Monday, July 31, 2006

The price of ‘free’ in the rebate world

We have been waiting on a cell phone rebate from Inphonic for a whopping 8 months now. We could apply for the rebate only after 6 months of phone service and then have to wait for about 6-8 weeks for the rebate check to arrive. The latest status on the rebate website is that they unfortunately have to ‘reprocess’ the rebate.

We have to get $500 back so the amount is no joke. Somehow as the days go by I feel that my ‘free’ phones came with a big price.

1) I had to wait 6 months, fill in about 6 forms making sure I had the UPC code and all the receipts intact till then.
2) Now I have to wait till somewhere in rebate world some unknown entity approves my rebate and sends me a check.
3)I have no idea if by chance I missed something in my application or it got lost in the mail until it is much too late for changing it.

I know (am hoping) that I will eventually get my money back but this whole rebate thing is based on their hope that the customer will not be willing to go over all the hoops and hurdles to get it. I know there are companies that seem to have a faster, smarter process but it is still not an easy process;reiterating that everything comes with a price.

I agree with Mike

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The act of buying AMGN

Finally purchased some AMGN shares for $67.52 two days ago. The shares of AMGN has been rallying pretty good (due to strong results). anyway lets see how it goes. This is the first purchase, hopefully a good one too ;)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

5 things the World Cup taught me about Life, Love and Money

Someone once compared the world to a soccer ball as in the world is constantly being kicked around by fanatic men in short pants. This got me to thinking what this FIFA world cup has taught me

a) Passion: As always, I was taken in by the pure thrill of each game - the passion of the players, the enthusiasm of the fans. I feel the coaches who had the most passion and fire on the field had the more determined and successful team. You need to be passionate on things that matter to you.

b) Go beyond the Hype: A lot of time and effort was spent on building an image. The Brazilian team was the favorite to win this competition, but in the end they were just not ready. Beware of things that glitter, for they are often just sprayed on.

c) Too much of a good thing: I must admit I got carried away. I did not heed to any negative remarks about my favorite team, Brazil. I was blind to everything except what I wanted to believe. If I was like that about my money I would be broke by now. I think you should have passion but not too much that you are oblivious to the obvious.

d) Teamwork/Preparation/Skill and pure luck: As the games progressed, the better skilled and in shape team shone, while the ones who were not, fell off the bandwagon. It is crucial to be in shape; laziness, tardiness can be your downfall and just because you got it right once doesn’t make you safe. I feel this is so true about investing and saving; you always need to be prepared. And sometimes what makes you get ahead is - pure luck

e) Its not always fair and the world might not agree with you: Many of us have been disappointed, let down and some are still analyzing the ‘what could have been’. Whatever happens, we cannot change reality. However unfair we may think it to be and no matter how right we think we are, we cannot always get everyone to agree with us .The best sportsman isn’t one who is always the best but the one who always does his best and is brave enough to face any outcome.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

To buy or not to Buy

I am have been reading about stocks for quite sometime, six months to be precise. After setting my sights for sometime, I feel its time to plunge and invest in Amgen (AMGN).

What: AMGN is a global biotechnology company that operates in one business segment: human therapeutics.

Stock Price: 66.45 PE: 21.6 Fwd_PE:18.90 52W_Low:63.75 52W_High:86.92 Beta: 0.8
Dividend: 0, Sales: 12.72B Debt/Equity: 0.41 Book Value/Share:14.75 Quick ratio: 1.3
Leverage ratio: 1.8 Price to cash flow: 16 5YR_ROA: 6.9

Analyst Ratings: 9/10 (MSN), in general buy or hold rating

Conditions Met:
Stock price near the 52 week low
Sales should be above $40 Million
StockScouter rating should be 9 or above
Institutional ownership should be above 40%
PE should be within 25
Book value should be positive
debt to Equity is less than 1
Quick ratio is 1 or higher
Leverage ratio near to 1 and less than 15 (close to industry average)
Price to cash flow is positive
5 year Return on asset (ROA) should 6 or above.
The price chart is climbing up

Conditions Not met
Insider trading – Two major executive sold shares
Debt to Equity ratio is higher than industry average
Does not pay dividends

Selling Price
If stocks falls more than 15% below purchase price
Target Price: 93

The company is large and got couple of good drugs in its portfolio. In general I feel the company is confident and is not reckless. I plan to keep the stock for 2 years (will keep revising the target price)

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

The "Tipping" Point

She said

Y'day I got back from Seattle and had reserved a shuttle to drop me from the airport to my home.They picked me up about 40 mins after I had landed so I was late late late for work.While on the shuttle I realised that I had to no cash to tip the driver and since I had already paid by cc online there was no way I could include it in the tab.He dropped me off and I thanked him and scurried off before he could give me a dirty look or something.

But the thing is I felt bad about it,that got me thinking about the whole idea of giving a tip.In India it is not expected ;though as anywhere it is appreciated and is definitely not expected to be minimum of 10-15% of the bill.I understand that most people in the service industry here make most of their money by tips and I have no reservations on tipping generously.

What I don't know is how to account for tips in my budget..Do they come under expenses?or charity?Is it tax deductible if I hand out 10 bucks for every cab ride I take?To me it appears like I am giving money away it just something between me and the person who gets it or should I get the government involved .... Thoughts anyone?