Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Yer Money I'm After Baby

Munching my breakfast this morning I caught a bit of the BBC News coverage of the ongoing credit crunch that has hammered Northern Rock most cruelly in the UK.

As I digested my Rice Krispies, I also digested the news that Alliance and Leicester shares had been absolutely killed on the LSE. Dropping 31% for no legitimate reason. A victim of the herd mentality of the markets.

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has also publicly guaranteed the security of all Northern Rock deposits. The queues of frantic depositors withdrawing their life savings from Northern Rock branches had dwindled, and order was being restored to their call centre and online banking service.

As an aside, if I was Chief Exec of Northern Rock, this would have been my cue to hike all my deposit account interest rates by 2%, but maybe he is not as opportunistic as me.

On the train to work I mused, 'today could be a good day to buy Alliance and Leicester shares'. By the time I'd reached my desk, they were up 20%. By close of play the jump was 32%. ffs.

Another missed opportunity. Some spare cash to invest could have come in handy today!

This led me to speculate on other potential gainers from the current situation. Certainly armoured car operators must have made a few quid over the weekend, as Northern Rock shipped hundreds of millions in cash to their branches.

It strikes me that the most likely winners from the unfolding crisis are not likely to be listed on the stock exchange. Well, I certainly couldn't find a Muggers, Burglars, and Fraudsters plc anywhere on the LSE boards.

If there's one thing I've learned from the last few days, it's not just how financially illiterate thousands of surprisingly wealthy people are - where the hell did some of them get such sums!? - it's also how utterly clueless about security they are.

Queuing at the bank to take out gargantuan lumps of cash on the grounds it's not safe to leave it where it is, whilst giving interviews to Sky News, BBC News 24, etc. proclaiming with outrage 'I've got £250,000 with NR and I'm going to take out as much of it as they can give me today'.

Yeah great move. Why not broadcast your address too, and details of which bus you are planning to take your quarter million cash home on?

Are people really so stupid? The evidence suggest so.

Muggers often lurk near cashline/ATMs hoping to relieve some unfortunate of the £100 or £200 they've just withdrawn.

This week it's more a case of wait outside the building society for the first doddering pensioner trailing two bin bags full of £20 notes. Talk about hitting the jackpot. Quarter of a million pounds must buy a shitload of crack.

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