Things That Make Me Go Ufff!

Pot-holes, potty pancakes, speed-breakers without warning, cars parked in the middle of the road…

Ghost-drivers, dangling electricity wires, open garbage piles, spiky iron-rods dangling from trucks…

Power-cuts, red-tape, policy paralysis, red-siren cars…

Politicians, their “Gandhi-mileage” fixation, mass-corruption, and highly selfish lives…

Negligence to the extent of culpable homicide, fire-brigades arriving late due to pathetic infrastructure, lack of facilities in government schools, over-flooded government hospitals…

Aid that doesn’t reach the needy, lack of development in states far away from the capital, mis-reporting of economic figures to paint good numbers, lack of political will to tackle inflation…

Spurious liquour that kills hundreds, a judicial system that makes you want to stay away, police that intimidates you instead of helping, religion that is used as a weapon…

The police-criminal nexus and profit-sharing, political rallies where “supporters” are paid to join the rally, the bullying of private organizations and non-government organizations by governmental agencies, extortion of small businesses by local government bosses…

Curriculums that cause school-going kids to become sick, no stray-animal policy imposition, lack of sewage infrastructure despite imposition of corresponding taxes, the embracing of nuclear power without possessing the precision and attitude to deal with it safely…

Traffic-cops that are fully focused on their own pockets, millions of bottle-necks that induce road-rage, a totally warped sex-ratio due to generations of male-bias in our society, the black-market in cooking-gas cyllinders…

The 440 V electric bursts that annihilate home-appliances despite surge-protection, slap-fixation by the media that makes one slap look like a million slaps, the fact that we Indians still haven’t learnt to queue up, the lack of realization by us that India is neither an oil-rich nor a water-rich nation…

Spurious everything, rotting food-grain, street-lamps burning in broad daylight, never-ending toll-tax even after an infrastructure has paid for itself…

The dizzy figures of each new corruption scam…

The speed at which an epidemic spreads owing to an overall lack of cleanliness…

A burgeoning population and zilch efforts to harness and enjoy its demographic dividend…

The gross misuse of one’s connections that one has to resort to, to beat the system and sometimes, to survive…

The lack of common-sense that prevails in our society…

These are some of the things that make me go ufff!

It’s because of many of the above-stated issues that the chances of India becoming a super-power in the near future are highly unlikely.

What happens after that depends on how well we tackle these and related matters.

Is This Blood?

When there’s blood on the streets, that’s when you should go out and invest.

That’s an ancient proverb.

The 64 million dollar question is, IS THIS BLOOD?

I’m going to focus on India, because that’s my playground.

So ICICI Bank breached the 700 mark, did it? The 2009 low was around 250 bucks. At 700, it’s not blood. True, the banking sector is down. However, we are nowhere near blood levels. State Bank of India might have fallen around 50 % this year, but it’s still double the price of its 5 year low.

The Sensex shows an average price to earnings ratio of around 14. Remember 2008 and 2009? Average PE of about 9? Well, in my opinion, those are blood levels. These aren’t.

True, the mid-cap segment has taken a hammering. Let’s take Sintex Industries. At 75 levels, this stock has fallen big. Nevertheless, it’s still double the price of it’s 2009 low. At 98 rupees, Jain Irrigation has really fallen too. The PE ratio has come down from 35+ to around 14, and this looks attractive. Even Sintex’s sub-5 PE ratio looks very attractive, also because the company is aggressively pursuing water-purification and “green-innovation”. Agreed, attraction to invest is present, especially in the mid-cap arena, where you’re likely to find quality in management too, as opposed to the small-cap area, where this is less likely. However, to say that there’s overall mayhem here would be going too far.

The BSE small-cap index has halved since late 2010, but is again at double the 2009 low. Many small-cap stocks are bleeding badly, though. Most small-caps haven’t proven their pedigree yet. Thus, people are letting them bleed.

Then there are stocks like Karuturi Global and KS Oils, that have been hammered down to penny-stock levels. One has problems getting into such stocks, because the underlying story can be shady. With penny stocks, there’s always the danger of oblivion, i.e. they might cease to exist down the line. Such stocks need to be traded at best, with small amounts and for the short-term. In their present conditions, they are not investment-grade stocks.

The picture that emerges is that there are selective attractive bets being offered by Mrs. Market. There are good investments to be made for long-term investors, if you possess patience and holding-power. I’m short on patience, so I like to trade India. That should not deter you. If you are a long-termer, and have what it takes, well, then you are a long-termer. And this market is offering you some good bets, so be very selective and go for it, but don’t bet the farm, since we’re not seeing all-out blood on the street yet.

What Are We, Really? (Part 2)

Negligence to the extent of culpable homicide not amounting to murder…

That’s the charge against the directors of AMRI hospital.

Papers say combustible waste was stored in the basement, which caught fire, resulting in mass carbon-monoxide poisoning through the A/C shaft, apart from the deaths due to fire.

Short cuts and lack of common-sense have become a way of life with us.

What are we, really?

A large bunch of idiot citizens? What kind of a hogwash country do we live in? Is anyone going to take India seriously for a longish period of time?

There are periods of performance, but eventually, the cracks in our system show up.

Negligence. Corruption. Apathy. Policy paralysis. Etc. etc.

What results for India is a volatile performance graph, with back to back upticks for some years in a row, till the cracks erupt. Then there are some big-time back to back downticks. India’s economic performance graph is the epitome of volatility. It is a trader’s dream.

India is not going to be a uniform ball game for a long time, till the India Inc. – Bharat divide is somewhat bridged and till the cracks are tackled intelligently and with resolve.

Till that happens, just sheer trade India, way up, way down. Trade, trade, trade. Treat India as a trade.

We live in a land of contrasts. Its political graph will thus show big contrasts, and so will its business graph.

India might not deserve to be invested in because of the above-mentioned cracks, but it definitely deserves to be traded.

In fact, it is literally screaming to be traded.

Survival Basics – Building a Baseline

Who are you?

Do you really know that?

What’s your core reaction to stuff, let’s say market stuff?

How do you react to a crisis? Do you freak out? How much do you plan to avoid a crisis? How do you feel after hitting a home run? Do you get over-confident and start doing irresponsible things?

What happens to you when the scenario is dull? Do you get depressed? Can you take it?

If you’ve dealt with these and more of such questions, well, bully for you, because you’ve already gone about building your market baseline. And that’s a really proper / solid approach to Mrs. Market.

A baseline is a basic point of reference. It tells you how you normally react to a particular situation. It also lists the emotions you went through, and the consequences you had to suffer owing to your actions. As experience piles up, the number of situations you can refer for also increases.

So, let’s say something unusual happens in the markets. Hmmm, let’s say Greece officially goes bankrupt, and let’s say that you are net-net long, and have been caught unawares. What do you do with your positions? With all the mayhem around you, right, what do you do?

Basics of survival in the markets – in a crisis, refer to your baseline.

Your baseline takes you back to the Lehman default. You remember being net-net long, being caught unawares. You remember ignoring your stops, waiting for a rally. Futures wiped out your principal, didn’t they, because you answered margin calls and waited? You remember the long period of depression after that. Worth it? Naehhh.

So, after referring to your baseline, you don’t ignore your stops. Taking the immediate loss, you bail out of your positions. A large portion of your principal is still intact, living to fight another day.

What about euphoria? How do you deal with euphoria? A position turns into a winner, and you are sitting on a 25% profit in a few days. You are feeling really kicked, and are walking with a swagger. What do you do next?

Basics of prosperity in the markets – at the onset of euphoria, refer to your baseline.

Your baseline tells you, that your behaviour during your last big-winning trade was far from exemplary. In your euphoric state of mind, you were already imagining all the things you would buy with your notional profits. Then, you panicked at the thought of losing any of those notional profits, and you squared-off the trade, taking those profits home, only to see the scrip soar another 80%.

Right! You snap out of your euphoria because of your baseline memory. Then, you install a trigger-stop 8% below the scrip’s current market price. Good. In an effort to capture even more profits, you have put a small part of your existing profits at stake. That’s exemplary behaviour, because now there’s a good chance of capturing a part of the scrip’s further rise.

And boredom? What do you do when Mrs. Market bores you? As in, stops being hit both ways, going nowhere, no market strategy yielding profits? Happens, sometimes for many months in a row.

Basics of maturity in the markets – when Mrs. Market goes nowhere, refer to your baseline.

Oh how you wished you hadn’t ruined that family holiday, right, by continuing to take pot-shots at Mrs. Market the last time she went nowhere. That’s what your baseline is saying.

You switch off, go on another (this time enjoyable) family holiday, and come back refreshed to see that Mrs. Market is now trending, ready to take you for a drive in one set direction.

There’s no limit to baseline referrals.

Systematic players build a baseline, and keep referring to it.

Later, we remember them as successful players.