Jun. 4th, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
Why is it, when I roast a chicken for my daily sandwiches, and I decide to eat "just the wings", that I end up scoffing both the drumsticks as well? Every time.

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I've been short euro/dollar for a while now, and have been under water for most of that time. Unlike Citigroup with Bradford and Bingley, City Index won't let me go back to them to renegotiate the opening rate. So it was a little sweet yesterday that Bernanke talked the dollar up, thus bringing me into the black just in time for the expiry date of June 10.

Although all kinds of explanations are being given for the two-cent surge, these are once again, I feel, a desperate search for narrative in the essentially random land that is short-term currency trading. The fact is, most of the players out there were either short dollar and looking for an excuse to close out, or had no position and were looking for an excuse to go long on the dollar. It's all a matter of mood. If the mood had been the other way, Bernanke's comments would have been ignored, and the analysts would have come up with a reason for that, as well.

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The Bradford & Bingley rights issue debacle just defied belief. If you pay a couple of banks £37m to underwrite an issue, and they agree, then to change the terms of that issue downwards "because things were worse than we thought", eliminates one of the main reasons for paying the fee for the guarantee in the first place. But it's a simple case of the underwriting banks being bigger than the rights issuer, I guess. "Er, Sorry Mr B&B, but when we took your fee, we didn't think that we would have to provide something substantial in return. It was, just, well, a way too keep the market confident. Now that your figures are so bad that the confidence has gone anyway, we'll be pulling out of the whole deal, if that's okay. Unless, of course, you want to change the issue price to 50p from 82p".

Another example of why you should never trust a financial institution to keep its word on any promise. remember that whenever anyone from a bank tries to sell you something. Their word is worthless.

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Today is the anniversary of the first hot-air balloon flight (or so Google informs me). What it fails to mention is that it is also the anniversary of the first, failed, attempt to popularize SatNav. The Montgolfier brothers took to the skies in their hot air balloon, sat-nav equipped. "Turn right here", the SatNav intoned. "How?" replied the Montgolfier brothers, in unison.

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Second conversation with BT Broadband yesterday, and I only nearly lost my temper once. It's now been escalated to a "line fault" and BT Wholesale should contact me within 48 hours. I know that none of this will do any good, which perhaps explains why I am not stressing about it. However, I shall collar the BT OpenReach engineer when he arrives and ask him (when he comes out with the line that 'my responsibility stops at the socket') to explain why I have three master sockets and one slave socket, why a telephone wire appears from the floor in one part of the front room and then disappears back down in another, why my master socket was teed off the old master socket when I first got Broadband installed, rather than correctly put together (removing or replacing the original master socket) , why one of the 'master' sockets (really a slave socket) had no connections inside it at all, while the other three sockets (two of them with a 'master' configuration) continued to have the number three pin connected as well as numbers two and five, even though this hasn't been necessary for ages. Generally, I think the tone will be, why do engineers gradually build up shit over the years without ever clearing up the old mess?

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Update: Wednesday Night, after weeks of patience....

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