Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympics – The Chinese Way

Olympics Games 2008 had the perfect host in Beijing. The opening ceremony was just spectacular and the fireworks were done with Hollywood precision. I haven’t seen anything like this in my life or even in my dreams. It was just a treat for the eyes to watch those entire fireworks one after the other in perfect harmony.

Best Ever would be my comment on opening ceremony of Olympics Games 2008.

If anyone of you have missed the opening ceremony, you can watch it here.



As expected Chinese are sweeping the golds in most of the categories and have already taken the top position in the medal table. But underneath all those grand, splendid performances and gold medals, there are stories that need to be told. Stories that are sometimes not-so-pleasant and doesn’t get covered in the front pages of most of the press.

Last week, as most of the news channels were busy with their own bits about what’s happening inside China, I happen to see an interesting or rather a heartbreaking video in CNN-IBN.

Their story was about how China is getting all those gold medals or in other words at what cost are they manage to be in top spot. Remember this is a country where human-rights come right at the bottom of the priority list for the ruling communists.

The video was about training young athletes or Olympic prospects right from their childhood. Yes, childhood. I searched for the video in YouTube, but couldn’t find it.

The video shows how children as young as 3 or 4 years old are trained for international sporting events. Once selected for any international events, the state adopts the child and taken away to the training facilities, usually situated far away from his or her home town. Each adopted child’s family is provided some money by the Govt. as grant, I believe.

These children are not into sports because they love the games, but because they don’t have any other choice. They are sent to the training camps by their own parents, for whom the Govt. money is all what they looking for.

Any money will make a difference to the lives of the poor rural people who are completely left out of the economic boom that we see in Beijing or Shanghai. Moreover, the economic benefit of sending their children acts as an impetus for other parents to do the same thing.

In the video, young girls were going through brutal and awful training which need to be condemned. In one case, girls are asked to walk for 30 minutes on their bare hands. Yes, you heard it right. Even more, another girl child who was asked to do 60 sit-ups was crying out of pain during the so-called training.

This is not the case of one child, but the lives of thousands of other children who are going through the same misery for the sake of ruling elite’s arrogance.

I was very disturbed after watching the 4 year old crying. She is definitely not having fun doing all those training that her master wants her to do. For a child, to go through such an ordeal in that young age is really shocking. She lost her childhood even before she became a child!

There may be hundreds and thousands of children like her, who may have lost their childhood for Nation’s pride. For the political class, each one of those children shines like a medal prospect. So definitely more the better.

If you ask people about the best phase in their life, most of them will have one answer, childhood and it’s absolutely true.

It’s the time when you have lots of power and influence, but don’t have any responsibility.
It’s the time you are loved, looked after and gets all what you need.
It’s the time when you get all those new candies those are flocking your local stores.

She has lost all those moments and the saddest part is she will never know it, not in this life. Sad.

It just reminds me the value of certain things that we take granted for in our country.

May be we don’t have the perfect democracy in the world. (Well I believe, there is nothing called perfect in this universe)
May be we have a messy political system, where MPs are on sale like potato chips.
May be we have a corrupt bureaucracy, who consider taking bribes as their birth right.

May be we have bad roads, power failures and instant floods in the major cities.

But there is one thing that is going on right for the last 61 years, and that is Freedom.
Freedom to choose your own destiny and freedom to live the way you want.

During the last 61 years of our independence, there was only a small period when we were denied that freedom. Apart from that small aberration by Mrs. Gandhi during the late 70s, this country has never denied her citizens their basic rights. Let’s thank all those who have played a role in preserving this freedom.

The image of that girl crying while undergoing the brutal training leaves a lasting impression in our minds. An impression which we would love to forget.

Olympics will be over in couple of weeks from now. I sincerely hope that let Chinese top this year’s Olympic medal table. Not because they represent one fifth of humanity, but because each of their gold, silver and bronze medals stands for thousands of lost childhood like that of the crying girl. And I don’t want her lost childhood go waste.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Markets Moving Up - 04 July Update

Markets have up sharply on the back of buying by domestic mutual fund houses and FIIs on friday.

The Sensex has touched an intraday high of 13,509.74 before ending the day at 13,454, up 359.89 points or 2.75%.

The Nifty, which hit a high of 4033.50 during the day, but only to close at 4016, up 90.25 points or 2.3%.

Some sectors like realty, capital goods, power, banking and FMCG were the favourites for the investors. Especially, Realty and Capital Goods Indices shot up 8% and 6.8%, respectively.

But there was bad news for the consumers. Inflation for the week ended June 21 has inched up to 11.63% as against 11.42% in earlier week.

The looming political crises at the centre or the inflation numbers or the global energy prices did had no effect on the markets.

The rally in the stock market was more to do with the prices of some of the blue chips sectors especially like realty, power and so forth.

Sector of the day was Realty. Real estate stocks like Ansal Properties, HDIL, Peninsula Land, Mahindra Life, DLF, Unitech and Indiabulls Real gained 7 to 14% on friday.

Power stocks also got the fancy of the investors, with index shot 132.61 points or 6.1% to close at 2,306.24.

Power stocks like Tata Power, Lanco Infratech, Suzlon Energy, Reliance Infra, GMR Infra, GVK Power and Reliance Power were up 4 to 9%.

Other stars of the day were, Reliance Comm up 12.50%, Siemens 11.17%, Jaiprakash Associates 10.65%, Tata Power 9.78%, Unitech 8.01%, DLF 8.56%, BHEL 7.43% and Reliance Infra 7.21%

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

FED Cuts Interest Rate

The US Federal Reserve last night ordered its second, aggressive three-quarter-point cut in American interest rates this year as a move to face recession and shore up America’s fragile financial system.

The US central bank, led by its Chairman, Ben Bernanke, cut the key rate to just 2.25 per cent, the lowest since February 2005.

This is FED's latest action to limit the growing toll from America’s housing slump and the global credit squeeze.

However, how effective this new measure going to be is a matter for debate.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Stock Market Update - March I

It's been a while I wrote something. It is not because I am giving up this blog, but because I was too much busy with respect to my work for the last couple of weeks.

Markets have came a long way since my last post. Of course the movement was towards the south. On Friday, Sensex touched another low and closed at 15975.52, a down of 566.66 points from the previous day.

Nifty closed at 4771.60, a down of 149.80 points.

This is lowest in the last six months. Can it go down further from here? Is this the time to put in your money? These are the few questions I have been asked this weekend.

I would say hold on for few weeks more. FED is coming up with an expected interest cut in the coming week. So we can hear from Ben Bernanke, the current FED Chairman, himself about where the US economy is heading.

Having said that, there are rumours that domestic mutual fund houses are ready to go in with billions of dollars, since they feel that market is at a discount right now.

So hopefully, next week will give us a direction.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Microsoft weds Yahoo! ?

The internet war is just getting hotter.

Microsoft has announced an unsolicited offer of $44.6 billion for Yahoo! Inc to challenge the authority of Google in the business.

If this deal goes through, this will be the biggest ever technology takeover in corporate world.

If combined together, Microsoft-Yahoo! will have market share of 31% of the web queries of the US market in December.

This will make serious problems for Google. It’s dominance in the internet search could be under threat.

Will this deal make any difference to an average user? Difficult to answer at this stage.

It will be hard for even the combined entity to compete with Google, because they are well ahead of others in Internet business.

Anyways, the whole story will be exciting to watch in the coming days.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Wait and Watch

Stock markets are know for volatility. But not something like what we have witnessed last week. In this kind of situation, it is always better to wait and watch.

Don't press the panic button yet. Hold on to the stocks, because this is the long awaited correction period that is being due for the last 2 months.

In fact this is a good time to buy some of the stocks. Some small and midcap stocks are available on discount at the moment. Some are extremely attractive.

This volatility could last for at least couple of weeks more.

Tuesday will be a big day for the market. RBI's quarterly review of credit policy is to be announced on Tuesday. There are rumours of a reduction in the benchmark interest rates (repo rate) by 25 basis points. But lots of other factors will also influence RBI decision.

However a rate cut will clear a lot of uncertainty prevailing in the market. So wait for Tuesday's RBI decision.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Indian Power Sector IPOs – 2008 and beyond

Year 2008 will be most likely a year of the power sector IPOs in India. The 11th plan period (2007-2012) has set an ambitious target of achieving 78,577 MW by the government of India.

The capacity addition target has been set with a perspective of adding 100,000 MW by 2012, which will take India's total installed capacity to 200,000 MW.

Unlike the last plan period, Indian private sector is going to play a major role in the 11th plan to meet the ambitious target set by the government. No wonder almost all power companies are contemplating the idea of initial public offerings to raise money for this capital intensive sector.

With economy tipping near the 10 percent growth rate and BSE SENSEX on record high, the timing is not bad at all.

If one take a quick look at the power sector companies that have already announced or planning with IPOs for 2008, he will be speechless.

From Reliance Power to Sterlite Energy to JSW Energy to JP Associates, the list is long and all these companies are going ahead with their plans for IPOs this year. The total capital these companies are planning to raise from the market is whopping Rs 30,000 crore (US$ 7.69 billion).

If all these plans fructify, this year's power IPO collections alone will match last year's total IPO mobilisations of Rs 34,000 crore (US$ 8.71 billion).

With economy growing at full throttle and power in short supply, this sector will be the next big thing to watch for in the coming years.

Surely I will bet some 20% to 25% of my investments in this sector in the medium to long term.

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