September 15, 2007

Setara Qassim Is Too Sexy To Fly

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/15/2007 07:01:00 AM

Is there such a thing as being too sexy to fly Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE LUV) ? Apparently yes! Setara Qassim wore a revealing halter top on her flight and was asked by the flight attendant to cover her plunging neckline, short skirt, and well ... busty bust. When interviewed by reporters, Setara complained that the flight attendant told her she was too sexy to fly! "The flight attendant came up to me and asked me if I had a sweater and I said no because why would I pack a sweater in the heat. So, I asked her why and she said I need to cover up." The flight attendant asked Setara too bundle herself up in a blanket. Maybe they should have just asked her to wrap herself up in sheets like an Arab! Seriously! WTF?! How can you blame a lady for having nice proportions! I suspect that the flight attendant was just jealous!

Southwest Airlines wouldn't comment on the incident, but said that they let their employees make the judgment call on passenger’s outfits. “We don’t have a dress code. We rely on our employees to use common sense good judgment and good taste. It’s so rare for us to have to address a customer’s clothing issue."

Apparently, this was the second incident in a week at Southwest! Kayla Ebbert, a 23 year old blonde, was booted from the plane because her clothes were too revealing. The reason was her mini skirt and the snug fitting tank top. An airline employee asked her to change her miniskirt, top and sweater or get off. In a compromise, Ebbert was allowed to stay on the flight to Tucson, AZ after pulling her skirt down a bit and her top up. If you ask me, there's nothing revealing about that outfit she's wearing.

Shanghai World Financial Center Looks Like a Giant Bottle Beer Opener

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/15/2007 06:43:00 AM

The tallest building in China is the Shanghai World Financial Center. Look at the picture above and I see a giant beer bottle opener. The building cost $1 billion and was built by Mori Building, a Japanese company that started the project in 1994. It took over a decade to complete because of the problems in Japan during the mid 90s. Mori Building is one of the largest privately held property developers in Japan and developed Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills which is where alot of the tech startups are located in Tokyo.

The Shanghai World Financial Center has 101 stories / 1614 feet high and is the second tallest building in the world. The tallest building in the world will be the Al Burj which is a 160 story / 3445 feet high building in Dubai.

When completed, Shanghai will have the two tallest buildings in China - the World Financial Center and the Jinmao Tower next door.

Check out the live camera view of the Shanghai World Financial Center. It's pretty cool. You can see the WFC and the Jinmao Tower to the right of it.

September 14, 2007

Northern Rock Goes Bust - Customers Run on Bank

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/14/2007 12:03:00 PM
Northern Rock customers are stuck between a Rock and a hard place! Lines are stretching out the door at Northern Rock (London NRK.L) with depositors waiting to take all their money out of the bank. Fears are that Northern Trust has gone bust and customers are running on the bank, doing what British people do best - which is queuing up!

The stock is down 30% because the darned mortgage lender couldn't stop itself from lending to all those poor folks who couldn't afford to pay in the first place. It's one thing to get a bailout from the Bank of England. Totally another, when the day after the bailout, the sh** hits the fan!

At least the management knows how to play charades. Speaking like a true deadbeat, the management team of Northern Rock boasted how they have an unlimited line of credit from the Bank of England. Asked if he or his customers should be worried, Mr Applegarth (some shmuck) replied: "Knowing that we have an uncapped facility with the Bank of England, you don't get better than being banked by the Bank of England."

Right! JP Morgan would roll over in his grave if he heard that from one of his branch managers!

OMG! EONS is RUN BY MORONS

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/14/2007 11:15:00 AM
Have you seen the Eons commercial? It's the lamest ad in town. Eons is supposed to be a social networking site for 50+ year olds. WTF? 50+ year olds don't need social networking! As if that weren't enough, they put together a commercial spot where the person in the ad looks like a 30 year old. Come on people! Wake up! If your target audience is 50+, try to get someone 50+ in the ad!



By the way, this is the same company that raised $32 million from Sequoia Capital and General Catalyst on the backs of the founder's reputation - which has gone up in spoke - being a founder of Monster.com. They just laid off a third of their staff. Hopefully, they got rid of the moron who appeared in the ad.

There is No Vanessa Hudgens Sex Tape LOL!

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/14/2007 05:23:00 AM

If you're looking for the Vanessa Hudgens sex tape, you've been had! Apparently, the rumor started when a satire site decided to get creative and spread the rumor that the clip shows Vanessa sitting in front of a Christmas tree wearing only a Santa hat, pasties to cover her breasts and a red thong with mistletoe decoration. Slowly Vanessa took off her ‘attributes’ one by one and murmured “I want Santa come up my chimney because I’ve been a good little girl this year.’ at the end of her ’striptease’.

Sorry people! You'll just have to settle for the Vanessa photos.

Goldman Sachs Global Alpha Blows Up Again!

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/14/2007 05:11:00 AM
Goldman Sachs Global Alpha blew up again. It is down 22% in August 2007 according to a "Dear Investors" letter from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE GS), the venerable and occasionally heretofore erstwhile slimy investment bank. LOL! The only solice that investors can relish in is that the largest investors in the fund are Goldman Sachs partners themselves - former and current. The poor risk management of the fund shows that even funds that say they are risk neutral can run into problems. You might remember they also had problems last August - like in 2006!

The problem at GS Alpha? They shorted Asian bonds! Oops. Japan didn't raise rates as fast as they hoped.

August was the worst month in the fund’s 12-year history; it was down 22.7% last month alone, according to a recent letter to investors. So far this year through the end of August, it was down 33.4% due to bad bets on everything from the Australian dollar, the Norwegian stock market and Japanese government bonds. The letter gave no indication about how the fund was faring this month. Over the past 12 months, the fund has lost 37% of its value.

Bummer! Better luck next time.

Cash Warren Dumps Vera Mishina - Cheats on Jessica Alba Back Again!

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/14/2007 04:44:00 AM

Cash Warren dumped Vera Mishina after having a one night stand with her. Now, he's trying to get back with Jessica Alba again. What an idiot! The Pulse says Cash cheated on Jessica Alba by bringing Vera back to his hotel room at the W Hotel in New York. The 20 year old Vera spilled the beans after Cash dumped her. Come on Vera. You're a blonde and a little ditzy, but don't act suprised!

Mr. Cash, you shouldn't piss off these russian ladies. They can be mighty feisty!

The model reveals, "On the night he picked me up and got me into his bed, he was acting like the world's biggest single man. But I found out that only hours after being with me, he was on a plane back to L.A., where he was then photographed having dinner with her (Alba) and acting affectionate."

The spurned model adds, "If he had told me they had gotten back together there's no way I would have allowed him to sleep with me. I now feel like all he wanted was a one-night stand. I feel used. Cash wasn't very honest to lead me along like he did. Jessica may want to rethink taking him back. He cheated on her the minute he was away from her."

Oops!

September 12, 2007

Counterfeit iPhones Flood the Streets of Taiwan and Shanghai

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/12/2007 12:35:00 PM

Steve Jobs used to say, "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." If that's the case, then merchants in Taiwan are incredible! Six months before the iPhones launched in the US, merchants in Taiwan and in Shanghai started selling fake iPhones to kids on the streets that look exactly like iPhones. They look exactly like the one pictured above. It's hard not to be flattered if you're Apple (Nasdaq AAPL).

Ben, the iPhone peddler, says he has sold over 10,000 iPhones since the summer in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the U.S. The knockoff phones are produced in batches of 1,000 at a factory in Shenzhen, China, across the border from Hong Kong, says Ben, 26. He advertises his phones on the Internet and sells them for NT$8,900 ($270). On Sept. 5, Jobs cut the price of the top iPhone to $399, a $200 reduction. You got to love them! If fakers can sell them for $270, then I'm sure more price cuts are coming.

``The guts aren't hard,'' Ben says. ``The hard part is the design and the exterior.''

In Shanghai, the knockoffs are kept under the counter of a cramped market stall on the sixth floor of a trash-strewn building near the railway station.

September 11, 2007

Britney Spears Goes Panty Less Again - Gone Flashing Photos After VMA

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/11/2007 03:06:00 AM

Britney Spears went panty less again - this time right after the VMA! In an effort to show that her crotch is still functional after delivering two babies and a VMA dance off, Britney decided to go pant less after the VMA to get more attention after she performed her new song - the first one after four years of resting in peace and raising her kids. The song was called Gimme More - which is what fans had hoped she would do, except I think fans were hoping that she would lose not only her panties, but also her top.

Disappointed fans need not fret. After going blonde, going panty-less, I surmise that going top-less is the only stunt left for Britney Spears. Peace out to the lucky fool slash paparazzi who gets those million dollar shots!

Shanghai Stocks and Hong Kong Stocks Are Converging

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/11/2007 01:48:00 AM
I have a theory that stocks that are dual listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange will converge in price. That is because the P/E of the stocks listed in Shanghai are on average 2x the P/E of the dual listed stocks in Hong Kong. Today's market action proves it is starting to happen. The Shanghai stock index fell about 4.5% while the Hong Kong market fell 0.22%

^SSEC Shanghai Composite 5,113.97 -241.32 (-4.51%)
^HSI Hang Seng 23,946.27 -53.43 (-0.22%)

This is a unique example of free market economics at work. In a perfectly free market with no arbitrage opportunities, one would expect two geograpically similar markets like Shanghai and Hong Kong to trade at a similiar P/E. Today, they are not. Since Shanghai was a closed market, it traded at a significant premium. In economics this is the theory of segregated markets in action, where price premiums exist because investors in mainland China are unable to invest in the Hong Kong stock market. High demand and scarcity of stocks lead to higher prices in Shanghai. The convergence had to wait until the loosening of capital flow. That is happening now.

Ever since the Chinese government allowed mainland investors to invest in Hong Kong, Hong Kong stocks have been performing much stronger than Shanghai stocks. Some stocks I follow are Aluminum Corporation of China and China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines. You can see that stocks like Chalco are demonstrating the rule of converging. Chalco rose today in Hong Kong even as their Shanghai listed counterparts tanked. That's because the Shanghai listed shares of Chalco Shanghai trade at a greater than 100% premium to Chalco Hong Kong. That is an enormous price premium that would not exist in arbitrage free markets. An investor in a free market would short Chalco Shanghai and buy Chalco Hong Kong - assuming no limits on shorting (which is of course not the case since shorting stocks is not allowed in Shanghai).

The chart below shows that Aluminum Corporation of China Limited aka Chalco rose 5.55% in Hong Kong while the Shanghai shares fell 0.44%
Hong Kong (2600.HK) 20.35 +1.07 (+5.55%)
Shanghai (601600.SS) 47.01 -.21 (-.44%)


Chalco is not the only stock that is starting to converge in price with its Shanghai counterpart. China Eastern Airlines fell in both Shanghai and Hong Kong but fell more in Shanghai than in Hong Kong. That is the expected price action based on the theory of arbitrage free conditions in perfectly efficient markets. The charts below show the price action.

China Eastern Airlines
Hong Kong (0670.HK) 6.68 -.04 (-.60%)
Shanghai (600115.SS) 16.74 -0.28 (-1.65%)

The market is not perfectly efficient yet. You can see in the charts below that China Southern Airlines rose more in Shanghai than in Hong Kong. That is not expected behavior. One would have expected the opposite.

China Southern Airlines Limited
Hong Kong (1055.HK) 10.22 +0.16 (+1.59%)
Shanghai (600029.SS) 23.25 +0.97 (+4.35%)

I will be the first to admit that this is a very exciting time in the development of the Chinese stock market. The adoption of market based policies is taking hold every day as seen from the convergence of the prices of stocks listed on the "free market" of Hong Kong and the "insulated market" of Shanghai. History is being made. It will be painful for Shanghai listed stocks and it will be positive for Hong Kong listed stocks which have been neglected. The removal of market inefficiencies is the cost of moving to a free market, and it will be the first real lesson for mainland Chinese investors who have tasted the sweetness of pure profits up until now. Investors will learn that not only can markets bring tremendous profits when they go up, but they can also bring devastating losses when they fall.

Delta Airlines Charges $50 for Standby - Ouch Ouch Ouch!

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/11/2007 01:41:00 AM
Delta Airlines Inc. (NYSE DAL) is turning every travel option into a revenue generating opportunity. I just learned at the check in kiosk that there is a $50 fee for standby on Delta. On the plus side for Delta, it means less people going standby and less hassle for gate agents. It also means an extra $50 per ticket change fee! On the minus side, it means fewer full planes. I don't know what the impact will be, but I do think that travelers like me are somewhat unhappy at having to pay $50 to fly standby. That sucks. They also started charging an extra $5 each way on one way tickets and $10 for roundtrip. Ever since they went public in April, Delta has become seriously serious (lol!) about making some serious money at the expense of travelers like me!

September 10, 2007

MacDonalds Employee Thrown in Jail for Serving Salty Burger

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/10/2007 05:34:00 AM

Serve a salty burger? Get sent to jail. A MacDonald's employee found that out the hard way after spilling salt over a police officer's burger. The cop returned with the burger, questioned her, and threw her in the slammer! The employee was charged with serving a the burger "without regards to the well-being of anyone who might consume it." LOL! McDonald's Corporation (NYSE MCD) beware, you could get sent to jail for serving over salty, un-nutricious burgers! Seriously, it would be alot cooler if they had actually threw her in jail for recklessly endangering children with high transfat fries.

September 09, 2007

Hong Kong Stock Exchange is Smoking Hot - Stock Up 10x over past 2 years

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/09/2007 10:46:00 PM


The Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Clearing Corporation is smoking hot. The chart shows that shares are up about 10X in the past 2.5 years up from around 15 HKD to over 185 HKD today. Shares of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (hkeX) (HK:388 185.20, +27.20, +17.2%) , operator of the local stock market, surged more than 17% to a record Monday after the Hong Kong government disclosed Friday it has become the largest shareholder in the company. The Hong Kong government said Friday it has expanded its holding in the bourse operator to 5.88% and will hold the stake in its Exchange Fund. Analysts said the enlarged share holding may reflect the government's interest in becoming more involved in the daily operations of HKEx as the local stock market strengthens ties with financial markets in the mainland. Shares of HKEx rose 17.2% to a record HK$185.20 at midday, bringing its year-to-date gain to 73%.

The craze over stock exchange stocks has clearly taken over this particular stock. The Hong Kong Exchange has a market cap of 198 billion HKD which is rougly $20 billion. The P/E multiple is 50x earnings. There are more headwinds in this story than most people see. One particular issue is that Beijing is discouraging the largest and best companies in China from listing in Hong Kong and instead encouraging them to list in Shanghai. That's why Bank of Beijing is listing in Shanghai (Xinhua) instead of doing the traditional dual listing - first in Hong Kong and then in Shanghai. Its 15 billion yuan IPO was supposed to be done in Hong Kong but regulators did a convincing job of preventing that from happening - simply by denying them the license. Anyhow, the winds are blowing a different way now.

Amazon Launches Where's Waldo Search for Steve Fossett

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/09/2007 05:30:00 PM

Steve Fossett may have taken his final adventure when the hot air ballooning adventurer's airplane disappeared over Nevada. Ballooning is a fairly dangerous sport because you're basically dangling in the air hoping that the wind doesn't swoop you away. But ironically, it wasn't ballooning that did him in. It was merely flying an airplane. Amazon.com has launched the Web 2.0 version of a Where's Waldo! search for Steve Fossett. Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq AMZN) has setup a webpage to help find Steve Fossett by reviewing 50,000 satellite images of the areas where he is likely to be.

Finding people using satellite images is a fairly novel idea. What's even more unique about Amazon.com's search for Steve Fossett is that they are asking users to review the satellite photos - lots of them - using Mechanical Turk. It's called Mechanical Turk because people are performing very specific tasks rather than computers. In this case, you, the Mechanical Turk, will be reviewing millions of photos by hand and indicating whether you found him. I was always a big fan of Where's Waldo? and this search will be fun for Where's Waldo fans worldwide!

On Monday, September 3, 2007, Steve Fossett , the first person to fly a plane around the world without refueling and the first person to fly around the world in a balloon went missing in Nevada. An airplane he was flying failed to return. No one has any idea where he is.

Through the generous efforts of individuals at several organizations, detailed satellite imagery has been made available for his last known whereabouts.

HITs have been created to ask volunteers to help review these images and flag potential areas of interest which will be instrumental in the search and rescue efforts.

If you are interested in helping, please click here to participate in the search effort.

This is a really cool way to use technology. Fossett made his fortune trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

Quick Hits That Caught My Eye

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/09/2007 12:27:00 AM
China is continuing to promote and encourage outbound investments to cool off the asset bubble, says Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China. It will become easier to convert RMB to foreign currencies and vice versa, and also for Chinese banks to setup branches abroad.

``We will remove unnecessary controls on reviewing sources of foreign-exchange funds, and on foreign currency purchase and remittance procedures to allow companies to use their own funds or converted currencies to invest abroad,'' Zhou said today.


China wants more investment in R&D and technology businesses according to Wu Yi, vice premier.

``We strongly recommend foreign investment take an active part in the government's plan to revitalize the northeast rustbelt region and to develop central and western China's economy,'' Wu said today, citing her government's plan to rebalance the growth of the world's fourth-largest economy.

``We welcome foreign companies to set up more research and development centers, and they can also cooperate with Chinese companies to jointly explore overseas market together,'' Wu said today.

China this year scrapped tax rebates on more exports, raised export tariffs and increased levies on low-end manufacturers to curb growth of exports where foreign investment is heavy and decided to make income tax rates for foreign and domestic companies a unified 25 percent, ending the lower rates foreign investors have enjoyed for the past decade.


Beazer Homes USA Inc. defaults on $1.2 billion in debt (NYSE BZH) and claims it has not.

Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia are running into problems with developing a single currency for the Arab region.

Bahraini Princess Elopes with a US Marine

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/09/2007 12:03:00 AM

It's interesting what kids do, and it's even more interesting what royal kids do. 18-year old Meriam Al Khalifa made headlines when she eloped with a 25 year old US Marine. Meriam was a member of the royal family of Bahrain looking for some action and she sneaked out o the country with her boyfriend, a US Marine stationed there. She was a Muslim. He was Mormon. The relationship: starcrossed from the beginning.

Meriam sneaked out of the country posing as a US marine. They got married in Vegas. NBC made a made for TV movie called the Princess and the Marine. He went home to the US and got demoted from the military and began a parking attendent. She partied hard in Vegas. They got divorced. What an adventure!