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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gartners' Magic Quadrant for Meter Data Management Products

I got hold of this latest Gartner Research on Smart Meter Software Companies.

Blog Posts by Language

This is the ranking of languages based on the volume of Blog post in that language as of Early 2006:

1. Japanese (37%) (Yes its not English which was Rank 1 in 2006. Is it now? No idea.)
2. English (31%)
3. Chinese (15%)
4. Spanish (3%)
5. Italian, French, Russian, Portuguese (2% each)
6. German and Dutch (1% each)
7. Others (4%)


Courtesy: The Economist

Badly Beaten at Dalal Street

Lately, my focus towards identifying value shifted my focus to badly beaten stocks in the Indian Markets. I wouldn't suggest these are necessarily undervalued stocks. These are some of the worst beaten and well known stocks of recent times: Ackruti City, Koutons Retail, DB Realty, Ceat and many more.

The stocks near the 52 week lows can be seen at :
http://www.moneycontrol.com/stocks/marketinfo/off_lows/bse/homebody.php?indcode=0&sortcode=1

I say that for an average investor, getting into these stocks is not a good idea at all. Many of these stocks may never recover at all. Some of them may take ages to give even a decent return. However, I can't resist from investing in these. I filter out certain criteria and invest in a basket of about 5-7 of these kind of stocks. I estimate a holding period of a mimimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years. What ever happens, I plan to take my money out of these stocks after 5 years. About 2 of the stocks may get delisted or even go out of business. But I believe that the other stocks will more than compensate for the loss in these two delisted entities.

I wouldn't like to mention the filtering criteria I use since I haven't done rigorous testing if these criteria works. But basically I look the ratios which indicate the business efficiency. These ratios might be boring, but I kind of feel safe if these ratios are good.

My advice is to invest a small portion of your portfolio in a basket of heavily beaten stocks whose business look appealing to you and the efficiency looks good. All the best.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Joel Greenblatt "The Little Book that beats the market"

Long back I read the book by Joel Greenblatt. This book certainly is a very sensible read. Joel Greenblatt is a successful investor and he talks about a "Magic Formula" which is a rank based selection of stocks from a wide range of stocks.

The two main aspects of the selection criteria are based on the "ROCE (Return on Capital Employed)" and "Earnings Yield (EPS/Price)". This Greenblatt says indicates that we buy good businesses available at "bargain" prices.

This is a good read for Investors who want to understand "Fundamental Analysis"/ "Value Investing".


Joel Greenblatt is the founder of Gotham Capital. Interestingly, he is referenced in Michael Lewis's recent book "The Big Short" where Greenblatt is potrayed as a greedy guy with his differences with Dr. Burry of Scion Capital who is one of the unsaid heroes of the book "The Big Short".

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Commodities to invest in 2011

As per the recent issue of Forbes, Soyabean, Pepper and Copper are among the top preference for investments in 2011. The Soyabean, Pepper and Copper Futures are traded on the Global Markets. However, Copper is also available as an ETF. The Copper ETF is yet to arrive in India.

However, there is a way to invest in these even if you don't want to trade the Futures Contracts. If I was bullish in these, I would go about searching for stocks which would benefit from the prices of these commodities. These again serve as a hedge against inflation. Suppose, you consume Soya Oil/Milk due to certain reason. This means that if the price of Soya Oil/Milk increases, you will be affected unless if you decide to cut on your intake, Under such situations, buying a stock which benefits from the increase in Soy prices, will benefit you or rather hedge you. And it is common that most of the agri commodities are correlated to a certain extent. Hence inflation will definitely push the price of most of these. Without inflation concern, the Equity market would do well (Hopefully). Hence its better to allocate a certain portion of your portfolio into the commodity stocks. ( I allocated some to Sugar and Base Metals.. Very little % of my portfolio though. I consume a lot of sugar.. kidding)

FRM (Financial Risk management) from GARP

FRM is a premier certification for Risk management professionals. Over the last couple of years, following the Financial Crisis, the applications for FRM have increased a lot. Even in Emerging Markets like India, China etc, FRM is being pursued with full rigor.

If you are in a job that deals with Financial Risk Management (Trader, Hedge Fund Manager, Academician, Credit Risk Analyst, Risk Manager, Entrepreneur etc) you may want to add this certification. Now this is conducted in two levels. The major course consists of Credit Risk, Market Risk and Operational Risk. The other subjects include Hedge Funds, Basel Accord etc. The Quartile method of evaluating is followed. The bible for clearing this exam is "Financial Risk Management by Jorion". The Schweser Course material is also helpful. A warning: If you hate mathematics, you make have to work twice hard. I took this exam when it was conducted in only one level. There were no two exams then. Anyway if you are planning to take it, have a look at the GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) site, plan well and work hard. Even the Bionic Turtle provides good course materials. In the end, I would like to emphasizeSchweser Practice Exam Book for 2010 FRM Exam that there is no lack of information.


Proprietary Trading in India

Proprietary trading in India is very less penetrated. The chances are that very few people are aware of this in India. There have been a few companies in India lately into prop trading.Following are the ones I heard of :

a. Futures First
b. AP Corona
c. Jaypee Trading

There were a couple of more something like "CDLA" which went bust. These are risky jobs, but if you are a good trader and get lucky, you might fit these companies very well. These companies share a profit of about 10-20% in addition to a fixed salary. Hence when you are young, you can try your luck here. No harm, if it doesn't work out, you can work for the n number of IT companies which require Capital Market Functional Expertise.

Investing in Precious Metals in India



Gold is the most preferred method of investment in the "Precious Metal" category in India. The availability of ETFs has added more investors who don't prefer in investing in Physical Metal. Even Silver is gaining interest among investors in India. The prices of these metals is driven by the Macro factors.

It is well known that Gold and Silver are correlated. Over the last few decades, Silver has underperformed Gold. The only difference between Gold and Silver is that Silver has its uses in the industries. As the economic recovery is expected, the price of Silver is expected to rise. However people invest in Gold to hedge against the inflation risk.

I personally invest in Gold ETFs. My additional hobby of Numismatics motivates to invest in Silver by buying Silver coins. Though, I don't intend to sell my coins, this just gives an overall satisfaction when the Silver Bullion prices move up. I bought some Silver 1 Rupee Coins of British India over the last 1 year. These coins usually have about 10 grams of Silver. They can be bought today at abt Rs 600 per coin (in case of common coins) when Silver is trading at about Rs. 44 per gram in India.

Shariah ETF in India

For all those people interested in investing in the Islamic Finance products in India, We have a Shariah ETF in India now.

More authentic info: http://www.sebi.gov.in/mfdp/shariahbees.pdf

The liquidity of this fund is not that great these days. I have checked lately to invest in ETFs such as these to diversify my portfolio. The trading mainly happens on NSE (National Stock Exchange). The BSE trading of this fund is minimal.

Basically, the Shariah compliant funds don't invest in business which are not accepted by Islam (Anything related to Alcohol, Habit forming substances, Casino/Gambling). Interestingly, they also don't prefer investing in companies/stocks which have too much debt.

For more info on Islamic Banking: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_banking

Equity ETFs in India

ETF stands for Exchange Traded Funds. ETFs provide a very convenient way of diversification. An ETF as the name indicates is a Fund which is traded on the Exchange. The most popular ETFs are Index ETFs, Gold ETF etc. These are the most popular ones. There could be an ETF created for virtually everything. An Index ETF, for instance mimics the performance of an index. Examples could be "Sensex based ETF", "Nifty based ETF" etc. In the US markets, the volume of ETFs traded is quite high. The S&P 500 ETF , for instance tracks the S&P 500 Index.


Use of Index ETFs: You might have a general feeling that the Indian Economy might do well on the long run. You might also have the feeling that the returns by Sensex over the next 10 years would more than compensate for the risk you take. If you are a low risk investor (in the sense that you wouldn't want to bet on Individual Companies), then ETF is for you. You could go for buying ETFs for certain amount of money every month or do your detailed planning.


Some Index ETFs in India (Which track Indian Indices) are: Quantum Index Fund, Nifty BeEs, Kotak Sensex ETF, Kotak Mahindra - Nifty ETF. Please have a look at the link below for more understanding on Nifty BeEs.
http://www.nseindia.com/content/products/prod_niftybees.htm


Other Index ETFs are also present which track specific indices such as Bank Index, Nifty Junior etc. At present there is only one Index ETF in India which tracks an Equity Index of Hong Kong. This is the only international Equity ETF traded in India right now. This trades on Nifty and is called Hang Seng BeEs. For more information on Hang Seng BeEs, please visit:

http://www.nseindia.com/content/mfss/mf_fd_hsbets.pdf


So sitting here in India, we can gain exposure to the HK Index as well. This is just the beginning. I am sure that in times to come we will have multiple country ETFs or at least the ETFs tracking popular indices like S&P 500, NASDAQ and EuroStoxx 50 (European Index) etc.


Other Equity Indices are DAX 40 (German Index), Nikkei 225 Index (Japanese), CAC 40 (French), FTSE 100 (UK) etc.