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Berkshire Hathaway Annual report 2008 / a must read

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http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/2008ar/2008ar.pdf

You can’t be mistaken when you are reading from the greatest punters in the Financial space – Warren Buffett. The Chairman’s letter to shareholders did not dissappoint me. It was filled with the usual interesting titbits on his insurance ops and business, the concept of insurance ‘float’, his profit margins, the stake he took in Goldman Sachs, GE etc. during the troubling cashflow starved times of late 2008, the usual caveats on on the derivatives business and the future of Berkshire! Oh btw – there was no mention of “fruit of the loom” as marketwatch said there would be!

As I have said many times before, I am a self proclaimed protege of Warren Buffett and anything he does interests me. His annual reports are always looked forward to by much ado and this time was especially different to get the views of the man who I consider is king in stock market investing alongwith with his mentor Ben Graham and associate, Charlie Munger.

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Barack Obama – Mr. President of the United States of America!

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He is the ultimate modern tech savvy Blackberry wielding Mr President of the United States of America. For once, I see genuine hope in the way the US will go about sorting out its financial mess and it’s foreign policies.

Checkout: http://www.whitehouse.gov

As with most Americans and millions from other countries and their citizens, I did not miss his swearing-in ceremony that was held in Washington DC on 20th January 2009 on television – that marked a new era in world history!

Good luck – President Obama. May god be with you in all your endeavours! We have hopes on you to revitalize the world and of course, with it, the United States and my country, India!

Brand Obama is sure flying high!

Written by Naveen Athresh

January 22, 2009 at 7:52 pm

The Satyam fiasco – Ramalinga Raju’s misadventures

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Sorry for not blogging about this earlier. I did not have access to broadband Internet at my home for the last 3 days and was working off my Blackberry for office related tasks.

While the economic and financial implications have been written about far and wide and everyone is busy reading the tea leaves, what are the lessons one take’s away from this? Before I begin my analysis, I would like to remind my readers that I had blogged on Corporate governance and sound accounting practices as early as 1.5 years ago on this very blog: https://ecofin.wordpress.com/2007/07/06/importance-of-accounting-for-the-business-world/ and on http://www.accounting101.wordpress.com AND on Corporate Ethics here: https://ecofin.wordpress.com/2006/11/16/corporate-ethics/ more than TWO years ago! Read the rest of this entry »

Wall Street – the movie / 1987

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_(film)

I saw this captivating movie on TV today and it really sums up what has been happening. A great movie about a young broker who decides to go the fast track unethical way of conveying insider information but thankfully stops short but does get nailed towards the end.

Michael Douglas (Gordon Gekko in the movie) and Charlie Sheen (Bud Fox in the movie) have acted well! Can’t believe that 21 years ago, they still had good old PC’s and big satellite phones to communicate which is pretty much what we have today but more compact and sophisticated machines – as one would expect. But, the point is, it could well have been 2008 and not 1987!

Can large banks fail / CITIBANK on the brink

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I saw the developments of the last week where CITI (NYSE: C) shares really fell to $3 a share and was in danger of going bust as public confidence was eroding sharply. CITI faces a real threat of a collapse.

There were two options open to the board: 1. Fire the CEO, Vikram Pandit as a sacrificial lamb, 2. split the company and sell the parts or whole of the company. Read the rest of this entry »

Why am I crazy about Wall Street/US monetary policies?

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Simply because, it has a huge impact – no matter where you are in this world!

What happens out there impacts every single country in this world. It impacts you you and you. It impacts the decision making we make on our jobs etc. It impacts our local domestic economy. No matter how much we claim of ourselves being insulated from Wall Street, the truth is its just an eyewash. We will all get affected by the mayhem on Wall Street and the effects take at least 6 months to trickle into economies such as India and China. This is what happened in the dot com bubble burst of late 2000. Read the rest of this entry »

The age of turbulence – Alan Greenspan’s memoir

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http://www.amazon.com/Age-Turbulence-Adventures-New-World/dp/1594201315

I am going to start reading up this book starting next week once I am done with ‘The Snowball – Warren Buffett and the business of life’.

While critics are holding Greenspan responsible for advocating ARM’s way back in his testimony to Congress in 2004 and his keeping of interest rates low from the days of the dot com bubble burst, I still admire Greenspan for what he did for the US economy. Its easy to criticize the Federal reserve Chairman but what were the Wall Street companies and their hugely overpaid CEO’s doing? Who will track Dick Fuld (CEO of the now disgraced/bankrupt Lehman Brothers that sold itself to Barclays some weeks back) or who will track the activities of Merrill Lynch’s ex-CEO who was fired or who will track the activities of AIG’s ex-CEO who insured a whole load of CDS that nearly sunk AIG.

Will post my review once done but it will take some time to read up both books!