Saturday, July 28, 2007

Why Friday’s 540-pt fall won’t hurt much

It’s getting increasingly difficult to write definitive stories on markets in a flat world of 24x7 trading activity. Amid fears of a collapse in its housing market — an important, market moving financial indicator — the US market fell yesterday, leading to a contagion fall across the world. India followed too, with the Sensex falling 542 points or 3.4 per cent to close at 15,235.
But even as analysts were rolling their sleeves to buy some bargain basement stocks --- Reliance Capital, Tata Steel, Canara Bank and HDFC --- the US market got its aspirin in the form of its second quarter GDP numbers that rose to a healthy 3.4 per cent, the highest in the past 12 months.

Story in The Indian Express, July 28, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What’s a company like NMDC doing in a category like Z-group?

Ever since the category was created on January 16, 2002, I have never looked at Z-group companies. These are companies that the Bombay Stock Exchange indicates are to be avoided like the plague, bottom of the investment barrel. A company gets the Z-halo if it violates three of seven listing criteria --- giving notice of book closure and record dates, submitting its annual report, submitting quarterly shareholding pattern, paying listing fees, publishing quarterly results, redressing investor complaints and implementing corporate governance practices.
So, what’s a company like National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) doing in a category like Z-group? A state-owned mining major, NMDC’s share price in 12 trading sessions has risen almost 70 per cent. Nothing shocking about that --- Z-group companies are known to be illiquid, with little or no investor interest, and thus ripe for manipulators, particularly in rising markets (in falling markets they crash, in indifferent markets they remain invisible).

Opinion in The Indian Express, July 21, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our gods, their gods

How dare you insult my god?
The keyword here is ‘my’. For, I don’t think we mortals have it in us to be able to insult someone or something like God. The entity we term ‘god’ would not be any good if he gets insulted by the mortals he created. And anyone who thinks otherwise needs to get his ideas about his god examined.

Opinion in The Indian Express, July 19, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New world’s new faith

If it is indeed an African great-great-great-grandmother that all the people on this planet have as a common ancestor beginning some 50,000 years ago, it must mean — as Nayan Chanda argues in his brilliant new must-read, Bound Together — the Oneness of this planet that spiritualists and Darwinians claim to realise is probably truer than even they imagined. Blonde was black, tall was short, straight was frizzy and all were Africans who, in the Ice Age, went out in search of food.

Opinion in The Indian Express, July 15, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Home truth index

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram launched the National Housing Bank (NHB) Index on Tuesday, which is India’s first housing price index to collect data and track fluctuations in the property market. How exactly will it work? What does this mean in terms of Government policy? What does it mean for you and me?

Article in The Indian Express, July 12, 2007