15 February, 2006

Bulls or Bears ?

The Indian stock market (Bombay Stock Exchange or BSE) has touched dizzy heights in the last fortnight crossing the psychological 10000 mark. The rate at which the sensex has climbed is also noteworthy, taking just under 2 months to jump from the 9K to the 10K mark. After the Dot Com bubble burst in 2002, the Dow Jones never managed to touch it's peak which it attained during the boom, but the BSE has not only touched the peak but has also gone on to record new highs. So what does all this mean to the investor who invests his savings and anxiously waits for quick and better returns on his hard earned money?

In the stock market setup there are basically three entities that are involved - the buyer, seller and the stock broker. When the markets are bullish lets see who all benefit from the climate. The seller benefits by reaping good returns on investment, the broker benefits because of all the trading activity, the companies listed on the exchange benefit as they get an easy opportunity to raise huge capital sums easily, the investment bankers benefit as they get the business of bringing out IPO's and of course the politicians who can boast of a thriving economy. But is it good for the common man who wants to invest his savings in stocks?

Simple mathematics will suggest that the value of the investors money is reduced and the stakes become very high for him. Given the volatility of the stock market, it is very difficult to predict if the markets will go higher and higher and bring in returns for the investor who has invested when the markets were bullish. The Indian economy with its dependence on the monsoons cannot be expected to perform well under all circumstances. This maybe a pessimistic view when all around us people are rejoicing and the economy is flush with liquidity. But then i feel that these are genuine concerns that a wise investor should think of before investing bigger sums of money in the stock market. Every company into which your investment goes should be carefully checked for its past trends and its roadmap for the future should be carefully scrutnised. Given the flurry of investments made by MNC's in the Indian economy, there should not be much concerns about the markets doing better. But then the wise will investor should be prepared for the lean season as well.
Or are we better off praying for a bearish market in 2006? Ouch !

14 February, 2006

Loose Control !

The weekend was happening and the underlying theme was 'Loose control'(will come to this later). That's what we did when myself, Geeson(my roommate) and Akash started off on a early morning bike ride. The plan was to see Geeson's work place(actually a chemical factory) at Hoskote and then grab some breakfast before returning home. So we got up at 5 A.M. and dressed up to venture out in the chilly morning. Just to warm ourselves up, we played some indoor football(for which we faced our landlady's wrath later in the day) before we set off.

The morning air was chilly and crisp and the empty roads were a welcome break from traffic jams in which we get stuck in Bangalore. Geeson forgot to get his driving glasses and had a tough time driving through the chilly wind. The scenery on the way was not very spectacular. Although the two lakes on the way were a visual delight (also a treat for bird watchers and photographers). Sadly we did not have a camera. We saw a couple of dead dogs lying on the road that were run over by Lorries. It was a disturbing sight to see the birds scavenging on the poor dog's squashed dead body. As we entered the Hoskote Industrial area, we passed by the Glas Fibr Ltd. who are the only manufacturers of wind mill blades in India. It was an awesome sight seeing those giant blades so closely. We reached our destination Akzo Nobel Coatings Ltd. in about 40 minutes time. We parked our bikes, took out visitors passes and started the tour.

The factory was a pretty sight considering that it was a chemical factory. The beautiful lawns and the shiny architecture made the place look like one of those new economy businesses. Geeson showed us around the manufacturing unit and explained how the powder coatings are manufactured and applied. We wondered how much the technology has advanced and processes have matured. We spent about 45 minutes in the factory and then started our journey back. Before setting the pace we stopped at a roadside tea stall and had some hot tea. I enjoyed the return trip much more as the sun had come out and it was not very cold. On the way Geeson suggested that we could drop in at our friend Ankur's place and if lucky might have our breakfast there. This turned out to be a good idea and we reached home by 10.45 A.M after our breakfast with Ankur and Priyanka.

During our breakfast conversation in the morning we planned to watch the movie Rang de Basanti in the evening. The movie turned out to be a nice tale of a hedonistic bunch of guys transform to rebels to stem the rot in Politics and in the Society. It also highlighted another important issue, i.e., of bringing out the nexus between politicians and middle men in defense deals which has cost India 206 MIG planes and the lives of 76 young pilots. The movie's soundtrack by A.R. Rehman is awesome and the 'Loose Control' theme was a big hit among the crowd. Well, not one to be left behind, we chipped into the theme in our own way and went to 'The Dhaba' and talked of the ills plaguing the society. The party ended with each one of us getting sloshed after all those beers. It was in the truest sense - 'Loose Control'.

13 February, 2006

Finally .. !

.. i have a blog of my own. And what's it going to be all about ? Well, mainly my ideas on how technology is influencing our lives. Also some tips and tricks for Linux. And of course, things might be somewhat opinionated. But then isn't it all about the power to express yourself?