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The top of this cycle for ASX200, cash is king ?


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In reply to: kahuna1 on Sunday 20/01/08 12:04pm

K1, Cannot confirm it but read that Ambac was downgraded to AA after the market closed fri and MBIA is going this week,too little -too late for these stinking,walking corpses,but just maybe the market will allow these stupid ,overpaid greedy frauds to take the pain and clear the decks so a financial system without the strings and mirrors can emerge,these events might snowball into an avalanche that unceremoniously dumps the USA off centre stage and replaces it with China etc.and the blame can clearly be sheeted down to Greenspan,Benanke and George W and corrupt ratings agencys. Just proof read this and I am starting to rave --sorry. My real purpose is to ask if you or other subscribers would hazard a guess at the bottom for the ASX ,looks like it might be soon but not prepared to put a number on it at this stage ,bugger it--just had another red---5250 on 1 feb Tom

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US is now about 26% I think.... - which raises the issue of decoupling.


An economic disaster in the US would have global implications, but not to the extent that it might have 20 years ago...




The United States in the World Economy

A few facts are needed to set the stage for an assessment of US economic power. The United States currently produces just over 30 percent of total gross domestic product (GDP) when measured at market exchange rates, or 21 percent at purchasing power parity (PPP) rates. This is down from 46 percent just after World War II, but up slightly over the past decade due to the strong dollar and stock market boom of the mid-1990s. Looking ahead, it is most likely that the US share of world GDP will continue to shrink due to faster growth in poorer countries. The four big onesÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ÂÂsometimes called BRIC for Brazil, Russia, India, and ChinaÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ÂÂalready make up 23 percent of world output in PPP terms and are expected to grow by at least five percent per year for the next decade.


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In reply to: skorpian on Sunday 20/01/08 09:46pm

We all talk about decoupling, looking to asia, America isn't as significant but most most fund manager senior brokers and businessman where trained in American firms or looked to America. These Guys are now in senior positions controlling a lot of Australian money and even though we can see the lead from asia and the sub contintent south America. These Older guys are stuck in a warp that is still looking to the old Dog and are following without realizing as bob dillion put the times are a changing. Each generation goes Through re growth pruning and renewal. A lot of the old guys are hanging on by there teeth failing to adjust. the best example is John Howard Thought he knew convinced his party he still did but failed to notice the change in the community and got left behind. A lot of funds and Businesses must now reavaluate change adapt whether it be funds, banks. multi nationals or the corner shop and even though I really admire America, but its time to move away and look else where and companies who don't and still follow the american way see you later the world moves on don't be left behind.

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Tomorrow (Monday) will be interesting, given that the USA has a holiday (Martin Luther King day) with no market. So the ASX will be quite nervous - an extra TWO trading days here before the next Dow to watch, and all that time for bad news to emanate from the financial geniuses of Wall St.


I'd expect tomorrow to be a nervous day, perhaps up a bit at first, then profit-taking later in the day as people bale out. Tuesday will be even more nervous, and by then, we may have even more "results" from the US to guide us.


Perhaps a bounce or rally later in the week would be my best guess, for whatever that's worth, but how sustained that will be I have no idea. Not very long, I suspect.



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In reply to: skorpian on Sunday 20/01/08 09:46pm



From the HIR article you posted:


"The ultimate test of military powerÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ÂÂwarÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ÂÂis the classic zero-sum game."


Gosh! The author of this article doesn't know about World War 2? Or does, and doesn't know what zero is? Still resisting the idea of negative numbers? Or is sum the problem? He cites the figure that the US had 46% of world GDP after WW2 which was the case precisely because Europe had just completed the almost total destruction of it's economy. Or is that what he means by zero sum game? A game in which the sum of your economic capacity is reduced to zero?


As for the impact of US economic woes on the rest of the world, just look at the number two in world GDP. Remember Japan?



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In reply to: NightStalker on Sunday 20/01/08 11:32pm

Is this the recession we had to have?


Like K1 and others on this Forum I have bunkered down and changed my portfolio where I have been able to into stocks that I think will weather out the storm.

On the other hand I do not see doom and gloom everywhere.


I am pleased to see some of the large auto makers embracing new generation cars, solar and hydrogen. I have just come back from Europe where particularly in Germany just about every second house has solar panels and just about every hill a windmill. We might need to go nuclear before we go Hydrogen.


America is going down the tube ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and watch out for London, but I have believed for a generation that banks and bankers should be put against a wall and shot, so I do not feel sorry for them. I am looking for a new financial model or institution to come forward, but am still looking (sovereign funds??)


I am looking to China, India and Brazil to pick up the slack. Huge middle class which will keep Australia going.


Hopefully our guys will realise sooner than later that our destiny is not tied to the USA. Why our stock market has to crash in sympathy with them is beyond me. IsnÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¾Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢t our trade more geared to Asia??


I think we have a small window of opportunity here to ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“change the worldÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ and go from an oil based economy to a hydrogen based economy. Hopefully this recession will make people stop and think and embrace new opportunities. With luck our best minds will turn to alternative energies and we will see the same stellar improvements that we have seen in the computer industry. Rudd could do worse than direct the CSIRO to produce a new Holden powered by Hydrogen within ten years.


I agree with K1 that the shit has hit the fan, but I at least see a few people with tissues coming to get rid of it.


It is not the end of the world, yet!!


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Having said that nighstalker I understand where you're coming from with regards to the US but I believe a finish in positive territory today. RUDD will announce a fairly substantial budget surplus which I think the punters will take to positively. http://www.sharescene.com/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif
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Everyone has an opinion .... all that matters in the end is how we manage our own finances.


For me, I believe the market works in cycles .... some are just short term ones .... others long term trends. This thread I started a few years ago was an attempt to catch the short term cycles and downturns and pick the tops of the overall market ... sellout and then buy back in when the whites of the eyes were seen in sheer terror.


The market for the last few years as far as long term cycles go has been in a long term bullish cycle. I have never suggested anything else other than these periodic downturns of which we had 5 in a few years or 6 if you count the mini one which was off the back of worry about China and lasted 4 days.


The first time I suggested the market may have hit a likely high for the medium term possibly for quite some time was the last peak. I gave the reasons which at the time were not in evidence and copped as I always do some flack. That time I copped more than usual because I thought it was the start of another serious sort of correction and after just having one a few months prior to the November exit by myself, people thought and rightly thought since the violence of the bounce we saw it was highly unlikely we revisited back down there again.


Someone at 6,750-6,850 calling for first stop 6,000 and heaven help us if we get to 5,480 the old low again is most unwelcome when you are long stocks. Most annoying in fact.

I gave my reasons and whilst the market failed to do exactly what I expected everywhere the crucial ingredients came true and here we are a hop skip and a jump from the last takeoff point.


Equity markets for many reasons in the post 2002 period took off with a string of 20% plus years for our markets. In the main I have and had no problem with this and was the band leader for many of the stocks in their rise. BHP my dear pet, WPL the management which i hated but the stock and assets one had to love. On and on. Good fundamentals reasons behind our rise and backed up with earnings.


Lately however the market very simply put at its highs was banking the increased earnings of things which hadn't happened in many cases and were priced on 2009 EPS or 2010. Just slightly overheated.


Last few months has seen the actual tug of war heat up, not down. People are assuming the same earnings for these companies when sadly the world has changed. Whilst I saw the writing on the wall not predicting the end of the world. Things will go on and people will still buy goods and services. That said however the lagging valuations I complained about for BHP at $15- for its products when the stock is $47- was not the case. For WPL the pricing of it at $18- vs a price over $50- was not the case.


Important at least for me to stand back each time we hit a new high and ask these general valuation questions. Not just miners but retailers and banks and telco's and so on.


What we had when we were hitting the old ASX highs was what I saw as a sharply rising cost base for a lot of miners with the price of oil hitting new highs and to run a 50 ton dump truck takes 90 litres of fuel and hour a price of oil rising through US$90- towards US$100- was not good, not good at all. Instead we saw the stocks rising and rising some more when the costs were going up. Clearly to me at the time this was inflationary to the economy as a whole and meant higher interest rates or at least the US fed being hamstrung cutting rates. How wrong can one be ? They ignored and are ignoring rising costs and cutting anyhow. Didn't matter since it was clear even back then the spread between the govt rates and rates demanded for anything else other than govt bonds was exploding and despite the US fed funds rate going down the rate demanded even for and AA bond was going in the opposite direction.


For me the stock market and the view is a simple one. It competes with other forms of investments for funds and when the real prices you can get on one go up it attracts funds from the other. In Australia to get 8% or 1% over the official rates in a bank is not that hard. As risk goes its pretty much either the end of the world if one of the major or second tier banks goes down.


I have no problem as I did with each of the bottoms of the last 5 corrections being bullish on the market overall. I am not stuck to some dogma of being bearish or bullish and each time for the 5 actual corrections we have had when they finished I stopped talking about the bear side until we hit what I perceived was the top of the cycle or rally yet again. Each time in the past it was a higher high than the previous high to the correction.


This time rightly or wrongly I suspect and shared the top at 6,850 on the ASX 200 may be a multi year high and the rally or bull run is totally over for now.


Obviously 1,000 points lower making the call it was the high helps little. Looking realistically at things even here there are still too many in our market with hot air into their earnings. Still too many priced as thought the announced plans of management will become a reality. Crucially for me is the spec end of the market is still fairly red hot in some areas especially the mining and some bio-tech ones. Right now the amount of project finance available and for these frogs needed to develop there plans has virtually dried up to near zero. This has to do with the credit crunch and a whole risk assessment of projects. Its nice for some frog to do an NPV study using dogey numbers and present it to the market as I saw with a recent one. Used a very low fuel cost of US$60- per barrel for the life of the project and a low internal NPV of 7% to come out with the value of the project at the end. Market ate it up and rallied the stock 50%. Still up 40%.


Today only the higher grade and massive NPV things have a hope in todays credit environment of attracting the funds needed to proceed. doing a pre BFS using bull-dust serves no one. If you can get 8% in a bank the reality is the project finance is going to cost 10/11/12% ......


This is an aside .... whilst the corporate side of our market in the main is very healthy when you can get 8% for your money as opposed to 6% .... this places pressure all by itself on funds. Less are willing to invest in a company which has a large P/E of over 25 like some of them and demand lower P/E's at 8% its a 12.5 p/e sure you dont have the chance of growth like a stock but buying a stock with a P/E of 25 and a dividend of 1.5% longer term each year the opportunity cost adds up.


Anyhow ... enuf on this.


My opinion is there is more to come.


What happens this morning when we saw some banks open on Friday down and rally 7% off their lows in what was a very technical computer trading bot trading frenzy remains to be seen. That the US Dow was 100 points up on its close Thursday night when they were buying these banks 7% from their lows and the euphoria out there in the market with the Japanese market hitting a high 450 points from its lows at the same time is replaced with a reality that we ignored the fall on Thursday in the Dow of 300 points or more than 2% and instead of being correct with this mad buying the Dow finished ... or at least the S+P finished down a further 1%.


Not even hard to work out there will be some serious soul searching going on this morning.


As to AMBAC and insurers of these bond issues. The announcement I believe of the downgrade came out just after lunch NY time on a Friday. A Friday which was the day before a long weekend. New York more than other financial centers has a funny system for Fridays and Friday afternoons and at best its thin an in some cases no existent the Friday afternoons especially prior to a long weekend in Summer. That the bigger two credit rating agencies have failed to downgrade is a joke. S+P and Moody's have been shown up and early next week I suspect they act. the smaller one downgraded one step and immediately put them on credit watch for another step. Too little too late.


It for me puts this whole thing into limbo land yet again. When an issuer who has little chance of default has paid their insurance against the very unlikely chance they default and their insurer appears insolvent, it raises all sorts of claims. Forget the bad Housing securitized debt stuff on their books if one of these insurers filed for chapter 11 the claims from others for paid insurance levies which appear worthless will amount to far far more than the securitized housing debt which already dwarfs their remaining capital and reserves.


They cant let these things go down, but then again no investor is going to buy something worth minus 2/3/4 billion. Catch 22 and between them the 6 of them the total likely without filing for chapter 11 will be 20 billion. they file which i dont see any way out of and the insurance premiums paid by ALL customers in the past will claim and its a fiasco on a grand scale. Claims for downgrading of their underlying bonds and damage to their credit ratings will be something very serious. With 1.2 trillion insured between them and having their reputation and credit rating trashed along with them ....


The claims will likely be in the hundreds of billions in compensation and already paid insurance levies.


A deck of cards.


Being an old fart and actually working in the USA at the time the S+L crisis back in the 1980's where lax lending saw another similar disaster and the US govt in the end taking over many S+L's ... well in the 1980's they tried to ignore the problem and in fact wallpapered over the cracks for a while till the whole unholy mess exploded in their faces.


Whilst we yet again see problems from the housing sector and securitization of this debt the problem just has taken on another ominous passenger the same size and there is another waiting in the wings with 4 trillion in debts that is not being spoken about but the transitional funding for some of the M+A stuff is to me a worry. Falling economic conditions and despite the cash rate being lower the actual cost of funds to finance these things being 1.5-3% higher than their budget ... makes some of these brilliant deals look shaky.


Do they wallpaper the cracks ? Likely. Still for me with so much being added to the debt side make the outcome and eventual outcome whether it be 2008 or 2010 or 2015 assured.


Simple maths is that if the US govt is overspending per everyone in the nation $2.6 k and everyone on the consumer side is spending the same another $2.6 k thats for everyone man woman child in the USA. the actual burden on those working is far more than the $5.2 k its double that since only roughly half of the people work ... a few more but lets say $10k more debt per person employed added each year is the reality. Add this up for the next 4 years and its 100% nearly of their yearly incomes and added to the already staggering pile ... the pressures on people actually employed is a pile that makes me cringe and wonder about the long term ability to repay.


Seen it all before. this time however the govt due to the nations size and being the reserve currency has had the world as a whole willing and able to gloss over the bottom line and the US bond market rally and the US feds move to lower its cost of borrowing to fund this mounting debt side is somewhat the amazement of the whole thing.


Higher inflation. Strong downward pressure on the USD both short and long term due to structural problems .... lets buy US bonds. A central bank can in reality control only a few things. One is the cash rate ... the overnight cash rate or the exchange rate and have no control over the cash rates or little control. It does not control the US bond rate and sure it can try and influence the rate by issuing more in a certain period but it is a net borrower of mammoth proportions in this case so I am amazed by the willingness of the global capital markets to swallow any of it.


Never seen anything like it ... ever. Sure some safe haven buying as the market tanks some more. But when inflation explodes and likely since the US is printing money to fill the gaps continues longer term. Why one would want to invest in something with a negative real interest rate is beyond me.


The crux of the nuclear side for me is a collapse of the US bond market. The government side that is and the global community not willing to invest at 4% for 10 years with their bonds but demand 5% then 6% for the governments. As to the corporate side the debacle and losses racked up by what is a total load of rubbish would have me counting my fingers after speaking to an investment bank. its their job these sell side guys to sell the debt on behalf of their clients to the public and sell something which in reality should have a 5% premium over the govt bond rate at 0.25% margin. It still holds the 5% risk when the music stops and the music certainly has stopped for some sectors.


Coupled with the nuclear side would be the US dollar getting another pasting and they would run for the hills. it was and is so important for the two to happen together. Holders of US bonds seeing the value of the bonds go down as the interest rate goes up. If you buy at 4% and the market yield goes to 5% in rough simple terms on a 10 year bond you loose 1% for 10 years on paper or 10% of the value. Couple this with the US dollar taking another nosedive of 10% and heck your out 20% on paper.


Government's not the USA have nightmares about this sort of stuff. I doubt it happens after all this .... a full blown one ... but the case of the other Nations which went down this track it was exactly what happened. For Argentina it faced a slowing economy but a fixed exchange rate vs the US dollar. what happened however was the markets demanded more and more for their US denominated bonds it started at 1% over the US benchmark but at the very end it was forced to issue at 10% over the Us bench mark. Having to pay 18% per annum in interest and then faced with the scale of the debt exploding and the country being forced to devalue blew them away.


USA .... they are masters at this sort of stuff so a full nuclear option is unlikely. Warning signs are the US bond yields and their currency. They will do everything in their power to try and delay or fustigate the issue. Sadly the more wallpaper they use as they did with the S+L crisis during the 1980's the more I suspect they have a similar outcome.


So yep longer term Dr Doom I suppose. One hell of a mess. And it just took on a whole new ugly scope and one not talked about and the fact the wallpaper covering the insurers just went brown and burnt off the wall may or may not start the ball rolling. Doubtful they allow it to do that but the IMF if honestly asked how to fix a problem on this scale would demand the usual. low interest rates. an improvement on the trade side and massive cuts in the govt overspending. the size of the debt is at that level. The longer term outlook given the current approach and wisdom seems bleak unless we all inflate our way out of it and this leaves me with the dilemma that eventually oil will explode yet again.


Conversely ...


But Goldman Sachs chief US investment strategist Abby Joseph Cohen remains optimistic, saying the Dow will rise 22 percent to 14,750 points by the end of the year.


Big call. I do remember being an old guy during the heights of the dot com boom a certain person recommending a whole swag of stocks with market caps of 200 times sales ... not earnings. And then when the bubble burst the investigation which followed I believe between all the Wall street firms all of them when the NASDAQ reached its apex prior to loosing 75% of value of the 5,000 stocks listed there we sell recommendations on a total of 7 stocks.


Also being fair I do remember some called it and urged some caution at the top, but if you recommend clients buy a stock with a market cap of 200 times sales in the first place and when they lost 95% of their value for those who survived the crash and most didn't I personally wouldn't be patting myself on the back or forgetting I actually recommended them in the first place.


Yahoo for example at a peak of $102 vs a low of $4- 18 months later is what I am talking about.


Use your own judgment as always with stocks and investments. Mine is just a view and from the dark-side.


I do not doubt our market can and will find a bottom maybe that low was it. But out in the greater world as I shunned the dot com hysteria and sadly missed the boat and watched people wiser than I make a lot of money.


This time .... only time will tell the outcome.


Having talked about the idiocy of the laxness of the credit side quite a few times over the years ... either they pat the butchers bill now for $10- or pay $40- later.


As Vilmac said always someone willing to come in and clean up the mess. Not so sure after being tapped to add money to failing investment banks and actual banks ... and then 3 months later being asked for more ... this time if as I suspect another wave of reality hits there will be those willing to clena it up but the price demanded will be ever higher.


How much ? No idea.


Nuclear side watch closely the bond side and currency in the US. Unlikely still far less than a 50% chance for me either way .... not even a 30% chance.


Take care



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Not to sure if anyone saw "Newshour With Jim Lehrer" on Saturday arvo on SBS. But they had two analysts discussing the pros and cons of the US economic stimulus package. Was actually quite interesting viewing but one of the guests has real worries about the current state of the US economy. He was saying that two of the bigger shot economists in the US are saying that the US economy is in real trouble not jut moderate trouble... a serious recession is on the cards. Anyway here is the link below....



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Having witnessed first hand just how far the tentacles reach when an insurer fails, I think the failure of the LMI guys will reopen a whole new batch of problems.


It is quite an education to see just how much the financial world is intertwined and I believe quite a few Companies and investors will get a nasty shock right here in OZ as it unfolds, unfortunately.


Like most followers of this thread I bailed out in Oct / Nov and I intend to stay out until all the speccies get trashed another 20% then I will look for the majors to start the retrace or at the very least find some support.

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