Archive for August, 2007

Chennai GN Chetty Road has changed a lot!! – An update

Posted on August 28, 2007. Filed under: Chennai |

Last week I had written about the changes that are taking place in GN Chetty Road. I happened to see extensive press coverage the next day or two days after that. ( I am not saying my blog made this happen!!)

The press (Dinamlar and New Indian Express detailed quarter-page articles on the developments going around T Nagar. The saddest thing is, I got to know that more than 100 trees have been felled in T Nagar area for building of fly-overs. Three grade separators are coming up in T Nagar locality. One fly-over is coming at the Vani Mahal – Residency Hotel intersection, the second one is coming at Mahalingapuram – North Usman Road intersection and third one at South Usman Road-Duraisamy Road . The number of trees cut is really well above my imagination. The saving grace is that they are trying to transplant some trees within the Corporation parks and playgrounds. I also learnt that as per the Environment Protection Act ( or is it someother act) for every tree cut, 50 trees have to be planted. The Chennai Corporation is going to plant more than 6000 trees for the 100 odd trees which has felled.

If the planted trees survive and grow, it would be good for the city. Lets hope it happens!!

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Orkut and me!

Posted on August 25, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

For the last couple of weeks, I have been regularly logging into Orkut website. I created an account in 2006 but hardly logged in after that and almost forgotten about that. A month ago, one of my colleague introduced me again to Orkut. I really got hooked on to it this time and has been regularly logging in for the last 3 weeks. Now I always check with all my friends if they are in orkut.

What makes orkut a popular site?
I think the possibility of knowing who knows whom, who writes what to whom, ability to open and see the photos of others definitely interests people and get them addicted. I learn that similar to orkut there are various other sites like facebook, fropper, myspace, tagged, linkedin etc., I am sure all these sites are becoming popular by the day.

Spam messages/requests for unknown “friends”:
In the last two weeks, I have got atleast two messages from unknown people to either accept them as friends or become a member in some community. Both of which I have not responded.

My purpose for having an orkut account:
My only intention for using orkut is to get connected to my schoolmates/friends/former colleagues with whom I am not in regular contact. I dont have any intention of becoming an online friend/buddy to some unknown face. My experience in the last two weeks is not bad as I am able to get in touch with atleast 5 people with whom I have not spoken for the last 3 years or so. I got hold of a school junior almost after 20 years!! In that way it has been very successful.

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Fee income charged by Public Sector Banks – Indian Bank!

Posted on August 23, 2007. Filed under: Banking |

Recently I heard that even public sector banks have started charging fees for some services which hitherto came free, atleast with public sector banks. In this case, it was for attestation of address proof which is the Bank Passbook.

My father went to the Indian Bank branch in which holds an Saving account and asked for the attestation of the photo address proof. The Manager obliged to attest subject to a charge of Rs35/- for this purpose. The amount got debited and my father got the attestation.

Even Public sector banks have started finding out ways to increase their fee based income. Good for the bank and their shareholders and bad luck customers!!

PS: I was informed that for the same service ICICI Bank charges Rs.100/-. So PSU Banks are keeping the interest of the customers at heart and charging a lesser fee for that!!!

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Great Bargains At Factory Outlets!!!

Posted on August 22, 2007. Filed under: Chennai |

Last weekend I went to the Europa Factory Outlet in Vadapalani and came across an interesting offer on a set of merchandise. They are selling Pepe Jeans casual wear shirts, Byford t-shirts and San Frisco crew neck shirts at Rs.100/- per item. I found it very interesting and tempting as well!! The new ones are selling anywhere between 500-900.

I picked up a Pepe Jeans Casual Shirt and a San Frisco T-shirt all for Rs200/-. The only catch is they are old stock with a bit of dust. I dont see any visible damage to any of the garments. Yes, few are very dusty but even if you ignore them, there was quite a bunch of them. My friend also picked up 3 items.

I think it is really a good bargain at Rs100/-. You may have to do some extra work of washing it before wearing. No worries.

Try out these factory outlets once a while to find a steal like this.

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Chennai GN Chetty Road has changed a lot!!

Posted on August 22, 2007. Filed under: Chennai |

Where are the trees?
I was travelling through GN Chetty Road, T Nagar, Chennai yesterday after a month or so. I was totally surprised to see the changes happening on this road. I saw work has already started for building a fly-over. Some 20 odd fully grown neem trees were completely cut to make way for a fly-over at Vani Mahal-Hotel Residency intersection. Now the road provides you with a different look.

Nostalgia of GN Chetty Road:
I have been regularly using this road for almost 8 years GN Chetty Road on a daily basis. The avenue trees on both sides of the road provided excellent cover during the summer and in the night it will be a very pleasant ride. We are going to miss all of them now.

I am wondering if the Chennai Corporation would have tried to transplant these trees elsewhere instead of just chopping it off. We all talk about Global warming and the need to grow more trees, but the developing countries like us are doing exactly the opposite in the name of development.

May God bless us!!

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Indian markets makes a gap up opening!

Posted on August 20, 2007. Filed under: Markets |

As expected the Indian markets opened with a huge gap up opening in the morning. At the time of writing this, the top gainers in the NIFTY are Suzlon, Sterlite, ONGC, ICICI Bank and SAIL.
The NIFTY was trading around 4226, up almost 122 points from Friday’s close. Sensex was trading around 14500, up almost 356 points.

Brokerage views:
Today morning I saw many brokerage houses have turned bullish again and has come out with buy reports. JM Financial Services commented that the worst is over for the market and doesnt expect the market to go below 13900-14000. The opinions change so fast from these brokerage houses.

Market rumours:
The market rumours say that Anil Ambani is looking to buy out 6 telecom companies across the globe with the help of private equity funding. I am not sure with the existing liquidity crunch in the global markets, if Anil Ambani could pull this out. Reliance Communication has remained muted to this market rumour and trading around Rs510/-.

Lets see how the last hour of trading today pans out.

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Hello world!

Posted on August 18, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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Turbulence in the Global Markets – Stocks, Currencies and Commodities!

Posted on August 18, 2007. Filed under: Markets |

I was witness last week to one of the most turbulent market movements. The turbulence is not only in stock markets across the globe but also in currency and commodity markets.

Currency market operations:
The turbulence in the currency markets (as I am in the business of foreign exchange operations) over the last two days are attributed to the sub-prime crisis in US and the resulting liquidity problems worldwide. The last two days have been tough from the operations perspective. The volumes have multiplied many times across the foreign exchange markets causing a strain on the global settlment systems. Unlike stock and securities markets, which are country specific, foreign exchange trades are mostly settled through the CLS Bank. This helps the counterparties to the trade to reduce the settlement risk to a greater extend. Due to high volumes, we have seen significant delays in getting deals confirmed, status update messages from CLS Bank and other activities. I was told that the volumes were higher by more than 150% in the last 2 days. I know of couple of my colleagues who have worked 24 hours at a stretch to complete the work. Hats off to them. We are keeping our fingers crossed with regard how the coming Monday is going to be.

Stock markets:
Stock markets were volatile from the begining of the week. Thursday turned out to be a big day in the history of Indian stock markets losses. It is one of the steepest falls witnessed in the history of BSE to my memory. On a closer look I find that the “A” Group shares bore the burnt to the maximum. This is nothing but natural because they have gone up the highest in the last 3-4 months. FII’s and hedge funds were selling in stock markets and commodity markets to tide over their losses in credit markets. The commodity stocks were completed thrashed on Friday with BSE Metal Index being a net loser of 7.4%. Tata Steel fell by more than 15% in the last two days.

Developments after closing hours:
The Federal Reserve cut the benchmark rate by 50 basis points has helped to stem the losses on the American bourses yesterday. As one analyst remarked, Fed has shown the way where people can borrow money now. I am sure US doesnt want a recession induced by sub-prime crisis with just a year to go for election. They will try to do whatever they could to keep the economy going.

The last time it was yen-carry trade:
I recollect the last time when the world markets went in tizzy during the unwinding of yen-carry trades. Then again it was believed that the bull market of the emerging markets are going to end. After that we have seen the market rise steeply. I am firm believer of Indian stocks and I think we will be able to overcome this sub-prime issue also.

What a normal investor should do?
Normally these type of turbulent markets gives very good opportunity to buy real gems. Warren Buffet has even re-emphasised this fact yesterday in his interview to CNBC stating that credit market chaos may give opportunity to buy stocks.

Try to analyse the fall and find out stocks which has become cheaper with the growth story intact. I will go by the following:

1. Stocks which can grow even if there is recession in the US. ( e.g.,FMCG – higher domestic demand)
2. Stocks which has domestic growth thrust. (e.g.,Power, Infrastructure, Realty )

One stock which has really come down drastically in the last 1 month or so is Gateway Distripaks Ltd., (GTL). I saw it trading around 122 on Friday. I have seen last month it was trading around 190 levels. Needs to be investigated a bit more closely to understand the reasons for the fall.

Lets hope the next week is much better for the markets. Happy weekend to all!!

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Happy Indian Independence Day!!!

Posted on August 15, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

On the occasion of the 60th Indian Independence day, I wish every Indian a Happy Independence day!!

Independence Day has always been close to my heart. I value the freedom of speech and thought as a basic right of every human being. We may not realise the importance unless you suffer from lack of freedom. Independence from British raj gave us an opportunity and also a responsibility to define our future. As a loyal Indian, I feel proud of our country’s achievements in the last 60 years. Greater challenges lay in store for us and I am sure our fellow countrymen would make best use of the opportunity and come out with flying colours.

I think India should focus on the following in the next 20 years:
1. Focus and thrust should be on agriculture. Use advanced agri techniques and ensure that we are all self-sufficient in food. Food security is of paramount importance.
2. Link the rivers and build more dams to utilise the resources effectively. This can create employment for thousands of people at the same time help us to improve our water management for agriculture and drinking water.
3. Develop the infrastructure by building world class airports, ports, roads, bridges, residential apartments etc.,
4. Work towards improving the alternative sources of energy like solar energy, wind energy, energy from waste etc., Energy security is also important.
5. Remove corruption from day to day life. When I say this I am carefully excluding corruption in all forms because, I am sure it may not be possible to eradicate it. But corruption to get everyday things completed should be eliminated.

The above are not a standard recipe for success but atleast make us focus on it.

Wish you a very happy Independence day once again.

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Indians Squander Chances To Win The Oval Test!!

Posted on August 13, 2007. Filed under: Cricket |

Match ends in a tame draw:
As expected and I wrote yesterday, the test ended as a draw. What a shame? I think India is the only country capable of letting go opportunities like these.
Luckily, I didnt see the complete England batting. I happened to catch the last 30 minutes when around 8 overs were left for the day. Five wickets to win the match. Rahul Dravid is bowling with Kumble and Sachin (yes, its Sachin). Why did Rahul Dravid didnt use his strike bowlers if he had any intention of winning the match? Something wrong with him throughout this test match. Unable to digest the way this match was handled by Rahul. I am losing all respect for Rahul Dravid as a Captain. I can imagine how may Indians would have felt the same way. Many elderly people who would have spent almost 5 full days watching this match would be fuming with anger and disgust.

The last 8 overs were played out by Bell, Prior and Sidebottom without any trouble. The bowling was wayward and I counted atleast 6 no-balls in the last 8 overs by Kumble and Sachin. After all this, Indians dont deserve to win!

The English crowd is thinking that this would be the last tour to England for Sachin, Dravid and Sourav. They gave standing ovation to Sachin two times in the last two matches. Ofcourse, he deserves it. But going by the present form, it is high time, we blood more youngsters into the team.

What did we gain from the English test series?

Karthick has come good in this tour. The same with Dhoni and Wasim Jaffer. Consistency seems to be a problem for Jaffer. Bowling is one area where we need to improve a lot. We still depend on Kumble to win matches. Poor guy is 37 and still taking the bulk of the load. I think a quality spinner (dont think of Harbhajan) is the need of the hour, a spinner who can flight a bit.

What is ahead?

Biggest test for the Indian team would be against Australia. The batting techniques of the greatest cricketers (!) would be really put to test in Australian conditions.
There are quite a few deserving candidates knocking the doors through their performance for India “A” at Kenya. S Badrinath, Captain of Tamil Nadu Ranji team is one guy who has really made good use of the opporutunity he got. He has scored two centuries in Kenya. He should definitely get a look in for the next tour. He is peaking now and lets not the selectors play the spoilsport.

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