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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sensex to touch 20,000-mark by June: Survey!!!

1 FEB, 2012, 09.11PM IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The stock market barometer Sensex could rise to the 20,000 points-mark by June, up from the present 17,000-level, despite subdued business confidence, a survey by JP Morgan Asset Management has said. 

"Indian investors and advisors appear unaffected by the recent volatility in stock markets. Forty-eight per cent of retail investors and 76 per cent of advisors expect the benchmark index to trade between 17,000 and 20,000 in June, 2012," JP Morgan Asset Management said in a report titled, 'Investor Confidence Index'. 

JP Morgan AMC said investment by retail investors in mutual funds has revived significantly since the last quarter. The index showed no signs of revival in the current quarter and remained almost flat between July and December, 2011. 

"Although the overall investment sentiment currently appears subdued, the optimism about global and Indian economic growth is improving marginally. Most interestingly, corporate, advisors and HNIs are now more optimistic than they were in July, 2011, even as the mass of retail investors have become more pessimistic," the survey added. 

The survey conducted among 1,635 retail investors, 50 corporate treasuries and 282 advisors said retail investment activity in mutual funds has picked up by 9 percentage points vis-a-vis the previous quarter to reach 70 per cent, while in stocks, it fell by 6 percentage points. 

Risk-averse investors have shown less preference for stocks (down from 70 per cent in March, 2011, to 56 per cent in December), but increased preference for mutual funds (from 44 per cent to 68 per cent), according to the survey. 

In addition, rising gold prices appear to have affected investment activity in gold. As a result, the percentage of investors investing in this asset class has fallen by 19 percentage points since December, 2010. 

"The weak investment sentiment is probably a reflection of volatility surrounding the country's macroeconomic environment. "The Sensex downslide, rupee depreciation, a ballooning fiscal deficit, high inflation rates, combined with rising global uncertainty, triggered by deepening of the euro zone crisis, have hurt the investment sentiment," JP Morgan Asset Management MD and CEO Nandkumar Surti said. 

The index published jointly by JP Morgan and ValueNotes, was conducted in December across Mumbai, the Delhi/NCR, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad. The survey focused on business and investment outlook for the following six months.

Why brands have been unable to sell Tablets to Indian consumers!


"We were very bullish about this category and thought it would be an addition to a business phone or laptop. But it's not taken off," says a disappointed Nilesh Gupta, managing partner, Vijay Sales. Gupta is not the only one who expected tablet PCs aka tablets to take the Indian market by storm. 

It seemed likely considering they worked their magic elsewhere. A Gartner report in September last year estimated total global tablet sales at 63.6 million for 2011 and 326.3 million units by 2015. In its last quarter, Apple sold 15.43 million iPads, a 111% increase from last year. 

After over a decade or so in development and many cumbersome metamorphoses, tablets suddenly took the market by storm with the success of iPad. It made just about every electronics/computer brand bet on its own version of a tiny touchscreen powered device. 

Many of these reached India, some of them via simultaneous global launches. And yet, the category's performance has been lacklustre. Depending on who you ask the total sales hover between 150,000 and 180,000 units in India; everyone is in agreement the number is well below 200,000. 

The most obvious obstacle is price. Apart from aberrations like the ultra low budget Aakash tablet (Rs 2,999 for the Ubislate 7+), most products start at a little over Rs 15,000 and go up to near Rs 45,000. Some of today's budget tablets were launched at twice the price just a little over six months ago. 

The BlackBerry PlayBook offered a massive 50% discount towards the end of 2011. While initially advertised as a week long scheme, the price cut was still in effect at the time of going to print. PlayBooks flew off the shelves and some retailers even reported shortages. Krishnadeep Baruah, director, marketing, BlackBerry, says the schemes had begun as early as Diwali when a free entry level smartphone was bundled with the PlayBook: "The tablet by itself is an indulgence. We wanted to make sure there was a good value." 

With the year end gifting season looming, BlackBerry decided to fill the market with PlayBooks and halved its asking price, doing away with the free phone. The price tag on Samsung's Galaxy Tab plummeted shortly after launch. Ranjit Yadav, country head - mobile and IT, Samsung explains, "The tab came bundled with some special offers. After a couple of months, those introductory offers were taken away, and the product sold at a price which has remained more or less consistent." Even the notoriously premium Apple made its original iPad more affordable once the iPad 2 was launched. 

Bill Gates: If kids never develop mentally, suffer from diarrhoea, then what good is Facebook?


Bill Gates on improving healthcare, governance, education & philanthropy in India

As a country like India struggles to balance its poverty and inequality with high growth, what is the role of private sector and corporations? How can businesses work with governments, and do you think the Indian corporate sector is doing enough, especially in terms of philanthropy? 

Providing basic food and education is the role of the government. The biggest issue in India is not lack of philanthropy; it's the quality - of the vaccination system, distribution system and nutrition. 

Philanthropy's a nice thing, but no way a substitute to what the state isn't doing. India is lucky to have some philanthropists -people like us and Premjis. Historically you've got the Tata family - Ratan Tata has done a great job carrying on that tradition. You've got Nandan Nilekani, who's gone to work for the government, to work on something important, despite the knowledge that people will not make that all that easy for him. 

There's room for more philanthropy but the real imperative is when you grow as much as India has, and have its level of economic performance, you can do a lot better on health and nutrition and education. 

Philanthropists can help the government. But they're not the ones in charge of the programmes. That's a state role. There's no country in the world that relies on anyone but the state to do basic education and vaccination.

India's factory PMI jumps to 8-month high in Jan!

1 FEB, 2012, 10.32AM IST, REUTERS 

BANGALORE: India's manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace in eight months in January as factory output surged the most on record on increased domestic and foreign demand, a business survey showed on Wednesday.

The HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) , compiled by Markit, jumped to 57.5 from 54.2 in December.

"Activity in the manufacturing sector rebounded again in January led by higher demand from both domestic and foreign clients, suggesting some recovery in sentiment in recent months," said Leif Eskesen, economist at HSBC.

India's headline PMI has held above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction for almost three years, underlining the sector's resilience in the face of a global downturn and euro area debt crisis.

Click here for full story!

Telecom companies set to go for bold tariff hikes; your mobile bills to bloat 30% this year!


NEW DELHI: Mobile phone bills of consumers will rise 20-30% this year, top executives of all leading operators said, as the country's debt-ridden telcos raise call tariffs to revive revenue growth and cut losses in the fiercely competitive sector. 

The move follows the 20% increase last July, the first hike after operators slashed tariffs in 2008 as they chased new customers, but ended up eroding profits. It comes at a time telcos are staring at penalties and fines running into thousands of crores of rupees for a range of alleged violations. 

Vodafone quietly raised tariffs of postpaid users in January by about 20% in Delhi and plans to extend this to other regions, with rivals set to follow suit this month. Telcos say tariffs for prepaid customers, who form 96% of users, will be raised after March. 

An executive close to Bharti Airtel said a 20-30% rise in the next 12 months was the "minimum requirement for the industry to keep its head above water". 

click here for full story!

Companies queue up for social sector talent!


NEW DELHI: Jobs in the social sector - also known as the not-for-profit or development sector, comprising non-governmental organisations (NGOs), intermediaries, specialist firms and microfinance institutions among others - were once perceived as a one-way street. 

It meant trading financial prosperity for a life of doing good at a salary that would be at best, modest by corporate sector standards. Retaining that pool of talent was hardly a problem. That's changing, says Anupama Kalra, executive director at United Way, a USbased funding organisation for NGOs. 

Finding people is a challenge even within the sector as those with relevant experience demand multiples of their salary. For example, a programme officer with 2-3 years' experience who manages small NGO projects and makes around Rs 15,000-16,000 a month, could hope to get Rs 30,000 elsewhere. "That's the jump they're expecting - 30% to 50% and sometimes even 100%," says Kalra. 

Dell readies Rs 5,000 crore war chest for India buyout to boost IT business!


BANGALORE: Dell is on the prowl for an India acquisition worth up to $1 billion (Rs 5,000 crore), part of a strategy to bolster its information technology services business and compete better against the likes of IBM and Accenture. 

The world's third-largest computer maker wants to buy a mid-sized Indian tech firm with "several thousands of staff" and revenues of $500 million to $1 billion or even more, Suresh Vaswani, chairman of the company's Indian operations and executive vicepresident of the Dell's global application and BPO business

Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computer.                                                       Click here to read full story!

Seven habits of effective tax planners

Text: Vidyalaxmi & Preeti Kulkarni; ET Bureau

With just two months left in the current financial year, time is running out for tax-payers looking to make investments to save taxes. 

And, since they are most likely to be taken for a ride by greedy advisors, it is also the time for them to be on guard. 

Here are some tips to avoid the typical mistakes made while carrying out the tax-planning exercise:

1. Take a holistic view. 

2. Be careful with single-premium life covers

3. Last minute PPF investments are not rewarding.

4. Joint loans can be doubly beneficial.

5. Invest property sales proceeds in time.

6. Look beyond 80 C.  for more!

7. Don't overlook tax-friendly savings.

Artist and inventor John Pitre looking at India partnerships for his innovative renewable energy ideas


BANGALORE: One of America's most well-known artists is trying to find Indian partners for some innovative renewable energy ideas. John Pitre, one of America's most well-known surrealist painters, had been thinking about renewable energy for a long time. 

He had played around with different ideas for four decades, and had once made some designs for using wave energy off the coast of California. "You couldn't sell those things because oil was eight dollars a barrel," says Pitre. Now that oil is expensive, he is trying to run a business with some of his designs. He set up a company, Natural Power Concepts, based in Hawaii. 

Pitre had become famous in the 1960s with a painting called the New Dawn, which depicted a caveman standing among the ruins of what may have been a skyscraper. 

This painting became a subject of interest once again after the WTC attacks, when some people saw the painting as a portent of the attacks. Another painting, called Restrictions, sold seven million copies worldwide. While making a reputation as artist, in true Da Vinci style, Pitre had also been making various kinds of machines. 

Click here to read full story!