Jun 042010

Events after events are going by in the world of sports. We had that controversy filled IPL, then the T20 world cup. The Roland Garros is on at the moment. And up next is the much awaited FIFA 2010. The enthusiasm around the world is highest during the soccer world cup. Every one is getting busy preparing for the event at this moment. But long before the even will start, the books are open around the world and bets are being accepted. Few people play by heart and bid on their hot favourite, and others play by mind to maximise the chances of winning.

I would be glad to bet on someone for the first time in my life. But I am in India, where gambling is illegal, except on horse racing, at few casinos and the online lotteries run by few states. The only bet I am allowed to take is by travelling in a suburban train compartment, and I have managed to come out alive till now.

Anyway, why is it not legallised in India? I do not understand the logic behind it, if the government is unable to curb all the illegal betting that goes on during the sporting events. I was recently told that the bets are accepted even on the propability of the rains in India, illegally. Stock market, which many consider as a gamble is legal in India. But betting on sporting events isn’t.

India has an estimated $60 billion turnover per year through betting channels. This proves how inefficient our governance is in curbing it. So why not legalise it. First of all the government would surely do well with additional revenue that will be generated through legal betting. Secondly the bookies will be under government scanner, reducing the chances of matches being fixed. Black money will have restricted access into circulation. Of course, illegal betting will still flourish as the bookies have lots of tricks(and powerful men) under their sleeves, but the common man will prefer legal channels, reducing the load on them. Lots of new jobs will be created for the man at the betting hubs and kiosks( and I do not intend sarcasm in that statement).

So if the government of India legalises betting, they manage to reduce the fiscal deficit, they curb illegal practices in sporting events, they create employment, they put some bottle neck to the flow of blackmoney.

And Nilesh Gonsalves here gets to bet on one of his favourite FIFA worldcup teams.

May 062010

Just today, me and my friend reaped one of the many benefits of having some knowledge of the internet, and bit of confidence in various schemes available on it. You might have heard of a website providing revenue generation schemes such as mginger. The modus operandi of this site is, once you register your mobile number on to it, you keep on receiving messages informing you about various schemes by different providers, and for every message you receive, you get paid.

Now the amount of money you receive for each sms is, well, peanuts. If you refer your friends, you will receive some small amount for every message your friend receive. Just to test the authenticity of the scheme, me and my friend had registered on that site last year, around this time. For a month or so we tracked the progress of our account, and finally deduced that it would take 7 lives to make the 300 rs., which are required for the payout. So we completely neglected it later on. The messages kept on coming, but we didn’t de-register since it was not harming us, and we could delete them even without reading.

Just few days back the subject of this registration crept up in our conversation, and again we logged in to check. The amount collected was 30 rs. well below the payout limit. But while navigating the site, we found and interesting tabs providing discount coupons. The catch was that for every coupon downloaded, 1 rupee was deducted from our balance on mginger, which was ok with us. On browsing the list of coupons, we struck gold. One coupon was for the online auction site tradus and on a purchace of 625 rs. and above on this site, it gave out a discount of 305 rupees.

I am a fan of tradus and hence know the various useful products available for auction or sell. We immediately downloaded one coupon each from our accounts. Then I browsed through tradus and bought an 8gb sandisk pen drive costing about 800 rs+delivery charges, and paid only rs 574. My friend bought a 3 user license of kaspersky internet security 2010, for 649 and paid only 330 something.

So in the end it seems that we did manage to get some benefit out of this internet venture. And that too without any investment. Internet does provides with some good deals if  you have patience to search. I am hoping to get few more useful coupons from mginger.

Upon googling for such more schemes today, I came across a site called mgarlic. A colleague joked that he would like to come up with a site called mAjinomoto.com.

I laughed….and registered on that site too. Who knows what I might get next year?

May 042010

Loot Loot Loot!!! The mobile sharks are out for a loot. The current addition in their charging frenzy is levying a charge on the calls to their customer care executives. I was shocked when, while trying to communicate with the customer care executive of airtel, I was informed by the pre-recorded voice, that chatting to a cusomer care executive will be charged at the rate of 50 paisa for 3 minutes from 11th may 2010. Though the charge is not big, how does airtel justify this charge, when they levy a very highmonthly rentel to postpaid customers and huge service charge while refilling a prepaid connection? Aren’t such services suppossed to be included in this charges?

Going by the number of calls I had to make to the customer care executive today, just to rectify one small situation with my GPRS connection, I can safely guess that airtel will be making lots of money just by the calls generated to their customer service. This will surely lead to unethical business practices for better profits, since very few people will understand this situation and even fewer will protest. And I don’t think the government will have any say on this matter.

Oh!! Will will the number portability come to India!! 🙁

Apr 222010

Few of us might have knowledge of the keynesian economics. What I understand of it in layman terms, is that it a dig and fill policy, where in the government pays someone to dig a hole and pays someone else to fill the hole. Nothing productive comes out f it, but John Maynard Keynes theorises that this can help to stimulate a stalled economy. I am not an economist, so wouldn’t venture to analyse this. But the way our infrastructure projects work in India, it seems that the keynesian economics is embeded deeply in to our economic policies.

If you are anywhere  in India, just look around you. Observe any of the government infrastructure project which is underway. It will be noted that, all of these projects have generated large amount of employment. Much more than that required for the project.

Point in case 1 : Very recently, a railway platform at Dadar(a suburban railway station in Mumbai) was extended to accomodate the longer trains. It was inaugurated a few months back by a union minister. Just today I saw the platform being dug up at one end to accomodate something under it. We have very good brains working on all the projects in India, but by not preplanning this underground accomodation, our government succeeds in generating more employment to the poor labourers( and more dough to the contractors, I am sure).

Point in Case 2 : A few months back, one fine morning, I saw that huge holes were dug up on a road that I frequent. I later learnt that they were for the upcoming skywalk project in that area. The road stayed dug for couple of months. Then on another fine morning I saw that they were filled up overnight. I later learnt that the project had been scrapped along with many other in the entire city. Here again employment was generated twice( and the promised moolah to the contractors). Its a different thing that the road has not yet been repaired after filling.

Point in case 3 : These same skywalks. They have crawled all over the city. Lots of public money has been utilised to create this ugly crawling metal structures, glorified with a futuristic name. But the utilisation is at the very least. People find it inconvienent to walk for long distances. First thing that comes to their mind is about climbing such a height, without any elevator facility. No consideration has been given to the disables while constructing the skywalks(anyway, no consideration is ever give to the disabled in India). And these skywalks being built right in the middle of the road at some places, have resulted in more congestion. So I guess, the government has some future plans of creating employment for dismantling this bridges.

Though these are typical examples, this kind of policy is adapted in almost all the government projects. Prove me wrong!!

Its very heartening to see the economy reviving so fast, and the dig and fill policy playing a good part in it. I would advise stock investors to invest in infrastructure companies. They are sure to give you good returns.

Feb 132010

I remember an incident that my father-in-law narrated some time back. And I feel this is the right moment to reproduce it.

A door to door salesman had come to my in-laws house, and was trying to sell a clothes washing powder. He was really persistant about the high quality of the product even though my father-in-law was not interested in it. My father-in-law used to work in big Indian company, manufacturing popular brands, and he had some idea about the products. But the salesman kept on claiming that the product the best in the industry, and could remove any kind of stains. He even claimed that he would demonstrate the abilities of the product. Finally my father-in-law, agreeing that he could conduct the test, gave him a shirt with a fresh stain of pickle.

This poor fellow, soaked the shirt in that powder for almost half an hour, and no matter how much he tried to scrub the stain, it wouldn’t budge. The salesman was sweating at his loss, when my father-in-law gave him a cup of tea, and said goodbyes.

An article in todays leading newspaper brightened up my day and prompted me to post this. Everyone is aware how misleading advertisements are being feed in to our lives through media. people having some knowledge are hard to be mislead, but many of them get duped by such ads. This conning act has been transfered from door-to-door salespersons to multinational giants. And think about the effects on our health if such ads are for food products. Its not just us grown ups, even kids are influenced by such ads. Its a welcome case for us consumers, as the administration is taking some interest in such matters. This should really serve as a deterrent not only to companies manufacturing food products, but also to all the consumer products manufacturers. Those who make tall claims, should have a support for such claims.

And, somebody please tell the producers of this advertisement to stop it from being aired. Its a “Dimaag Koo Shot”(shot in the brains)!!

Nov 222009

Disclaimer: This is a general guideline for earning in a stock market for long-term. Intraday is a risk which I rarely take. And the opinion in the post is my personal opinion, and not a hard and fast rule for achievement in market.

I started investing in the stock market a few years back. And with the results, I am quite happy.

People say that no one has ever earned anything in the stock market. I beg to differ. Fools have surely not managed it, but wise guys have. I do not wish to implicate that I am wise in this matter, but there are people, like Warren Buffet, Rakesh Jhunjunwalla, who have always shown wisdom.

My idea about it is, if the value of the stock is increasing, then surely someone is making profit out of it, else the prices would keep on going down. So why not that person be you or me?

A little wise decisions, and we all could make decent money in stock.

Some rules :

1. Carry out day trading for around 3 months, and find out the average at the end. You will find that you have lost overall. Or gained some amount which was not worth the risks taken. So  my advice is, do not go in for day trading. Believe me, only your broker is earning, not you!!

2. Again the caution, do not go for day trading.

3. But if you still insist here are the some guidelines :

a. Never, never ever, do short selling(selling if you do not have holding). You ‘might’ earn something but in majority of the times you end up losing a huge amount. The risk in short selling is that you have to finish your trade by buying at day end, else you may have to pay up huge penalties. So be ready with the amount which you want to book losses for. Short selling can be done if you have holding in a script and its making some good profit. That way you can sell at a price, and book profit if the price goes down, or you can always be in profit if you let go of the holding.

b. If you do normal buy for as sell later, you can always hold it if the value goes down. But be sure you want to hold that script.

c. Do not believe in tips by brokers. These tips are meant to increase the turnover at their terminals. Trust in your instincts.

4. So you decided not to go in intraday trading. First rule, read. Stay informed about happenings in the market and overall business conditions. It will give an indication of which company is healthy and in position to give good returns. In long-term point of view, it’s always good to invest in a company with good expansion/diversification plans.

5. Do not panic. If your script goes down, always say to yourself, ‘never mind, its long-term investment and it will come up’. In a down market, you can always pick up more stock of the same script to average out your investments. After all you have done some study on the company. Never sell a long-term investment for loss, if you really do not need the cash immediately.

6. Fix your target price. And get out of the stock when the target is achieved. Do not become greedy if the target is achieved. A sudden downfall, can make you wait for some more years to get to that level.

7. Never buy entire quantity of stock all at one time. I always buy half the quantity and stay satisfied. If the price comes down, I can buy more and average out.

8. Many of the stocks double their value in quite a short period. In such cases, take out the investments that you have made. You will be left with the quantity which has only the brokerage as the invested amount. Nearly free.

9. A company with good physical assets and long-term business, is much more lucrative than a fly by night operator whose profits have shot up in a very short span of time after entering market.

10. Look out for the promoters stake. Ideally for any promoter, to run his business, the stakes should be around 30 to 70 %. The promoter is thus confident of getting good returns himself if the business is good and its benefits are passed out to shareholders.

11. Never take loans to invest in stock. You will be looking for a return amount, somewhere more than your investment plus the loan interest. This situation might not materialise. Try to invest only the spare cash in hand as much as possible.

12. Don’t go by the promises made by a company. Look into the dedication of the company towards achiving those promises.

13. Spare a minimum amount to play an uncalculated game. Hold a large quantity of few penny stocks, as they come cheap, but might give good returns. Such case has happened in India when people had a holding of a particular script(the name I do not reveal, as I do not intend to advertise a particular script) for few years at its face value but it gave them returns by thousand times, yes thousand times!!

14. Diversify. Go into many a fields during investment. Stocks follow a cyclic trend wherein a certain industrial sector goes up at one time while some other industrial sector goes down. Thus your investments will be balanced against the possible dowfall of a particular sector.

There are lot more. But in the end if you start taking all of them in to consideration, you may not be able to markout good stocks for investments, as many guidlines will contradict each other. So use your brains, not mine, not the experts’.

And be always satisfied with your returns.

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