I’ve just finished reading a very interesting book by Frank Partnoy – “Infectious Greed”. I actually remember seeing it in a library back in 2005, however at that time I chose not to invest the effort into reading it, a decision which I regret today. Nonetheless, better late than never, as they say.
Apparently, JD Whetherspoon shares fell, after the company issued a profits warning. The pub management firm is worried, that the smoking ban, to be introduced in Britain this summer, will reduce earnings in the short run.
A friend of mine told me an interesting story. A trader in bank X tried to make a profit, building a private portfolio with some new financial product and using bank's money. Apparently, he abused his position and connections within the firm in order to do so. The sad part of the story is, that he ended up playing against bank Y and loosing half of the cash. Obviously, he wasn't an exceptionally bright trader and also no proper pricing model was available for that particular product/portfolio.
Heiko Ebens, a Merrill Lynch director, claimed, that hedge fund industry has ceased to deliver higher than average returns and can be mostly replaced by index trackers. Merrill Lynch's trackers, for instance.
A very interesting article in The Guardian tells the story of a nice elderly couple from Ashford, UK, which has built a property empire worth £280 million. It's simply amazing what you can reach, if you start at the right time and in the right place.
High performance computing in financial and other industries is constantly challenged by growing demand for faster results and larger volumes of data to process. FPGA - specially designed hardware units - through their ability to execute complex tasks in parallel - can substantially increase the throughput of systems and reduce data centre load. For many popular tasks a couple of machines with FPGAs on-board can replace a cluster of 50+ nodes.