• Play ‘reverse arbitrage’ in stocks in these tough times
    • Know anything about this concept?
    • As futures of many key index stocks are quoting at a significant discount to spot prices, some aggressive foreign fund houses are learnt to have been borrowing shares heavily in a bid to cash in on the situation. These overseas players borrow the shares for an interest charge, sell the shares in the market, and simultaneously buy an equivalent quantity of the futures of that stock that are available at discount. This entire transaction is known as ‘reverse arbitrage’ in market parlance.
    • The difference between the sale price of the shares and the purchase price of the futures is the profit for the foreign fund house. This difference, also called spread, has to be wide enough for this investor to be able to lock in a neat profit after paying the interest charge on the borrowed shares.
    • Reverse arbitrage, though perfectly legitimate, also tends to drag down prices in a scenario where there is not enough buying support. Stock futures quoting at a discount means investors are bearish in their outlook on the stock prices. So when shares are sold to capture the arbitrage opportunity, the prophecy becomes self-fulfilling. Incidentally, the same mechanism was in force, but in the opposite direction, when the market was rising. When investors were selling futures and buying shares, indices would rise as a result of the cash market purchases.
  • Nepal prez poll run-off today
    • Remember anything about a run-off poll? We noted this for the first time on 10th May 2007 in connection with Presidential election in East Timor.
    • Now Nepal is set to witness a run-off poll in connection with its Presidential elections in view of the emergence of a clear winner.
    • Nepali Congress (NC) candidate Ram Baran Yadav and Maoist candidate Ram Raja Prasad Singh are in the fray.
  • What are Mirchi Kaan awards about?
    • They celebrate and laud the best work in radio advertising.
    • For the year 2008, Leo Burnett were the runners-up with 11 awards and O&M (Ogilvy and Mather) had amassed the maximum with 13.
  • I am sure many of you would have heard about IDRBT, the Hyderabad based Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technologies. But have you heard about AdRBT?
    • It stands for Ad Ring Back Tone. It is the new wave of advertisement. Via AdRBTs, each time a person calls he will hear an ad instead of a ring tone.
    • Here’s how AdRBTs work: When a caller calls an AdRBT subscriber he gets to hear an ad instead of the normal ring (until the called party answers the call). When the ad is being played the caller has the option of pressing “#” as a response to hear the product/offer being advertised. This key press is recognised and remembered by the system. Once the call ends the system triggers an action such as delivery of the offer through a coupon or automatic call back giving information about the product or a WAP URL push, etc.
    • RCOM created one of the first of its kind AdRBTs for the Reliance Power IPO, which hit the markets in January 2008. Reliance Power jingle was estimated to have been heard 800 million to 1000 million times, which is 3-5 times over other traditional media reaching millions of people across the globe.
  • Mumbai to have exclusive e-waste dumpsite
    • Mumbai, which tops the list in generating the highest amount of electronic waste in the country, is all set to have an exclusive site for dumping e-waste. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials would be finalising a landfill site exclusively to treat and dump ewaste.
  • Language lessons: gobsmacked
    • slang astonished and astounded
    • Eg: The one thing about India that leaves the world continuously gobsmacked is the country’s boundless entrepreneurial spirit.
  • The entrepreneurial Indian farmer
    • If you are asked to state four things that demonstrate the ‘never say die’ entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian farmer, what would they be? Compare your notes with the following given by Rajrishi Singhal in today’s ET? He compares the Indian farmer’s spirit to a marathon. A very good read.

1. Underbanking leading to an embrace by the money lender.

2. Facing the unscrupulous local shops selling seeds and fertilizers.

3. The wait for the rains in view of the inadequacy of irrigation facilities.

4. Braving the local mandi middleman to dispose of his produce.

  • SMiShing & Vishing
    • SMS phishing or SMiShing misleads the user to visit a website.
    • ‘Vishing’ directs the user to call on a number, for instance the customer care number of a telecom service provider, which instead is routed to a hacker.
  • The case for improving agriculture yields
    • India’s average rice yield today is 2.9 tonnes per hectare. By comparison, China’s average rice yield, at 6.3 tonnes per hectare, is more than double that of India. South Korea has achieved an even higher rice yield, i.e., 6.8 tonnes per hectare.
    • India has 170 million hectares under foodgrain cultivation, producing 220 million tonnes of foodgrains in a year. China has only 60% of this arable land area. But it is able to harvest twice the quantity of foodgrains that India produces.
    • About 60% of our farmers own only 0.4 hectares of land each. Another 20% of farmers hold an average of 1.4 hectares each. Therefore 80% of our farmers are small and marginal farmers.
    • In the light of the above reported facts, what can you suggest as measures to improve agriculture yields? I leave it to you to wrack your brains and come up with solutions. While doing so, you may find it worthwhile to look at this table that appeared in today’s ET. If you would share your thoughts on the shout box or through mail, that would be nice.
  • Look at where India’s carbon emissions would be by 2017
  • Karun Chandok
    • He became the only Indian to have the Indian national anthem played on a Formula 1 weekend. The first time was at Spa in 2007. Now by winning the GP2 Series for a second time, in Hockenheim, Germany, on Sunday.