that only the brightest of the bright were allowed ashore off the boats was that turbanned marvel Sant Singh Chatwal who borrowed to the hilt from US banks before declaring bankruptcy and sidling up to the Clintons at every public event (where security was lax) till they began to acknowledge his striking headgear with increasing interest which inexorably transformed into back slapping friendship that continues to this day. In fact Chatwal is totally immersed in all kinds of fund raising and financing efforts of the Bill's various foundations to save the world and his services are proving indispensable for shaking down reluctant donors for Hillary's grand campaign( she's doing it for the country not herself) so they do not have to part with any of their own hard earned cash.

Why are we interested in this at all ? Well her false smiles and eyes popping in fake joy jar our senses thousands of miles away at an average 5 times a day and her utterances disturbingly bring up violent thoughts that one believed was only possible towards this sorry assed simian . .more on this Schmuckaroo later..I promise.

Coming back to Billy and Hillary, the unbelievable support she enjoys amongst American people and establishment ( as evidenced by her previously inevitable nomination) speaks volumes for why the USA is such a great nation and has taken a lead role in charting a course for this planet (and a few neighboring ones too,if possible) and most of the flora and fauna therein.
Ok, so most of her supporters are the illiterate, blue collar, rural and old biddies worried about a young black male running the country, but even so it does not explain the Indian community ( those few forward thinkers who have been able to refrain from trying to elect George W. the third time) supporting this two(rumor has it three) faced, sniper ducking, ready to lead from day one, gimmick on legs..especially when these are supposed to be best an brightest India produces..though I have to confess her blatant hypocrisy would have brought back fond memories(little twinges of guilt maybe?) of Indian politicians they left behind.

The only reason I can think of is that Indians are as racist (if not most) amongst all races when it comes to racism. This behavior has actually been finely practiced over the centuries and in the absence of consistent color characteristics to practice discrimination against, the previous generations struck upon caste system to be able to safely and surely discriminate and exploit.
This was safer than using skin color , which tended to vary from very fair to very dark through generations and within same castes / tribes inexplicably.Thus the skin color based discrimination was only practised against Blacks, as in African, whose color showed more consistency and could be safely used to feel superior and less worthless (brown holier than black) in these difficult times, what with casteism outlawed by infiltrated policymakers.
Fast forward to the US and despite all their academic, technological and financial success, the Indian community still struggled to be seen as anything but Brown or Indian or Asian despite much efforts to acquire mainstream first names, houses, cars, nannies, schools, professions etc.
Actually, the only acquisition which did significantly help, was getting a non Indian wife(only works for men not vice versa) to break through the brown ceiling.
Now that I focus on this, it becomes somewhat evident that the greatest factor by far is the Indian woman and her Indianness that hampers most of the progress towards blending into the American dream without the color coded baggage tags. It does sound callous but the closest any brown(we're talking only males here) has made it to the (white) American dream is by getting a non brown spouse.
This seems statistically significant to such a morbid degree that it rules out brown females being part of any (non Exotic) American dream in any forseeable future.
The contributing factors are stark( though too shallow to even think this way as they'd say):

  • She cannot dress western(trying too hard) and cannot dress Indian (too exotic).
  • She never does work out ( by mid thirties is carrying enough lard on hips to drive husbands wild)..severely restricting her clothing universe as well as vacation destinations (further away from beaches).
  • Always trying to get a grip on her social insecurity, cultural insecurity, sexual insecurity, parental insecurity, religious insecurity and any new insecurity that the TV or Bollywood potboiler may throw up in the evening.
  • A complex, emotional and intricate logic and reasoning (or lack) dog an Indian woman's mind even without transporting her millions of miles into a social, moral and psychological war zone where she feels physically (and colorfully) bested in most non brown settings, resulting in a lot more non linear behavioral idiosyncrasies that define her day.
  • Most waking hours her mindset (mildly set) dwells on concepts like how much she cares, sacrifices, loves, gives up , provides, labors uncomplaining, adjusts as a woman and is still deeply unappreciated.. to arrive at(very convinced) the truth of how much more she deserves , earned the right to, have claim to, should be showered with, from all and sundry populating her life.
By the time the brown man gets to reasoning(to her) and rationalizing(to himself) how important this woman and family life is to him and how much he really,really appreciates her, he has lost the plot of where it all started out from.

So, where does that leave the Indian American when the elections come to his/her look at Barack Obama and his athletic(and black) looks decides it for the shape challenged (usually wife) as this is exactly the kind of change they can do without (in fact any change to their status quo looks like too much work ) ..also Hillary's shape is one they can readily identify with.

So the female(shape challenged predominant) brown vote goes to Hillary Clinton..and most line toeing husbands easily get beaten into toeing this line, especially given that George W cannot be voted in for a third term and is not a candidate.
But even without the wife issues dominating the brown vote bank, the racist underbelly of the subcontinent plays up significantly enough as blacks are the only ones brown parents still shudder to think may one day be their son-in -laws or daughter-in-laws ( not to mention the mama-in-laws) where does this vote go?

I know this is subject went way off topic, but it was coming when even the milkman in India recognises HC and our local markets are still coping with US fund "managers" orgies here last year we gotta keep a lookout on what the blueCollars and illiterates in rural America, who seem to be suddenly having a hard time, might foist on us after their Texan chimpanzee.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Indian Real Estate is Realty Challenged.

Things became a little clearer this week. Parsvnath Developers' Pradeep Jain finally gave us a glimpse of the awesome intellect that has become the hallmark of the Indian realty sector and how they are in a fine position (hormonally) to see far beyond what ordinary mortals.

Increasingly these Quixotic Visionaries have had to battle the previously discussed bovine behavior and lack of faith from the very investors, lenders, buyers and general countrymen who will benefit the most from their vision and tireless efforts to "develop" this country.
In today's article , you can understand the sheer frustration that would have prompted such an appeal from the usually stoic Builders and Developers who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to give a roof over the heads of fellow Indians. Just when they were warming up to really and seriously house a serious number of families, their offices, their malls, they seem to be buffeted from all sides by vested interests and other such out to exploit them.

First, their stocks get hit by negativism.. 50-70% down and all the money spent on propping prices and buyBacking own shares is more or less vaporised.
Second, just when they were irreversibly invested and partly built on 1785 different projects spread throughout this country (A,B,C,D,E,F,G and some even O class cities ) the ponzi pyramid of bigger fool iterations hits a speed bump.
Third, their Bankers, who could usually be relied upon to volunteer as bag holders when everyone and his mother-in-law were finally getting wise and wanting out, were suddenly under orders to cut lending to this sector and would not budge no matter how much you "revalued" your "land Bank" to offer bigger collateral.
Fourth, the traditionally growth(and cloth) inclined finance minister ,who only last month was brow beating the banks to lower interest rates seemed to have been reined in by the opposition Parties (and own Party) to either attend to Inflation or dress in proper trousers and quickly dropped the lower interest plans..leaving the highly leveraged Realty sector facing new reality.
Fifth, the retail investors and locals(native Indians) who had been heavily relied on to act as the bigger fools in the past, were now showing their true colors as fair weather friends and refusing to up the ante (or even take the bag from some poor speculative "smart money" caught when the music stopped)..the point is if the local(who actually wants to live in the property) is refusing to take the bag at this price .. a lot of definitions need to be re-looked at.
Last and not least, it emerges today the cement and steel prices have risen to unplanned and unprecedented heights. This has just come as a total surprise(as the industry had projected flat or lower prices till year 2020) and looks very suspicious, to say the least.

Any other industry and the captains would be at a loss to figure out what happened, but these Construction Leaders quickly deConstructed the mysterious price escalation to cartels in the steel and cement sectors .
Why we are taken in by the sheer brilliance of this Industry's stalwarts is the raw intellect and vision that tether such insights. Not only did they identify a cartel in steel but also in cement and thus reached the same conclusion as our venerable Finance Minister independently.The FM who'd been sulking having failed to get banks to cut interest rates, jumped onto price controlling the nation into growth with gusto as the cement/steel sectors provided familiar whipping boys.

Further evidence of why our country's future development is safe in the able hands of the Jains , Agarwals and Goels("promoters" all) crowding the realty space rather than whimsical outsiders , can be seen in clueless observation of Cushman & Wakefield -

“With the exit of speculators from the residential market, the transaction volume is down by almost 40%."
Whereas, our trusted visionary Pradeep Jain's much more faith inspiring ( and frankly heroic) but well grounded opinion that I'm much more likely to buy -
Asked whether the industry was witnessing any slowdown due to high interest and inflation, he said: "There is no slowdown. I do not think there is any softening of prices." Softening of prices is next to impossible as input cost, interest rate and land prices have increased substantially, Jain added.
Also, further evidence of the amazing potential this sector offers is offered in the multiple PE and "smart money"and other smart manager driven funds which are unflaggingly buying up whatever they can in the Indian Real Estate space based on year 2025 earnings, at the time of writing .
In fact Parsvnath( getting a little obsessed here) , no slacker in such matters got hold of one such "smart" money bags Saffron Asset Advisors UK.. to dump some good stake on him.

Finally, we hear the astute National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) identified a disturbing new Cartel of Buyers who are conniving to drive the Property prices lower and take unfair advantage of the Council's members..and took their findings to the (champion of the downtrodden) Finance Minister who immediately promised to look into the allegations and take strict action against all found guilty.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Indian Stock Broking , Broker..Broken?

The days pass slowly.
The south Mumbai air is now recording record density with the usual smog, grime, humidity now diffused with record levels of hope and longing. .the hope to recover some notional loss( we all know this is notional and temporary and markets will recover, so why the long face)..the longing to ride a bull move again..aahh, that was a feeling.

Every day the stock broking community awaits deliverance from this irrational and unexpected behaviour which has laid many a careful expansion plan to waste.
Just yesterday these Broking Houses(House sounds cool) were on recruitment sprees to fill every corner of India with necktie wearing executives to spread the gospel. The race was on to claim the biggest valuation as news broke about clueless trains from abroad disembarking new age fund managers with big money who wanted in on the financial space.
The message was clear.. maximize retail accounts, retail reach, retail teams, retail investors, retail traders..anything retail.. and these monkeys would pump in a few hundred million(USD) for, umm.. 5-7 % stake in a Broking House.

The glee was palpable (those days the downtown Mumbai air was thick with glee).

The local Broking houses pumped up the volume on recruiting anyone who owned a necktie and exhibited leadership also those who owned a necktie and had a pulse.
There was a recruitment frenzy where assorted executives, tourist guides, bar tenders, waiters, fortune tellers, snake charmers etc. suddenly found themselves appointed Relationship Managers and other lofty Managers at leading Broking houses.
More offices, more managers, more accounts, more potential, more valuation and more More.

To be fair it wasn't the local brokers and broking firms fault, they suddenly caught the fancy of the global money managers and alpha seekers. These unassuming folks were just going about minding their business when this herd let loose the fun fest on them.

And then the bulls failed them..the bulls, they just failed.

Today's press.. the accountants can't cook these books any further. These fine equity cult spreaders look a little spread themselves. Make no mistake, it is bad when your accountants can't find growth and earnings as per your expectations..and start mentioning unmentionables like writeoffs and provisioning and recognizing losses..this almost sounds like we got the SEC here to replace the doddering, rupee challenged fools of SEBI !!

As some old timers noted, if this disturbing behavior is not dealt with promptly and firmly the Indian investor might soon even start asking for transparent accounting !!

Sample this from the above article..

"At least four top brokerages — Religare Enterprise, Edelweiss Capital, Emkay Shares and Stocks and Modern Securities — have delayed their fourth quarter results."
..these Popes of the equity religion who spread their gospel through evangelical TV and branch networks far into the countryside are increasingly spending less time on TV and more in their offices to prod the accountants to fix the mess and get on with the growth numbers. As any faithful can never question the keep the faith.

After all they have not been pontificating(so knowledgeably) on TV and other media about corporate growth, prospects, results, earnings,etc. so that the unwashed plebians could start questioning their companies' results or when they should announce the same. Altruistic Missionaries have never had it easy.

But the faithful hordes are now behaving like panicky hens instead of the predictable flock and though they(Broking Houses') quickly explained quite clearly that each had a totally different (and valid) reason to delay the results..and the fact that four of them happened to be in the same sector is a random occurrence to which no weight need be assigned..this obtuse market is increasingly hard to convince.

Actually, I think the overseas cognoscenti with the (previously identified) foresight and extrapolative tendencies may be the only believers who actually are still be patting themselves for their valuation due diligence and quick deal making that proves their mettle.

The natives for the most part lack vision..and that is destiny.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bull Banking

Today, India is banking on bulls, there has never been a time when this country has needed bulls as badly as now..not in the green(agriculture) revolution not in the white(milk) revolution.

Let me elaborate..the Indian corporate sector is by and large heavily "invested"( primarily otherPeoplesMoney) in massive growth plans. Corporate India is united in its commitment to eradicate gravity in growth, projections and share price movements . These companies are heroically led by assorted "promoters" who have significant egos to promote and no regulators to fear.

The last few years were the shining years for all such ambitions..
Announce plans -> shares move up(ok, make 'em) -> can borrow more -> bigger plans -> higher share price -> more borrowing capacity -> still bigger plans -> still higher share prices .. it was intoxicating.( sigh, it seems like only yesterday *Parsvnath*(who?) announced investment plans for Rs.60,000 crores , about $15B..that was a day I was proud to be Indian, we were second to none in testosterone).

..and then these bulls failed us, failed the promoters, failed corporate India, failed the "investors" , in fact failed this Country.

What was the promised land ?
Every "promoter" and his younger brother had borrowed every bank into the brink( only foolish RBI limitations and priority sector requirements kept these banks from delivering all their deposits to the "promoters" newest, shiniest megaloStupid,growth oriented "promotion".)
For all these ensuing shining years their CAs have been hard at work churning out (nonExistent) profits quarter after quarter, much to the delight of the applauding media and "investors", purely on the basis of hiding all current expenses in their mega growth investments. After all why operate in a Third world country if you cannot hoodwink random SEBIs, RBIs , NSEs etc. into believing any crock that you can think up. Come on, these hard working "promoters" have to justify the risk premiums commanded by third world "emerging market" corporates and I feel they do a fine, largely unappreciated job of it.
The Banks of course, just could not lend enough to SEZs , Retail, Real Estate, Brokers and all such growth oriented jackpots and finally resorted to paying interest to encourage offtake.(This novel business growth strategy was predictably pioneered by ICICI Bank(of DRIP fame) who somehow even showed quarterly profits on such loans).
The investments were thus soaring, employment was soaring, wages were soaring, stocks were soaring, property was soaring, promoters were soaring ..the country was soaring.
There were bulls every where : stock markets, properties, retail, SEZs , cricket , International flights, hotel lobbies, cocktail parties, gent's couldn't step out of your house without bumping into a couldn't slow your car without irritated honks from the bulls.

Where are we now?
The bulls spoiled the party. They grew feathers and just turned chicken.
Their snouts turned to beaks and the previous heroic bullheadedness petered into unseemly flighty behavior.
The bovine strength on which the entire future of the country was being built was emasculated in a few quick weeks.
To be fair, everyone pitched in to try and grow new balls for the bull.. the media ,the financial "experts" and "advisers", the finance minister ( he actually tried to get banks to cut rates a few weeks back), the prime minister ( managed to emit some muffled "strong economy" and very "good growth prospects" when SoniaJi prodded him), the few clueless hedgeFunds and PE wees who still bought into the "corrections" every week till their offshore masters finally corrected their "vision"..but to no avail.. the bull just wouldn't get up.

What about the "promoters" ?
They are suffering and unfairly so.Their back breaking, endless hours spent rigging share prices, passing board resolutions for share buy backs, unlocking values for new subsidiaries ( more IPOs), arranging Indian currency/foreign currency / any currency debt against their enhanced equities and fresh debt to finance the enhancing of equity, launching new, negative margin, maximum market share businesses every monday..all this effort looks seriously threatened by the obtuse bullheaded refusal of former bulls to play bull!!
These promoters and their ilk have sacrificed profits and accounting principles in favour of investing in growth well beyond their reach and financial means(er,by a very long shot) just so the country could live up to the expectations of the BRIC report by 2050 and are now being held hostage by a particularly slow thinking critter.
This is doubly unfair as 70-80% of their "projects" and revenues are in the investing stage and 100% of profits are (as usual) in the just cannot pull away finance now..without the IPOs and the loans who will fund these "planned" investments of billions and billions.

What about the banks?
The banks are essentially employment shops for the chronically mediocre and the below average "people skilled" careerists who easily deceive themselves they understand "industry" and other economic activities.
Thus, being coaxed to believe that a country's economy is manifest in the banking sector, they took special pride in facilitating the growth and personal ambitions of the semi literate first gen(and papa financed second gen) "promoters", who thought they were playing the banker while the banker thought vice-versa. This was funny and convenient till our bulls caught the bird flu.
Bankers, by definition mediocre and thus unwitting big bag holders, suddenly find themselves having been handed jumbo bags in India..the chimpanzees they been shovelling funds to, instead of completing and revenue-ising (different from profit-ising which, of course, is blasphemous in corporate India) a project they originally funded..were seen to be spread thin over 23 new, different, more ambitious and more growth oriented projects which all go live in some convenient future(of course without cost or time overruns) and need massive more funding and the ownership structures as well as financial engineering involved changed every mealtime which nobody anymore understood, cared or even believed.

Today,the Promoters (and thus the country) is banking on the Banks and the banks are banking on the Bulls.

Perhaps, a solution?
The central government, in a moment of rare clarity, decided to attack the root cause rather than apply superficial BandAid to the symptoms..rather than try get the bulls on their feet with piecemeal efforts like rate cuts/ tax cuts etc. a novel and grassroot approach planned is to use the Polio Drops network to administer all adult males in the country with 1 oz of concentrated testosterone (fund managers get 4 oz ) to perk up the flagging libido dogging the financial markets in this country.

Predictably though, Reliance Life Sciences has been awarded the contract to supply the hormone as they have recently "discovered" vast quantities (also as usual, company officials refused to comment).

Friday, April 4, 2008

DLF+Reliance+ICICI+Pantaloon =DRIP

So much muck to rake, so little time.. so much comedy, so many clowns..

For too long BRIC has been foisted on us as the grand global scheme thru 2050 and still stands out as a bandwagon with all wheels intact(the trick is the far cannot be seriously challenged till year 2040 and hopefully Roopa Purushothaman will have lived a happy, rich clairvoyant life in the meantime ).
But even so, quick to recognize the extreme short term outlook of firms like Goldman Sachs or any real usefulness of her 2050 projections she deftly monetized her fame to team up (the degree and star struck) Kishore Biyani who happily renamed his business "Future" group to reflect this move up from trousers. But recently he has put her to shorter time(and useful) frame projects like creches in his outlets to ensure she does not while away her time,on his dime, projecting year 2100 economic winners, a year he may not even witness. More on her later..we love future economists!

So all this global attention soon galvanized the worthy Indian "promoters" and business "leaders" into a libidinous growth pattern that soon separated the men from the boys.

Buying into this immense entrepreneurial energy was a no brainer and not be outdone by young birds flitting down from New York, our team soon cobbled together a gang of four stalwarts which the drawing dept. soon extrapolated into four largest and most respected companies by the year 2050 and coughed up our own homegrown acronym: DRIP . Below we list the pillars 2050:

D:DLF : The Goliath of Indian real estate , this phenom came from nowhere (actually the sleepy village of Gurgaon) to suddenly land in the centre of a frenzy that even surprised chairman K.P.Singh out of his afternoon siesta.He had no inkling his father-in-laws land banking fetish in olden times barren Delhi outskirts could catapult him into billGates' four-ball.The action caught him by such surprise he's had to disrupt his game of golf regularly to be lectured how he needs to hire "professionals" other than gardeners and caddies..frankly, he cannot understand the reason for such extravagance as he's doing just fine with periodically releasing a bits of land for "development" and planning pan India projects at the clubhouse with this new "IPO" money.
We know this group should be able to attract a few tens of billions of PE and leveraged professionally moronic money to throw into hare brained schemes.

R:Reliance : This group is actually the entire "I" in the BRIC quad. In India, if it moves, Reliance wants a piece..period. The brothers extraordinaire wake up each morning to leap into another new business before breakfast, glance at the financial dailies to see if their PR machine's yesterday's planted articles have the biggest fonts on page one and (god help them) if any negative articles didn't get smothered before daybreak.
With the regular new gas finds getting staid, Muckesh today launched into semiconductors and 21 other, unrelated, new projects( as happily reported by media) while A-nil fought hard to prop his otherPeoplesCapital empire thru buying own shares and random coal mine purchases costing 1000 cr ($250 m) for value 20,000 cr($5b) ..don't believe me ? Economic Times reported these figs...though, as usual "company officials refused to comment" but somehow "sources" are always available for every fabulous spiel emanating from the creative jugglenauts of corporate India. The undisputed go go boys.

I:ICICI Bank: Quite a few years back MV Kamath looked into the mirror at his freshly dyed(jet black) hair and realized he was surely most female bankers softest fantasy. Not one to ruminate important decisions he strode into the office that day and promoted everything female and walked on two legs , that he encountered , into senior and important positions at the Bank.
With all kinds of Govt. connections, subsidies, opacity, mediocrity and license to underperform, Kamath and his girls were onto a good jig and soon covered the whole country with *scale* banking.
As he and his flock have internalized over the years.. the manna is growth, because as long as you can grow, capitalize, securitize, layerize and obfuscatize .. nobody is the wiser esp. the "professional" money(FIIs,Hedgies,PEs) suits who love growth potentials and large branch networks.
Lately though he's having trouble finding good suckers for his securitized loans portfolios which even Chandas and Morparias have no clue how/where to collect from..add this to his trouble sweeping the subPrime cash cows under the carpet and he's promised to now highlight his hair to get schwing back in the banking miracle we know as ICICI..c'mon , he's just spotted a new flock of ladies that would put the fire back into Indian banking.We're bullish on this bull..chicks love him ;).

P: Pantaloon: Kishore Biyani was an ordinary shopkeeper minding his business selling trousers(not doing too well) till the retail revolution knocked down the building next to his parked scooter. Never one to not spot an opportunity knock(you don't need to knock many buildings next to his scooter) he was on his way to claim the retailKing title.
Very early on he realised there were no profits in this game, he'd spent enough time in this line to not waste time on trying to be profitable..the mantra was to roll the money..rotate the money..grow the business(not the money)..grow,grow,grow and the world grows with you..stop growing and they start asking funny questions like profitability, bottomline .
So at the time of going to press everything about this group is future,Future this, Future that , Future All( except of course real profits) .We are on because history has shown you never actually get to the future so this is covered.

Here's the common thread in DRIP companies, none of them, nada, zero, have any legs if you take away the growth, hype and the fine skills of capitalizations all expenses(to be amortized next 3 decades conveniently) and recognizing all (in fact a bit more..bit naughty) revenue this quarter.
Growth , more debt, bigger market cap, bigger ambition ..these are heady days.

We, of course , are just drippy about our DRIP strategy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

CitiGroup upgrades Lehman: Brown Chutzpah

You know you are behind the curve(no more a laughing matter) when you cannot figure out how these hot cats, who cannot figure out their own "book" by a longish shot(Bear Stearns "book" worth of $80/share gets sold at $2 overnight) .. and you wake up to find these fine "analysts" have put it all behind and are back in business as usual valuing others' "books" accurately on Apr 2:

"Citigroup was the best gainer in the Dow and today, Bear Stearns repeated an "out perform" rating."
Obviously there is strong spine in there, but also these guys are devoted to their craft.. reportedly the "out perform" was issued through a blackBerry from the sidewalk outside their newly pawned building.

Before you can recover ,CitiGroup returns the favor..too many of the believers have been "holding" Lehman stock(all the way down) on their "advise" and need relief :
"Lehman rose 5% in pre-open trade as it was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Citi, noting an "extremely attractive" entry point, the recent Fed and Treasury actions to boost liquidity and the broker's management."
(Noted:Another sign of our cluelessness: do you now "buy" when you were "hold" all the way down.. there never was any "sell" ?)

..followed up for good measure:Citi reiterates buy rating on Lehman.

Now, Lehman's turn to, UBS ?

By now,details began to wash ashore in India..there were brown pundits involved in most all these utterances. The legions of desis(natives) who'd been toiling deep into nights and models (abstract only) had been having a rough time lately..very rough.
The law of averages were continually and horrifyingly failing every single call of "bottom in place" , "good value" , "cheap below book" and "oversold" call. Just when these cubicle wizards felt the outermost sigma possible this century was not going to be violated and "expertly" issued another "bottomed buy" call.. Gauss failed them again.

Lately, as one (nowbroken) model-analyst tearfully confessed, most of his ilk in the financial space had taken to issuing "buy" and "outperform" ratings randomly on Financials since markets refused to reflect logic and we all know illogic is yet to be modeled. So they were back to law of averages and the increased temple visits for divine signs of market bottoming.

Primary brownBrigade analysts like Prashant Bhatia who'd been building quite a career with 100% credit for 15% calls (that's admirable call hedging Prashant,you wicked fox, you).. and our beforementioned Pratik Gupta who usually was able to extrapolate stock indexes a couple of decades out ( in better times, he is rumored to have precisely projected a (to be est. in year 2015) Lhasa(Tibet) stock index "target" of 12,000 by year 2050)..these achievers in the ruthless global financial centers (where meritocracy rules) have been quietly (Ok not so quietly) edging out the reality challenged Blodgets and Meekers to bring that brown pride to their profession.

Coming back to the curve lagging realisation dawning at Luddic Research, there were additional uncomfortably model busting signs:
  • UBS announces $19B in writedowns and shares rise.
  • Lehman raises finance *it doesn't need* ..shares rise.
  • SEC's "better" way to account illiquid assets.. Financials rise.
  • A ton of bad news from all conceivable fronts.. markets really rise.
This put us back to the drawing board and here we display the legendary Luddic research analysis, which our clients trust and respect to explain and predict(retrospectively) most all market behavior( we confess this time the model transcended all expectations as the degree of correlation is *absolute* between our model and above market moves):

The model we now use to trade and predict(retro) any market with a >1.0% of brown(Indian subContinent origin) participants is based on (so obvious on hindsight) Brownian motion.

It all fell into place when our researchers dug up references in the ancient Vedas about such movements in Indian grain futures of the time which were dominated by exceedingly brown(outdoor mkts) men.This was way before similar behavior was noticed by Bob&Co in other non living molecules, pollen etc.

The defining characteristic of this "brown" legacy,which carries to present day markets, is these players' severely limited social life/social acceptability which frequently manifests in extreme desire to call bottoms and tops and pray for the in the knowledge they need to be right only once every few years to be employed and never need to risk own capital (in fact the law actually forbids this) .The sum total of these socially challenged(apart from work related junkets) analysts' varied and ad hoc utterances cause the markets to closely(*exactly*, if I may confide) replicate Brownian movement ,thus assuring the success of our model.

OTH,we are proud that our cubicle dwelling exports(singly insignificant,but as a group formidable) are able to exploit the capitalist folly of yonder lands with little loss to own dignity and capital.. a million brown "analysts" are not far from getting unleashed into this global financial la-la-land.. mark my words.