Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fears of fresh stock market falls

It is feared that Asian and European shares could fall further on Monday after New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 208 points on Friday.

The Dow had its biggest weekly fall since March 2003 after banks involved in big buyouts failed to find buyers for $20bn (£9.8bn) worth of debt.

That made investors wonder whether the current acquisition-fuelled rally could be coming to an end.

There have also been more indications of problems in the US housing market.

Last Tuesday, the biggest US mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, reported a fall in quarterly results.

On Monday, HSBC will report its results, which are also expected to have been hit by the rising level of defaults in the sub-prime mortgage market.

BBC business editor Robert Peston
The stock market as a whole may be set for some dismal days
Robert Peston
BBC Business Editor

Sub-prime mortgages are loans to house buyers with inferior credit records.

Along with the problems in the US housing market, the main problem is that many investors are worried about an impending credit crunch.

In past years, financial markets, companies and consumers have all benefited from low interest rates and easy access to money, helping fuel a boom in spending, house price inflation and corporate takeovers.

Now, interest rates are rising and set to stay higher as central banks try to rein in inflation.

A large part of the rise in share prices in the past year has been driven by the takeover boom, with private equity bidders pushing up the value of the firms they are targeting.

Interest rates

Most of these deals are paid for with borrowed money and the banks who have loaned this cash have been laying off a large proportion of the loans by selling them to other investors.

However, because investors are bruised by their losses in the US sub-prime mortgage market, they are now less keen on buying the loans from the banks, taking away the credit needed for takeovers and prompting share prices to fall.

According to the Sunday Times, bankers in America have taken on $200bn (£98.5bn) that they have not yet passed onto other investors, while in Europe the figure is about £40bn.

People worried about a credit crunch and the end of cheap money for acquisitions will at least be encouraged that the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are both expected to keep interest rates unchanged at their monthly meetings on Thursday.

Hiding Income? Beware!

The Income Tax department has received clearance from the government to map the profile of individual tax payers to plug revenue leakage and stamp out money laundering.

"The Union Finance Minister has given a go-ahead for integrated 360-degree mapping of individual tax payers by utilising data collected from various sources like annual information returns (AIRs) from banks, credit cards, mutual funds, stock market and property registrars," a senior Finance Ministry official said.

This may mean surveillance of phones; verification of spending on credit cards, mutual funds, stock market and property registrars and collating information about excise, customs, service and income tax paid by corporates in order to ensure better tax assessment.

The CBDT has, however, played down the move saying it is not a "total profiling" and that the income tax department will profile individual tax payers in case of suspicion of huge tax evasion. "IT profiling is a 'standard device' adopted as an anti-tax evasion measure," CBDT chairman BM Singh said.

When contacted, Singh said tax officials would scrutinise information gathered from AIRs and take action wherever they come across default, but denied any move to physically shadow individual tax payers or surveillance.

Explaining the 360-degree profiling method, Director General Income Tax (Investigation) Delhi, SS Khan said the exercise involved putting together information from various sources like AIRs in one place for scrutiny.

On Tuesday, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said that in the meeting of chief income tax commissioners, decision has been taken for integrated tax mapping. He, however, declined to give details about the project.

Besides a successful pilot project on integrated tax profiling in Delhi, the I-T department also plans to prepare a huge data bank that would have all sorts of information on potential tax evading individuals and corporate houses.

The government has so far gathered information about Rs 16,00,000 crore investment by tax payers through AIRs last year. Under the tax mapping, the department plans to explore cases involving large scale tax evasion.

The government has already set up 15 CIBs offices across the country and a move is on to expand it to cover all state capitals.

At the national conference of chief income tax commissioners, which concluded on Wednesday, the officials recommended a '360-degree profiling' of potential tax and revenue offenders, the sources said.

The government has equipped the I-T Department with state-of-the-art phone surveillance system that can track calls of a target even if he uses a phone that cannot even remotely be traced to him.

In the large tax units (LTUs), the Finance Ministry is already collating information about excise, customs, service and income tax paid by corporates for better tax assessment.

Once the information is collected against the PAN number, the comprehensive dossier is then sent to the assessing officer to match it with I-T returns that the person has filed.

The accounts of those who have not declared total expenditure in their returns, will automatically get notices for scrutiny, the sources said.

Investors, brokers drive in different lanes on Dalal Street

Stock market brokers advice and execute trades for their investor clients, but they seem to be following different yardsticks when trading for themselves if the pattern of buying and selling shares is any indication.

When a brokerage firm trades in stocks with its own money for making a profit for itself, it is done through proprietary accounts, while trading with investors' money for the customers' profit or loss is recorded in the client account.

While the stock market has recorded a net outflow from the client accounts during all the months this year except for January, proprietary accounts have been net buyers during five months so far, according to an analysis of turnover figures at Bombay Stock Exchange.

Since the beginning of this year when the BSE Sensex has moved higher by close to 1,400 points, client accounts have recorded a net sales of shares worth about Rs 8,300 crore. In comparison, proprietary accounts have seen a net purchase of Rs 665 crore on the BSE.

Market observers believe the latest trend indicates toward investors seeking out early profit booking from the booming market, while brokers seem to be partly holding into the market in anticipation for bigger gains.

Since January 2006, there have been just five months out of a total of 19 months when both client and proprietary accounts have witnessed similar pattern.

In 2006, when Sensex gained more than 4,000 points, client accounts were net sellers for nine months, as against just one month of net sales from proprietary accounts.

Interestingly, when the Sensex tanked 542 points on Friday to record its biggest fall since April 2, client accounts recorded a net purchase of shares worth Rs 259 crore, even as the brokers were seen cashing out in their proprietary accounts with a net sale of shares worth about Rs 100 crore.

Earlier in May last year, when the market saw one of its biggest plunge in the recent past with a fall of close to 1,600 points in the Sensex, client accounts were again net buyers for shares worth about Rs 280 crore, while proprietary accounts sold shares worth a net of Rs 344 crore.

So far in July, client accounts have sold shares worth a net Rs 2,676 crore -- the biggest ever for a single month since January 2006. Proprietary accounts, on the other hand, have been net buyers of shares worth about Rs 88 crore, which is broadly in-line with their monthly average.

In total, shares worth about Rs 3,85,855 crore have been purchased by brokers on behalf of their clients, while they have bought shares worth about Rs 1,27,729 crore from their own capital in 2007 so far. Besides, shares worth about Rs 1,26,352 crore have been sold through proprietary accounts, as against sale of shares worth Rs 3,94,160 crore for clients.

Earlier in 2006, the BSE saw a net purchase of shares worth about Rs 1,240 crore in proprietary accounts, as against a net sale of about Rs 9,840 crore in the client accounts.

Good Time to Buy

On Friday, it rained blood on Dalal Street. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), which are the major drivers of the Indian market, sold equities worth a net Rs 1,475 crore, according to the provisional data available on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) website. However, there was no need to press the panic button, said analysts.

"We are positive on the market as long as the Nifty holds above the crucial level of 4,250, breaching which, the weakness may prolong."

"The market was overdue for a correction and global cues have triggered it. It is actually a good opportunity for investors to enter," said Manish Sonthalia, vice-president (equity strategy), Motilal Oswal Securities.

The wider 50-share Nifty of the NSE shed 3.78 per cent, or 174.6 points, to close the day at 4445.20, while the benchmark Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange plummeted by 616.63 points intra-day to mark the third biggest intra-day fall in absolute terms.

"If the Sensex holds above 15,150, it will be a safe market to stay invested in. At large, the buyer must stay invested in the market despite the correction. Going forward, investors could generate good returns over the next 3-6 months. This is a buyers' market," said Pankaj Pandey, chief manager, ICICI Direct.

The fall was in line with a weakness across global markets.

Equities across the world fell as weak US housing data (a reflection of economic slowdown) and a widening gap between credit default swaps and bond yields (indicating a lower risk appetite and credit worthiness) in the country saw investors turning to less risky asset classes.

While the US housing market deteriorated further in June as new home sales fell 6.6 per cent, reports said speculative investors were being forced to sell riskier assets as banks tightened lending standards in the face of deteriorating credit markets.

"The sub-prime mortgage and associated credit risks in the US have triggered a correction in global markets. This is not just a country-specific phenomenon. It is better to wait and watch as this is the last trading session of the week," said Prakash Kacholia, managing director of Emkay Shares.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A.P.J Abdul Kalam: Too bad we did not retain him

All during his five-year tenure, the 75-year-old A P J Abdul Kalam's
preferred menu at the table was idli, dosa and sambar besides curd-rice,
pickle and pappad, recalls a senior aide.

A habitual late-eater at night, the missile-man had made it clear to the
comptroller of household in Rashtrapati Bhavan to prepare all his meals
only from the general kitchen, which caters to other staff members in the
Presidential estate.

Stopping the practice of a number of attendants in waiting till the
President finished his dinner and retired for the night, Kalam insisted on
holding back only one person to warm up his meals, which he used to take
well-past midnight.

There have been occasions when Kalam required some help from other aides
during the night. Leaving aside protocol, Kalam, who has earned a
reputation of being a people's President, picked up the phone and directly
seek the information he required.

"He was a no requirement man," recalls his Press Secretary S M Khan.

During the entire tenure, the family kitchen specially meant for the
President was never operational. Not even when his 50-odd relatives had
come to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Kalam insisted that he make the payments for the expenditure incurred
during the stay of the relatives. The President, who skips lunch, had also
a love for fruits of any type. "Anything that was seasonal would satisfy
him. We had created a verandah garden for him in which citrus japonica
(China orange) grew.

"Though tasting very bitter, the President used to have them because of
its rich Vitamin-C content," OSD Brahma Singh said.

Defying the age-old principle of early to bed..., Kalam used to sleep
around 1-1:30 am and used to get up at around 6:30 am. He was the only
President, whose daily list of engagement was about 10.

Recounts his secretary P M Nair about his experience four years back. "It
was the morning of July 14, 2003. 8:40 am. The rax in my office rang. It
was the President at the other end."

In his usually cool and composed voice, Kalam told him "Mr Nair, last
night I could not sleep because my bedroom was leaking.

"I froze. Any other President, and my head would have rolled, though no
fault of mine," Nair said in his 'thank you' note to officials of
Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Sensing his embarrassment, the rocket-scientist spoke in a comforting
tone. "Don't worry, I know you will immediately set things right in my
bedroom but I am worried about those houses in the President's estate
where they may not have a second bedroom to shift to when the only one
that is available leaks."

Nair responded saying, "Sorry sir, I shall act just now."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows leaked to BitTorrent

The final book in the Harry Potter series has been leaked to BitTorrent. A torrent with photographs of each page of the American edition of “Deathly Hallows” has shown up on multiple BitTorrent sites.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

We first got wind of this when two torrents of the book appeared on They became immensely popular with over a 1000 leechers and seeders each. But after some time were removed by either the uploader, or more likely, the moderators, in a move to avoid the attention of bloodthirsty publishers.

Not surprisingly, both those torrents spread over to mininova and several other sites and are still going strong (update: mininova removed the torrents). One of the torrents only has the first 495 pages of the book, whereas the second is the complete book.

Over the past couple of weeks, numerous torrents have surfaced online claiming to be the 7th and last Harry Potter book. They are all fakes. Fan fiction. This one, on the other hand, is the real thing. Someone has managed to get their hands on the American edition of the book and has photographed each page of the book and uploaded it to BitTorrent.

The main complaint that’s coming up in comment threads on these sites is that the quality isn’t great. You can just barely manage to read each page. And as some downloaders promptly noted, a few pages cannot be read at all without editing the images in Photoshop.

Die-hard fans of the series will undoubtedly rush to grab a copy of the torrent for themselves. But anybody else would really have to see whether reading the book a week before the rest of the world is worth risking their eyesight and brains, squinting to make out what happens when Harry confronts He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for the last time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Investment strategies

2- Bottom up investing
The opposite extreme bottomup investing takes a micro approach,
starting with investment fundamentals of individual stocks before
moving upward to include an analysis of the industry environment,
overall economic factors,and other factors that could impact the
prospect of the company.
This approach focus on individual stock selection. Looking for stocks
that are undervalued and expected to perform best in the future.
While industry, sector, and economic factors takes on less importance
that company's fundamental. such as earning growth, product, and demand
of that product in the market.

Top down investing.

There are two basic overall strategies for approaching the investment
decision-making process: the top down approach and bottom up approach.
Each one takes a considerably different path to making the investment

Top down investing first concentrates on analyzing the big picture
before moving downward towards choosing the individual security in which
to invest. Taking the macro approach begins with in investigation and
analysis of economic environment. (depending on the expertise of the
investor, available investment resources, and the overall investment
goal, economic analysis could be limited to the domestic economy or
expanded to include global focus.)

The investor also works to gain a perspective of projected interest
rates, anticipated economic growth rates, changing tax and monetary
policies. the competitive environment, political factors, and the
direction of stock market.

Next, the investor turns to an analysis of which industries and or
market segment stand to benefit or suffer most from the most likely
economic and political conditions. For example, in the wake of warming
relation between the east and west, future prospectus and earning of
many defense companies quickly eroded. A correct prognosis of the
emerging situation could have positioned an investor to short stocks of
specific companies heavily dependent on defense business and most likely
to be negatively impacted by slashed defense budgets.

Moving from the industry analysis, the investors reviews the prospects
of individual firm in order to make the best investment choice.

Stock market terms

Bull—a stock market operator who believes that share prices are
going to the bull, giving an upward thrust. The bull's action causes
buying pressure in the market place and pushes up the share prices.

Bull cycle—an extended period during which share price is generally
rising and the stock market indices show an upward move.

Bullion—gold, silver, or any other precious metal in bulk. Not in
the form of coins.

Bull market—continue rise in the price of stocks, sustained by
buying pressure of investors or bulls. News of favorable economic
growth, political development budgetary concession etc.can cause a
bulls market.

Bull position—buying without making a correspondence sale, hoping to
sell the shares at higher prices when market is to rise. Also known
as long position.

Bull Run—continuous uptrend of bull market.

Breakout—when shares move between support level and resistance level
for a time period and then shares moves any side either upward or
downward this is called breakout. Breakout means to break certain

Broker---A member of the stock exchange who is licensed to buy or
sell shares on his own behalf or on the behalf of his clients. He
charges commission in fix % on the gross value of deal. Brokers also
provide various financial services like dealing in bonds, commodity,
manages portfolio etc.

Bubble--- when a stock price is pushed to an abnormally high level,
not supported by any strong reason and fundamental, it is said to
have developed a bubble .

Bull—a stock market operator who believes that share prices are
going to the bull, giving an upward thrust. The bull's action causes
buying pressure in the market place and pushes up the share prices.

Bear spread—Option making strategy in which one buys a combination
of calls and puts of the same security at different strike prices to
make profit from fall of price of security .alternatively one buys a
put option of short maturity and another of long maturity to profit
from the difference between two put options as price falls.

Bear Trap----an movement of share price downwards, encouraging
investors to sell short. When market gets correct itself and prices
goes up investors get in bear trap.

Beating The Market getting a higher return on investment is higher
than the market averege possible but difficult

Bid Price—It is price which at which one is ready to buy share.

BIFR—Board for industrial and financial reconstruction.

Blue chip stock—shares of well knownand established companies which
have shown consistent growth over past many years and is expected
to repeat the same in future and have better prospectus.

How to read balance sheet

Anything on a company's books considered as having a posiaaative
monetary value. Assets include all things like holdings of obvious
market value (cash, real estate), (inventory,
aging equipment), and other quantities (pre-paid expenses,goodwill)
considered an asset by accounting conventions but possibly having no
market value at all.

Book value
Per-share value of shareholders' equity excluding goodwill and
other intangible assets.

Cash flow
Cash flow is essentially the movement of money into and out of your
business; it's the cycle of cash inflows and cash outflows that
determine your business' solvency.

Cash flow analysis is the study of the cycle of your business' cash
inflows and outflows, with the purpose of maintaining an adequate
cash flow for your business, and to provide the basis for cash flow

Compound Annual Growth Rate - CAGR
The year-over-year growth rate of an investment over a specified
period of time.

The compound annual growth rate is calculated by taking the nth root
of the total

percentage growth rate, where n is the number of years in the period
being considered. This can be written as follows:

Debt-to-Equity Ratio
A company's debt divided by its equity . This ratio is used as a
relative measure of debt, but it

isn't always useful since equity is a complicated number. It's
sometimes better just to look at a

company's total debt per share, which you can either look up or
calculate since Debt per share =

eps/ roe x Debt/Equity:

Method to account for assets whose value is considered to decrease
over time.

The total amount that assets have depreciated by during a reporting
period is shown on the cash

flow statement , and also makes up part of the expenses shown on
the income statement . The

amount that assets have depreciated to by the end date of the period
is shown on the balance sheet.

Earnings Before Interest and Taxes; intended to be a measure of the
amount of cash generated
by a company's operation

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization;
intended to be a measure of the

amount of cash generated by a company's operations (but leaving out
the costs of financing and

taxes - the "I" and the "T").

The danger with EBITDA is that if the "D" and "A" represent a "using
up" of an asset that will have

to be replaced in the future, then they really are operations-
related expenses, making EBITDA too liberal a number.


Economic Value Added, a measure of the superiority of the return a
company is able to realize on

invested capital above the baseline return expected by the
investment community. The formula is

EVA = NOPAT - ( C x Kc )

where C is the amount of capital a company plans to invest in a
project, and Kc is the cost of

capital, i.e. the return rate expected by investors. Positive EVA
means the project will add value

for shareholders; negative EVA means they would be better off if
management just gave them the

money as a dividend.

EVA is analogous toearnings; but where earnings expenses debt
financing only, the C x K term


in EVA is expensing the cost of all capital, equity as well as debt.

The portion of a company's assets that the shareholders own, as
opposed to what they've

borrowed: equal to total asset minus liabilities. Also
called "owners' equity" or "shareholders' equity".

An obligation to pay. These include accounts payable, and bond and
bank debt.

Liabilities are shown on the balance sheet Note that a liability is
not necessarily an evil thing for a

company. Technically it's just an asset that they have temporary
control over but don't own. If it's

a useful asset and if the cost of "borrowing" it is cheap, then a
liability can be a positive thing.

One example: if a retailer sells a gift certificate, they have to
show a liability for the value of the

merchandise they will be obligated to hand over when the giftee
shows up to redeem it; but in the

meantime they already have the cash the gifter paid, and they can
use it any way they want -- this

liability is really an interest-free loan

Operating Expenses
Expenses associated with running a business but not considered
directly applicable to the current

line of goods and services being sold. These include Sales and
Marketing, R & D, and General

and Administrative costs (including the salaries of people working
in these areas).

Operating Income
Operating Income is the pre-tax, pre-interest profit from the
company's operation

Operating profit margin
Ratio of operating income to sales revenue

P/E Ratio
The ratio of a stock price to its company's annual earning per share

Return on Assets
Earning divided by total assets

This number tells you "what the company can do with what it's got",
ie how many dollars of profits

they can achieve for each dollar of assets they control. It's a
useful number for comparing

competing companies in the same industry. The number will vary
widely across different

industries. Capital-intensive industries (like railroads and nuclear
power plants) will yield a low

return on assets, since they have to own such expensive assets to do
business. (And if they have

to pay a lot to maintain these assets, that will cut into the ROA
even more, since the maintenance

costs will decrease their earnings). Shoestring operations (software
companies, job placement

firms) will have a high ROA: their required assets are minimal.

Return on Equity
Earning divided by equity

The idea is that this tells you the number of dollars of profits the
company can earn for each dollar

of shareholders' equity; but return on asset is probably a better
number to look at. (After all, their

profitability is a function of all assets they control, not just of
the equity portion of assets. Note that

ROE is bigger than ROA, since equity is a subset of assets).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Kerala's Govt in safe hands!!!!! (OUR PRESENT MINISTRY)

M. A. Baby - (Education!!!) degree fail

K. P. Rajendran - (Land Revenue and Legal Metrology) 10th class and Gusthi

Premachandran - (Water and Irrigation) 10th class PhD (Passed with highest Difficulty)

A. K. Balan - (Electricity and SC/ST Welfare) 10th fail

S. Sharma - (Fisheries) 10th fail

Elamaram Kareem - (Commerce and Industries) 10th fail

Paloli Kutty - (Rural Development, Town Planning etc) 5th class and drill

Kodiyeri Balu - (Home, Vigilance and Tourism!!!!) 8th class and gundayisam

Achumama - (CM) 4th class - pass or fail doesn't matter (chief minister)


1. Wake upto the world*s best breakfast
Kerala*s spread of morning dishes - appam, vellayappam, puttu, idly,
masala dosa, etc. have been rated the best breakfast in the world by
Travel & Leisure magazine. A must-try is the crisp lacy appam served
with meat/vegetable stew.

2. Walk-through paddy fields
Here*s different walking experience. Venture in to the very heart of
the paddy fields, on narrow dykes. Don*t lose yourself completely in
the dazzling green around you, as you*ll have to watch out for the
slushy water passages that run through your mud path.

3. Tip toe across a coconut trunk bridge
In the interiors of Kerala, you*ll come across plenty of small water
bodies with these extremely narrow Bridges. Watch the native folk cross
them with case, but think twice before you do. It isn't your cup of tea,
don*t worry. Further down the water*s edge you*ll find a more
friendly bridge.

4. Sip tender coconut
Refresh yourself with a sip of cool tender coconut- nature*s
rejuvenating nectar - and a scoop of its soft white flesh, Nutrition at
its natural best.

5.Take a swig of toddy
Ask your tour guide to arrange for fresh madhura kallu (sweet toddy
extracted from the coconut palm) and have it the Kerala way with exotic
karimeen pollichathu (baked fresh water fish) or spicy pickles.

6. Stay on an exotic houseboat
Embark on an enchanting journey across sun - dappled backwaters on a
kettuvallom-fully furnished traditional rice boats. While your eyes
explore the rustic life that floats by, treat your palate to backwater
delicacies prepared by your personal chef.

7. Ride a Canoe
Drift along serene waterways in a country craft, Enjoy the breeze,
answer a cuckoo*s call. Wave back at the cheerful village folk on the
banks. Invite some of their chirpy children to hop in for a ride.
They*ll keep you well entertained

8 Workout on a treadmill
In Kerala, traditional treadmills are still used to irrigate the paddy
fields. Try your luck with the local farmer and see if you can get to
pedal one.

9. See Chinese fishing nets
Watch fishermen tug at these huge nets with their rich haul. These nets
that billow from massive bamboo poles were brought here by traders from
the court of Kublai Khan, the Mongolian King. Their silhouettes against
the evening sky make for terrific pictures too.

10. Choose your pick from the Fisherman*s net
Along the Malabar Coast and at Vasco da Gama Square in Fort Kochi, you
can select your favourite from an inviting display of juicy sear fish,
sardines, prawns, red snappers etc. Ask the friendly fisherman to fry it
for you the local way.

11. Feast on kappa andmeen curry
Try Kerala*s hot red fish curry with steamed tapioca or boiled rice.
It*ll make your mouth water. And your eyes as well. But you*ll still
enjoy it.

12 Savour a Sadhya
Seat yourself on the floor, roll your sleeves up and get started on
this multi-course feast of rice, 12-15 vegetarian dishes, spicy pickles,
crunchy banana chips, crispy pappadams, plantains and payasam- the
dessert. Served on a plantain leaf, the meal is eaten with the fingers.

13 Wear a Kerala saree
Stun your friends in Kerala saree - five metres of fine off-white
cotton edged with golden sari, that lends an extraordinary elegance to
the person wearing it. Each piece is specially woven on a traditional

14. Wear jasmine in your hair
Get yourself a string of jasmine-the natural ornament for your hair.
You could even pluck them fresh from a garden and string them yourself.

15 Spice up your life
Kerala is the Spice Coast of India.Take home a chest full of exotic
spices and win compliments for your aromatic cooking. These are also
available in special gift pouches.

16. Ride on 8 tonner without wheels
At the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady, you and your friends can
majestically into the scenic jungle on an elephant. A mahout will guide
you on your enchanting journey.

17 Watch birds
Spot egrets, herons, Siberian stork, darters, teals and hundreds of
other migratory birds in Kerala*s enchanting bird sanctuaries. Hear
them sing. Take their Family photograph. Applaud their aerobatic skills.

18 Follow the tiger*s trail
Join the Thekkady tiger trail- a real adventure trek into the dense
forest with expert guides. Cook in the jungle. Sleep in tents. Wake up
to the sounds of the wilderness. Try and spot a tiger.

19 Design a floral pattern
During Onam, the harvest festival in August/September, you can see
colourful, beautiful floral decorations in the courtyards of Kerala*s
homes. Try making one with family and friends.

20. Cheer a snake boat race
Watch the backwaters of Kerala come alive. Feel the excitement bubble
in you as teams of 100 oarsmen row their snake boats, their bodies
swaying in unison to the fast rhythm of full throated singing, in one of
the most exhilarating water sports.

21. Feel the rain on your body
Kerala*s invigorating monsoon will cleanse you. Refresh you,
rejuvenates you. Let it run down your body, and wash away stress. So
don*t just listen to the pitter-patter on the roof. Step out.

22 Munch an uppumanga
You*ll simply relish a meal that is accompanied by uppumanga, tender
mangoes preserved in brine for months (the longer, the better).

23 Get an Ayurvedic massage
Gift yourself new life. Surrender to the magical fingers of specially
trained masseurs. To medicated baths that will refresh you. Herbal diets
that will replenish you. Yoga that will revitalize you. And meditation
that will recharge you.

24 Say hello to the Nilgiri Tahr
Half the world population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr live in the
Eravikulam National Park at Munnar. Friendly as they are, you can pat
them or pose for pictures with them. So meet them and have plenty to
brag about when you get back home.

25 Sip fine tea
Take a walk through the green carpeted tea hills of Kerala and strong
aromas will lead you in to the factories over a hundred years old. Here
you can taste and pick up the finest tea in the country.

26. Marvel at elephant pageants
The spectacle of 30-60 caparisoned elephants will enthrall you as they
move in a majestic procession, while trumpets and drum beats work up to
a frenzy. The best of these spectacles is seen at the Thrissur Pooram

27 Listen to temple music
Panchavadyam is an orchestra of 5 native instruments - suddha-maddalam,
kombu, edakka, elathalam and timila. This traditional temple music
accompanying elephant pageants builds up the festive spirit. And never
fails to leave its listeners entranced. Audio cassettes of panchavadyam
are available.

28 Visit the local markets
Small stalls with fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken* High pitched
salesmen luring you with impossible bargains. Visit these bustling
markets or chandas for fresh buys.

29 Go bananas
In Kerala, red, green and yellow are synonymous with various types of
plantains*. These digestives come in different shapes too - tall,
short, stout, sleek... And while you taste banana chips, raw banana
dishes, banana milk shake, banana ice cream, dried bananas, fried
bananas* you*ll wonder if there*s any other fruit more versatile.

30 Try your hand at percussion
Kerala*s rich repertoire of percussion music and instruments is world
famous. So bring alive your taste for good music and learn whatever your
holiday allows.

31 Cheer racing oxen
Entertain yourself at a Kumbala, the local ritualistic bullock race of
Kasaragod or a Kaalapoottu - the agrarian sport of Palakkad.

32 Shop for souvenirs
Kerala*s handicraft centers have an extraordinary collection of wood,
coir shell and sandalwood souvenirs, trinkets and jewellery. Wood carved
Kathakali masks, snake boats, elephants, jewellery boxes etc. are
perfect showpieces for your drawing rooms and ideal gifts for friends.

33 Stay in a tree house
Spend romantic nights in the tree houses of Palakkad washed in the
sweet scent of the forest flowers, and let the sounds of the forest fill
up your dreams.

34 Have a mud bath
Go in for mud therapy and discover its healing properties at the Kavil
Bhavan Yoga and Cultural Centre at Nileswaram, Kasaragod.

35 Bask in sunshine
Serene, secluded and spellbinding. Kerala has some of the best beaches
in the world. Ride the surf. Get a tan. Build sand castles. Or simply
sift sand through your toes. Anything you do here will unwind and relax

36 Watch a Malayalam movie
Malayalam movies have excellent story lines and some of them are
internationally acclaimed. If you visit the State during a film
festival, you*ll get to see good movies with English subtitles.

37 Bathe in healing waters
Don*t miss your chance to take a dip in the waters of the
Nelliyampathy forests in Palakkad or the mineral springs at Varkala.
These waters are known for their medicinal properties. Take a splash,
heal yourself.

38 Buy gold for all occasions
Kerala*s gold jewellery, intricately designed and delicate, will
steal any woman*s heart. Make sure you have enough money on you before
you step into a gold shop. Because whatever be your taste, you*ll find
patterns you*d wish to own.

An Aranmula mirror is made of a finely polished alloy of four metals -
copper, silver, bronze and lead. Once a closely guarded preserve of
royalty, these ornamental mirrors are exceedingly rare-only two master
crafts men and their families still make them.

40 Feel the presence of God at Maramon
Witness the largest Christian convention of Asia at Maramon, near
Kozhencherry, Interestingly, the waters of the Pamba River dry up every
year to reveal sands that serve as the venue for the event.

41 Ride in an autorickshaw
Explore the streets of Kerala in an autorickshaw, a three wheeled taxi
painted yellow and black. Don*t be surprised if you meet a driver who
has a degree in English literature or is fairly fluent with the

42 Peep into your future
The fortune teller on the street has your future written on his cards -
your career, your life, you life partner and more. Just show him your
palm and wait while his parrot picks your card from the pack.

43 Spin coir
See nimble fingers at work as they spin water treated coconut fibre
into long ropes with a traditional hand spindle in the suburbs of
Kollam. You can shop at a number of roadside stalls for brightly
coloured coir door mats, wall hangings and carpets.

44 Learn exotic art forms
Watchkathakali, mohiniyattam, theyyam or thiruvathira and pursue one
that interests you most. Learn how a story unveils through the eyes,
fingers, feet and myriad expressions of the artist.

45 Rock about in a bullock cart
On a pleasant evening, traverse the scenic mud roads of Kerala at the
unhurried pace of a bullock cart. The tinkling bells and
roll-over-from-side-to-side motion of the cart will full you into a lazy

46 Walk the lanes of Fort Kochi
Put on your hat and sunglasses, wear comfortable sandals and embark on
a walking tour of Fort Kochi where bastions, churches and mansions built
by the British, Dutch and the Portuguese, 500 years ago will greet you.
Interestingly, Vasco da Gama, one of the world*s greatest explorers,
was buried here.

47 Order a metre of tea
Stop by a thattukada, a roadside kiosk, for a steaming cup of strong
tea. Watch the expert stretch it to a metre while pouring it from glass
to glass, blending it well and building up a tempting froth in the

48 Climb rugged heights
Not all places to visit in Kerala are on well travelled roads. Or on
roads at all. Hike up rugged terrains at Munnar, Wayanad and Kakkayam
(Kozkikkod) for an exhilarating experience. If you haven*t tried rock
climbing before, our experts will teach you the tricks.

49 Engage in water sports
An adventure sports lover will rarely find time to stay idle in Kerala.
Her beaches provide you with unlimited watersporting options of wind
surfing, rafting, sailing, power boating and even that of a simple
catamaran ride.

50 Take a train through paradise
A train journey is an interesting way to experience Kerala. Get a
window seat and watch the landscape unfold like pages of a colourful
picture book, or acquaint yourself with your fellow travellers who make
interesting profiles.

51 Treat your sweet tooth
The famous Mithai Street of Kozkikkod has everything to make your mouth
water - from heavenly haluvas, juicy jillebies to creamy milk sweets,
Relish them as they melt in your mouth.

52 Study rare flora
Treat your eyes to exotic orchids, anthuria, sandalwood trees etc. in
the forests. One of these, the rare Neelakurinji, bathes the mountains
of Munnar in blue once every 12 years. It is expected to bloom next in

53 Romance the spice hills
Holidayamidst the sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns and
winding lanes of Kerala*s mist clad hill stations - a world where
tranquillity abounds. The dense tropical jungles in these hill stations
house some of the exotic bird and wildlife sanctuaries in the country.

54. Watch the making of an Arabian dhow
Witness this 1500 year old tradition at Beypore. It takes an expert
team of 15-30 strongmen at least two years to shape a vessel in wood.
Locally called uru, this Arabian trading vessel is fast fading from the
shipping scene.

55 Bathe in waterfalls
Nowhere else will you find water so playful, So pure. So pacifying.
Crystal clear waters cascade down the mountains of Kerala, gurgling,
whispering, laughing and cleansing everything in their way. Watch them
wake serene rivers with a magnificent splash.

56 Go arty
You can browse in the art galleries for hours without track of time.
Among them are collections of the world famous works of Raja Ravi Varma,
Raja Raja Varma, Svetlova, Nicholas Roerich, rare murals and
masterpieces from China, Japan, Tibet, Bali and other parts of India.

57 Visit scenic Kuttanad
Explore the lush paddy fields of Kuttanad, the rice bow of Kerala - the
only place in the world where farming is done 1.5 or 2 m below sea
level. Kuttanad is in the interiors of the beautiful backwater district
of Alappuzha.

58 Taste Payasam
The payasam, a rich milk delicacy prepared with vermicili, gram or
rice, is a delight for the plate. The most common dessert of Kerala, the
payasam is made in scores of flavours and garnished with raisins and
nuts fried in ghee. It is usually eaten with salty snacks.

59 Feast your eyes on the largest mural
The palaces and museums of Kerala have an exotic collection of ancient
murals. The Krishnapuram Palace at kayamkulam displays the largest of
these masterpieces - gajendramoksham - which belongs to the 18th century
and depicts an event from mythology.

60 Watch Theyyam
Theyyam is the oldest ritual art form of Kerala, Look on in awe as
Theyyam performers invoke the temple deity Bhagavathy with their
frenzied dancing and throbbing temple music in the courtyards of village

61 Try coconut hair oil
The secret of a Malayali woman*s long, black, lustrous hair could be
yours too. Coconut oil is considered the best nutrient for hair and a
coolant for the head. In Kerala, both men and women massage oil on their
heads before a bath.

62 Explore a tharavad
Relive the old times in the perfect settings of antique furniture and
exquisite woodwork in Kerala*s heritage holiday homes and nalukettu
(quandrangular mansions with a central countryard), each more than 50
years old.

63 Learn Malayalam
Malayalam, Kerala*s sweet toned language, has 56 letters in its
alphabet. Try learning the basics and roll the words off your tongue.

64 Star gaze
Steeped in astronomy, Kerala*s planetariums will show you much more
than Mercury, Venus and Mars. But a ticket to the evening star gazing
sessions and experience the wonders of the universe.

65 Holiday on an island
Spend a weekend on Kerala*s islands or lagoons, and experience
special moments . Spectacular sunset, balmy backwaters succulent seafood
at Bolghatty, Pathiramanal, Poovar*.These paradises can be reached only
by a ferry or boat.

66 Picnic beside virgin lakes
Pack a picnic basket and spend a romantic evening beside the crystal
clear lakes near Munnar. Try your luck at fishing and feast on your
fresh catch. Go for a long walk hand-in-hand, undisturbed. Lie down on
the most comfortable of grass beds.

67 Go paragliding
Sweep across the lush green hills of Munnar on a paraglider and enjoy
the vantage of an eagle. See the soothing blues and greens of nature.
Enjoy the wind beneath your wings. Feel on top of the world.

68 Walk in to a palace
Besides exquisite wooden architecture, the palaces of Kerala flaunt the
finest floors in the world. Floors that, surprisingly, need least
maintenance - being made of crushed coconut charcoal, egg whites and the
sap of loan plants. You*ll also see collections of antique sculptures,
paintings and bronzes.

69 Muse in a Museum
The museums of Kerala, especially the Pazhasiraja Museum at Kozkikkod,
pay full tribute to outstanding crafts-historical and contemporary
ornaments, temple carts and Ivory carvings of life sized figures of
Kathakali in full regalia.

70. Watch Thullal
Thullal, an exotic art form, and the rhythmic sounds of music
accompanying it will keep you in a constant stage of merriment. Humour,
satire and social criticism are its hallmarks. This art form was
formulated overnight by the renowned poet, Kunjan Nambiar.

71. Visit the zoo
The zoological parks in Kerala have plenty to excite the animal lover
in you. The Trivandrum zoo is one among the best designed in Asia and is
set amidst a woodland, lakes and lawns.

72. Wash your sins away
According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by mendicants who
confessed to having sinned. The place he created for them to pray for
redemption is known as the Papanasham beach (papanasham meaning
redemption from sins). Take a dip and come out feeling clean in your
heart too.

73. Go nuts
You can get raw, fried, grilled, salted and spiced cashews at
surprisingly affordable rates from Kollam where cashew plantations and
industries abound.

74. Chew into a juicy mussel
It is indeed fun watching mussel collectors anchor their boats, dive
down and bring up basket loads of these fresh water delicacies. The
shells are later burnt in kilns to make lime.

75. See wildlife from a boat
Watch wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat at the
sanctuaries of Kumarakom, and Periyar. Herds of wild elephants bathing
in the lake, the Indian bison digging his horns into an unaffected tree,
the cormorant darting into the waters* a treat for an amateur

76. Learn yoga
Relax your mind with yoga at the special ashrams in Trivandrum and
Nileswaram - the cultural centre of Kasaragod. Sessions are conducted by
spiritual gurus and experts in the field.

77. Walk the historic Kappad beach
This is where Vasco DA Gama landed in 1498 with his men in three
vessels. Here, you*ll find an interesting landscape of rocks that
sprawl right into the sea. An 800 year old temple stands nearby.

78 Munch on crispy snacks
Kerala has a wide range of crunchy snacks- ethakka (banana) chips,
chakka vattal (jackfruit chips), pappadam, kuzhalappam, achappam,
cheeda and churuttu. All worth every penny spend on them.

79 Meet martial art experts
Kalaripayattu, the martial art form of Kerala, is the oldest and most
scientific in the world. Watch agile bodies gleaming in oil and armed
with weapons practise their feats-chattam (jumping), ottam (running),
marichil (somersault)-to stunning perfection. Explore the Bekal Fort

80 Explore the largest and the best-preserved fort of Kerala at Bekal,
The imposing laterite structure rising 130 ft. above sea level, stands
on a 35 acre headland that runs right into the Arabian Sea.

81 Behold the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
Kochi, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is breathtakingly
beautiful. Apart from being the commercial capital and the most
cosmopolitan city of Kerala, Kochi also flaunts one of the finest
natural harbours of the world.

82 Discover prehistoric settlements
The Edakkal caves at Wayanad and the caves at the mouth of the
Shenduruny River have interesting pictorial writings and cave drawings
from the Stone Age. You*ll have to trek at least a kilometer uphill to
reach the Edakkal caves. Say a prayer at the old Synagogue

83 The 500 years old Synagogue in Kochi is adorned with mid 18th
century hand painted Cantonese tiles. Hebrew inscriptions on stone
slabs, ancient scripts on copper plates and great scrolls of the Old
Testament are preserved here. An age-old clock tower stands nearby.

84 Let a mohini enchant you
Mohiniyattam or the dance of the enchantress reflects the graceful
nature of the land. The sensuous, graceful movements of the dancer, clad
in gold and off white costumes, will remind you of palms swaying in the
gentle breeze and sweeping waves.

85 Spend the night at a Kathakali concert
Kathakali, the four centuries old classical art form, is usually staged
at night. Elaborate costumes, ornaments and multi-coloured facial
make-up give the artistes a super human appearance, which leaves you

86 Cook in earthenware
In most of the traditional homesteads of Kerala, women cook their food
in earthenware. For some time-tested reason renders a special taste to
the dish prepared.

87 Collect antiques
Stroll up the Jew Street in Fort Kochi for interesting finds like
period furniture, ancient coins, elaborately carved pens, ornamental
brass latches, antique jewellery, grandfather clocks and timepieces etc.

88 Cruise the backwaters of Alappuzha
Alappuzha, embroidered with a labyrinth of waterways, was extolled by
travellers as the Venice of the East. Visit this land where the skiff is
the family vehicle, the ducks outnumber chicken and children learn to
swim perhaps even before the walk.

89 Meet smart fishermen
It is indeed a spectacular sight to watch Kerala* Smart fishermen
outdo the crashing waves by pushing their boats into the sea from a pier
beyond the wave point, and simultaneously jumping into it in perfect

90 See mind-blowing fireworks
Make a wish under a thousand shooting starts -brilliant firework
displays that mark the end of a festival in Kerala. And you*ll never
miss them as every dawn in Kerala brings yet another festival.

91 Watch a puppet show
Yakshagana Bombeyattu (puppetry) is the art form of Kasaragod.
Colourful puppets in huge headgears, elaborate facial make-up and loud
attires dancing to throbbing music will keep you entertained.

92 Go for a flower show
Spend a colourful evening with pretty asters, glowing anthuria, exotic
orchids, beautiful roses, elegant lilies and a bloom of soft cotton
candy at a flower show.

93 Smash the elusive pot
Uriyadi (smashing the pot) is a spirited sport connected with some of
festivals of Kerala. The festive pot colourfully decorated will be hung
from a tall pole. All you have to do is try and break it with a stick as
the crowd pulls it up and down.

94 Spot a dolphin
If you *re lucky, you*ll get to see the dolphins do their grand act
at the Cherai beach. Applaud them as they spring out of the waters
magnificent splash only to take a marvelous dive back into it.

95 Buy a Palmyra fan
In Kerala, you*ll find small, handy fans made of medicinal herbal
roots, palm fronds, bamboo splits and grass. Get yourself a portable,
compact, cute and colourful little fan that comes in handy anytime of
the day. When not in use, you could even put it up on the wall as a

96 Stay in exotic resorts
Kerala*s innovative hoteliers have amazing experiences in store for
you. Some even have Theme evenings when centuries old art forms like
Kathakali and Mohiniyattom are performed as well.

97 Savour nectar
Beat the bees and butterflies to it in a banana plantation. Hold the
tip of a banana inflorescence (koombu) to your mouth and suck the sweet

98 Visit a Snake Park
The Snake Park at Parassinikadavu, Kannur, is the only one of its kind
in the whole of India. There are three snake pits and fifteen glass
cases full of various species of snakes, and two large glass houses for
King Cobras. The snake demonstration conducted every hour is a major
crowd puller.

99. Watch thiruvathira
Thiruvathira, a traditional dance performed by women, has simple steps
and a single rule-performers should be clad in a Kerala saree. Join them
as they sing and move elegantly around a ceremonial lamp (vilakku) or a
floral decoration (pookalam)

100. Bring swing to your life Onam is the season for fun and games.
Visit Kerala during August /September and you*ll find in every house.
The friendly people here will be only too glad to let you join them.

101. Try out new ways to fish
Dangle a rod and line into the flowing waters. Sweep a towel through
it. Feel for fish with your feet in the mud below. Or simply try
trapping small fish with your hands. Anyway, you*ll never return

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Indian Rupee may test below 40-level soon

The Sensex crossing the 15,000-mark has left currency dealers anticipating another milestone event in the money market — a breach of the Rs 40-mark by the US dollar. With the central bank being unmoved with the dollar falling below the 40.5-mark, both economists and multinational banks feel that there is a strong likelihood that the rupee may trade between 39.80-40 levels against the dollar in the near future.

Just a few months ago, certain research houses and multinational banks had revised their bearish forecasts for the rupee (made before March 2007) and replaced them with a less bearish forecast of the dollar at 42.50-43 levels by December 2007. However, seeing the global movements, the forecasters are set to review their stance. Standard Chartered Bank’s MD and regional head, global markets and South Asia, Sundeep Bhandari, explained,

“We have kept our forecast for December 2007 (at 42.50 levels against the dollar) under review. The 40-mark is indeed a huge milestone for the rupee, which the central bank is unlikely to allow.” Treasury managers feel that the rupee is largely strengthening on the back of a buoyant stock market. While the forex market is expected to be extremely volatile, they feel that traders would continue to test the rupee at higher levels.

For a long time, the rupee had been hovering above the 40.50-mark per dollar. This was one level which even the central bank was seen protecting. Usually, when the rupee starts growing stronger, the central bank tries to prevent it from rising too much within a shorter span of time, by purchasing dollars and infusing rupee-funds into the market.

However, between March and June, the central bank was more concerned about the spiralling price levels, with the wholesale price index quoting over 6%. Now, what happens is that when the central bank tries to protect the rupee by buying the greenback, it ends up selling rupees and this forces the cash flows to rise, thus impacting inflation levels negatively.

This was why the central bank allowed the rupee to rise, in a bid to curb price levels from rising further. Thus, between March and June alone, the rupee rose by over 8.5%. Kotak Mahindra Bank’s treasurer Mohan Shenoi said, “Fresh flows into public offerings and secondary market and hedging by exporters is leading to strong supply of dollars. Dollar purchases made by oil companies and intervention by the central bank to absorb flows are keeping the support at Rs 40.40 intact for the time being.”

Mr Shenoi pointed out that in line with the overall monetary policy considerations, if the central bank stops absorbing capital flows even temporarily, the rupee could rise to even the 39.80 level per dollar. However, if it falls to 40.70-40.80 levels, it may attract large scale dollar sales by exporters, he added. Other factors, which could lay brakes on the rising local currency, could be the rising oil prices and a growth in government spending, which tends to pick up in the second half of the financial year.

ICICI Bank chief economist Samiran Chakraborthy pointed out that the appreciation in the rupee may recede, once the pipeline of FII inflows cease. Oil prices could serve as the third trigger for short-term movement in the rupee as demand for dollars from oil companies may even cause the local currency to weaken.”

Rally in IT stocks -Argument continues

Is the current rally in software stocks for real? Or are speculators setting up a trap to get gullible investors in before the results by Infosys on Wednesday?

A section of the market is debating this since frontline technology shares have been on an upswing on the face of an expectedly bad quarterly performance by software firms.

And on Monday, IT stocks, along with PSUs, helped BSE sensex rally to a new high at 15,085 which closed just a tad off that mark, at 15,045, both new record levels.

The day's gain for the sensex was 81 points, or 0.55%. The day's rally added about Rs 40,000 crore to investors' wealth with BSE's market capitalisation now at Rs 43.7 lakh crore.

Although the index had touched the 15K mark in intra-day trade on Friday, Monday was the first time it finished above that mark. TCS ended 1.5% higher at Rs 1,176, while Wipro and Infosys both closed 1.1% up, at Rs 525 and Rs 1,993, respectively.

These stocks could face huge selling in case Infosys revises its guidance downward, said an analyst. The sudden rise in IT stocks, despite the strength of the rupee against the dollar and the all-round expectations of a de-growth in April-June profits, is surprising.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Indian Markets hit 15k

Indian markets have finally Touched 15k much to the delight of the millions of investors and traders in the country. The recent spurt in sensex was unexpected as every one was expecting a correction after last weeks appreciations. But contrary to expectations sensex rose. And what surprised most of the analsyt was that the rally was led by IT stocks which have not been performing too well for the past 2-3 months due to appreciation in the value of Indian rupee. This rise can be attributed only to an inflow of FII(Foreign Institutional Investors) funds. They have been showing keen interest in Indian stocks lately, due to higher Earning per share ratios, expectation of a good quarterly report this quarter from most of the capital goods companies , steady but fast growth of the Indian economy over the past four years and last but not least the appreciating rupee has worked to their advantage giving them very high returns from the Indian market.But yesterdays spurt in sensex was fuelled by one more important factor ie, relaxation of regulations by the chinese government allowing chinese invest to invest in foreign stocks exchanges. This relaxation came into effect on july and has been a major factor in the sudden boom in Indian market on thursday and friday. The interest rate in china being lower at about 3-4% and the chinese stocks being extremely over priced, substantial amount of money is expected to flow out of china to foreign stock exchanges in the coming month. This is a reason for Investers to cheer. Most of the shares of bluechip companies like infosys , L&T and those of undervalued companies like Cairn , Indus India bank , Mindtree , HindMotors etc can be expected to rise . Though the desire to book profits and exit the market maybe strong in the coming week. Investors who would make the rational choice of staying invested can expect substantial gains from their investments in good shares towards the month end.