Archive for » October, 2008 «

HOW CAN THE AVIATION SECTOR SURVIVE THE CURRENT TURBULENCE ?

There was a topic for discussion in Business Line of 20.10.08 titled: “HOW CAN THE AVIATION SECTOR SURVIVE THE CURRENT TURBULENCE ?” I had submitted the following response on 21.10.08 :
“Survival of the fittest” theory of Darwin is equally applicable to airlines today.Profitability is the only  benchmark for economic survival during these competitive times when aviation industry is in a state of flux.Giving the customers  what they want but at an affordable price is the modern mantra.On-time performance,unmatched service,qualitative and  well defined passenger safety checks are of prime importance.However here are some suggestions for implementation to have a lean but a mean airline : 1.Re-assess economic viability of flights on less remunerative routes. 2.Go for futures trading in case of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) so as to hedge against  price spikes. 3.Analysing and cutting down on wasteful procedures and expenses 4.Having tie-ups (or mergers or aquisitions or consolidation) with other airlines for running  one full aircraft rather than two half filled aircrafts. 5.Reducing freebies,discounts,commissions to travel agents through negotiations 6.Using free space inside and outside the aircraft for displaying advertisements for generating ad-revenue.(eg doors of overhead lockers) 7.Using spare space on tickets/boarding passes for printing small ads for shoring up the bottom line. 8.Rationalising pay structure,perks and allowancesof all staff by taking unions and associations into confidence. 9.Parking aircrafts as near as possible to departure terminals to reduce transporation costs of baggage and passengers from the terminal to the aircraft by buses. 10.Transporting only ladies,children, old-aged and sick passengers from the terminal to the aircraft by bus (others with just one  hand baggage can easily walk to the aircraft if parked nearby )  11.Switching off of cabin lights in the aircraft except when really necessary. 12.Planning air port traffic management in such a way that aircrafts do not have to hover un-necessarily above an airport for want of landing space. 13.A regular and more frequent preventive maintenance programme for all aircrafts. 14.Stopping printing and publishing of house magazines meant for in-flight reading until the bottom line goes out of the red.. 15.Building brand loyalty by improving punctuality,efficiency and service at all levels   Here’s wishing the aviation industry a smooth takeoff during such turbulent times.HAPPY FLYING.   – J.S.BROCA   New Delhi
This was what was finally published in BL of 27th Oct 08:
“Survival of the fittest theory of Darwin is equally applicable to airlines today. Profitability is the only benchmark for survival during these competitive times. Giving the customers what they want but at an affordable price is the modern mantra. On-time performance, unmatched service, qualitative and well defined passenger safety checks are of prime importance. — Jatinder Pal Singh, email”
The entire effort of writing such a long letter on the subject matter has gone to waste since they have just published a short, heavily chopped version again!(because of space constraints ? )

Trip down the memory lane

It was a really nostalgic trip down the memory lane when I read about Lifafalogy.

Category: Ideas  2 Comments

Diwali Crackers

Dear Friends,

Do not say “NO” to following crackers :

CRACKER NO:1: BROKE BLOKE

 ”Chandni Chowk mein thaa ek jawaan ladkaa,

         Ek haseen ladkee ke liye jiska dil dhadkaa,  

  Sochta ki usse ghumaaoon,firraoon,          

            India Gate pe icekreem khilaaoon,   

  Par,kyaa kartaa,bechaara thaa kadkaa ! ! “  

CRACKER NO:2: TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY  

 Ek dost bola “Main ne honeymoon ka adhaa kharchaa bachayya,         

           Main akelaa hee honeymoon pe chala aayaa ,”  

 Doosra bola,”Yeh tau kuchh bhee nahi mere bhaayaa,         

            Mainey  tau honeymoon ka poora kharchaa bachayya,  

 Apni biwi ko apne mitra ke saath honeymoon bhijwaayaa !!”  

 CRACKER NO:3: DIRTY TRICKS

 Dost bola dost sey:” Roz naye naye kappdey pehan kar aatey ho,      

            Lagta hai koyee lottery lagi hai par hummein naa bataate ho”,

Mitra bola:”Naa koyee gadbadd hai naa koyee ghotaalaa,      

             Naa meri biwi ameer hai, naa sasura paisewaalaa,

Bus,bole toh- apun key baap ne dry kleening ka dukaan khol daala”   

CRACKER NO:4: BOLLYWOOD MASALA

A bollywood fan from Argentina,     

           Loved our Kapoor girl  Kareena,

When he read she was committed,     

           To Saif & Company Unlimited,

He switched over to Kaif Katrina !!     

H A P P Y     D I W A L I….........!!

Category: Humour  Leave a Comment

MY LETTER IN FE OF 20.10.08

There was an article in the Financial Express of October 15th on rumours about safety of deposits in banks.I had written a long letter to FE.                                                      

Here’s the final version that was printed in FE of 20.02.08:
Letters to the editor : Twin needs to survive crisis
The Financial Express Posted: Oct 20, 2008 at 2320 hrs IST Updated: Oct 20, 2008 at 2320 hrs IST
Janmejaya Sinha, in his article (Responsibility, not rumour, Oct 15), has rightly said that caution, pragmatism and confidence are the key to survive the present financial turbulence. Rumours about ICICI Bank’s weakness could have led to a panic run on its deposits, but thanks to clarifications and ads in the media, the bank contained the damage. The small investor is worried about the safety of his/her deposits. RBI and the FinMin also chipped in with their assurance that all was well. Responsibility and transparency are the twin needs of the hour for banks and regulators alike.

J S BROCA

NEW DELHI

MINSKY MOMENT

MINSKY MOMENT

I read something interesting about the present turmoil in financial markets.It is titled as “Minsky Moment”.Exactly what is it ? Read on…...

  1.   What’s a Minsky moment?

The phrase “Minsky moment” has been popping up a lot in financial news reports about the turmoil roiling financial markets worldwide. It’s named after Hyman Minsky (1919-1996), an economist known as a rather pessimistic contrarian during his lifetime for arguing that markets are inherently unstable and long stretches of good times just end in bigger collapses.If you’re not sure exactly what a Minsky moment is, the Wall Street Journal’s Justin Lahart offered a wonderfully clear explanation:

At its core, the Minsky view was straightforward: When times are good, investors take on risk; the longer times stay good, the more risk they take on, until they’ve taken on too much. Eventually, they reach a point where the cash generated by their assets no longer is sufficient to pay off the mountains of debt they took on to acquire them. Losses on such speculative assets prompt lenders to call in their loans. “This is likely to lead to a collapse of asset values,” Mr. Minsky wrote.

 When investors are forced to sell even their less-speculative positions to make good on their loans, markets spiral lower and create a severe demand for cash [that can force central bankers to lend a hand]. At that point, the Minsky moment has arrived.

 2.   A Minsky moment is the point in a credit cycle or business cycle when investors have cash flow problems due to spiraling debt they have incurred in order to finance speculative investments. At this point, a major selloff begins due to the fact that no counterparty can be found to bid at the high asking prices previously quoted, leading to a sudden and precipitous collapse in market clearing asset prices and a sharp drop in market liquidity.The term was coined by Paul McCulley of PIMCO in 1998, to describe the 1998 Russian financial crisis,and was named after economist Hyman Minsky. The Minsky moment comes after a long period of prosperity and increasing values of investments, which has encouraged increasing amounts of speculation using borrowed money.The concept has some parallels with Austrian Business Cycle Theory, although Hyman Minsky himself was known as a “radical” Keynesian.

 Let’s hope that Indian stock market does not face such anxious moments again.Or is it wishful thinking ??.

THREE KINDS OF MEN

There are three kinds of men…...                                                                                   

1.  The ASIAN Has one Wife. Has one girlfriend. But he loves his wife the most.

2.  The AMERICAN Has one wife. Has one girlfriend. But he loves his girlfriend the most.

3.  THE ARAB Has 4 Wives. Has 4 Girlfriends. But he loves his housemaid the most.     E…N…J…..O…..Y….!!

Category: Humour  Leave a Comment

LAUGH AWAY YOUR STOCK MARKET CRASH BLUES WITH HUMOUR !!

In spite of the great stock market crash and the wall street crumbling,there are some really good jokes doing the rounds .Here’s a sampling…....

 

 1.”Black Mondays used to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Now they are coming along more regularly than    Delhi Metro trains”.

2.”Respected Sensex Sir passed away on October 10, 2008 after not keeping well for nine months. The last rituals would be conducted at Lehman Brothers place”.

 3.” Raj Thackeray is ready to allow non-Mumbaikars to stay in the city, but it would be mandatory for them to invest in the stock market.” 

 4.”Bankrupt allowed to return to their native place without ticket”, says railway minister Lalu Prasad; “Bankrupt to be given imported wheat free on ration”: agriculture minister Sharad Pawar:” Stock market losses to be treated as tax deducted at source”: finance minister P Chidambaram.

 5.”Blockbuster Saare Zameen Par (everyone bites dust) enters into 10th straight month at BSE and NSE multiplexes.”

 6.”When the Sensex was at 21,000, the stock of a single real estate company was ruling close to Rs 1,500. Today, you can get entire sector for the same price and with Lehman Brothers…”

 7.”Iceland being auctioned on eBay at a starting price of 99 pence.” 

 8.Some British papers have reported even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown trying his hand at such humour. While giving a speech in London, he quipped on hearing a mobile phone ring.”I don’t know if another bank has fallen”

 9.Taking a dig at government’s rescue packages, one says:”All sports stadiums in USA currently named for banks, insurance companies, or financial institutions will have to be renamed “Federal Reserve Park”.

Nano moves to Gujarat

                                                                                                

There were news in almost all leading newspapers about Nano shifting to Gujarat,on 08.10.08.My comments :   IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO   It certainly took two to untango NANO : S  ie Singur and M ie Mamta. Again it has taken two to tango ( or should we say play Garba or Dandiya during this   navratri season??) in case of shifting of NANO : S  ie Sanand  and M ie Modi.  Lets  hope the new marriage works and does not end with just the honeymoon!

SINGURARITY

An article titled SINGURARITY appeared in FE of 09.09.08.Here’s my response to it: 

 The editorial “Singurarity” in FE of 09.09.08 was a thought provoking piece that listed out the various questions that remain unanswered in this sordid affair.A marriage works only between two like minded parties and entry of a third (villain !) spoils the show and leaves a bad taste.This is a classic case study for analysis by students of B schools and Management Gurus. A marriage of  convenience that’s gone sour in the honeymoon phase itself. By the way, FE coining the word “SINGURARITY” was excellent, and soon, like “SERENDIPITY”,it may find inclusion in the popular dictionaries.

Mortgaging the future – don’t be sentimental

This is regarding “Mortgaging the future” (FE 01.10.08). It a timely piece of advise to the general investors. Wall Street crisis has shown the cracks in the “great” Wall.    

What has happened in USA and Europe is likely to cause ripples and waves in the Indian markets as well.

I would like to share some of the popular perceptions (about which I read while studying for my Business Management course).

“Market Sentiment” is an oft quoted jargon which is judged to be the culprit when things don’t go as per popular expectations. Instead of talking about fundamentals of a company or market,the lay man generally talks about market sentiment.Most of the time he does not see the relation-ship between market movements and the fundamentals of a company.There is no logic. When he expects the market to go up because of certain factors, it goes the opposite way. There is apparently no relation between logic and market movement.It is also commonly observed that some companies / economies have excellent prospects, but very few buyers.On the other hand some companies enjoy highly unjustified prices during such times.Thus, there are two components of behaviour: “hype” and “suspense”.

Another commonly abused phrase is what is called “herd mentality”,which begins with a select few investors jacking up prices in a certain direction and then the others seeing the movement,jumping in blindly. Because of “fear” and “greed” factors which dominate the market,the select few traders take the prices to illogical lengths regardless of the fundamentals of a stock. We have often witnessed situations where some stocks enjoy astronomical heights while others remain mostly oblivious or undervalued.The popularity of a stock attracts hordes of investors-that is the “greed” component.When there is a downward pressure in the price movement, investors start selling “fearing” further losses.

What the common investor needs is to learn to buy on anticipation of news and to sell on actual news.Quite a few so called “savvy” players,do it the other way i.e. buy the rumour and sell the news!

Reams have been written on and several quite educative research papers have been published on the subject of “market sentiment”.It is sufficient for a lay man to understand that ,there are no set rules governing the behaviour of markets. In fact,markets have their own rules.With so many fingers in the entire pie by way of players present in the market, it is an accepted and proven fact that it is hard to predict its direction.Yes,tools like “fundamental analysis” and “technical analysis”are there, but they,as past experience tells us,have never brought in proven results. If they could predict accurate market behavior , then the uncertainty factor will be lost.It has been established that there is no conclusive evidence regarding any normal market behavior.On the contrary if there is some evidence to support that market does not follow set principles and quite often its behavior is ” irrational”.

We in India have to develop the nack of taking market news with a fistfull of of salt (“Discretion is the better part of valour”,they say ! ).Media plays an important role in market sentiments.I am reminded of a January 2006 research report published by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis which said: “Optimistic and pessimistic language is predictive of firm performance in future quarters. We interpret the evidence to suggest that managers use optimistic and pessimistic language in earnings press releases to provide information about expected future firm performance to the market. We find a significant market response to the levels and unexpected amounts of optimistic and pessimistic language in earnings press releases.” So let us be wary of what is written in the media.

Another report ( San Francisco Federal Reserve Board Report of 2004) stated: “The perceptions of consumers may be influenced not only by the content of the news stories they come across but also by the way the media cover the economy-specifically, the tone reflects the language used, and the volume reflects the number of articles about the economy.These results suggest that consumers pay attention to the media’s reporting of the economy and that perhaps the tone and the volume of reporting affect consumers’ perceptions above and beyond the facts and opinions being reported.” Hence I feel it is the moral duty of the media barons to educate the common investor and not lead him up the garden path resulting in spoiling his present by “mortgaging”,as you call it, his future.Very often he is carried away with the popular Wall Street phrase “the trend is your friend”.This is always not the case.