Is this the time of a new 'Golden Age'?

Jul 15, 2011

In this issue:
» Is the world crisis spelling a better future for Indian IT?
» Another round of rate hikes may be on its way
» Why do FIIs keep flocking to India?
» The US is losing its AAA status
» ...and more!
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In Greek Mythology, the 'Golden Age' was the first sequence in a series of four or five stages of human existence. It was a time of peace and harmony. People were prosperous, and there was stability in the ancient world.

But now things are completely different. In current times of uncertainty and despair, 'gold' is the only stable anchor we have to cling on to. Not surprisingly, gold is constantly breaking new barriers almost every other day. This news accompanies other gloomy headlines of debt defaults and economies going bankrupt. The price of gold yesterday rose to a new record high of US$ 1,594 per ounce. So the question on everyone's mind is whether the golden bull-run will ever run out? Is this the time of a new Golden Age?

Well, judging by the various price drivers of this yellow metal, we believe that the bull-run still has some steam left in it. Besides the usual demand for jewellery and industrial purposes, gold has of late taken on a key role of being a financial investment. It traditionally moves in the direction opposite to the US dollar. Thus it is a good hedge against currency volatility. The US, is in a dicey situation, with its AAA rating being threatened. Economic data is weak, and the government is pretty much helpless. Central banks across the world, have been dumping the US dollar, and buying gold. Asian central banks, and recently Russia and Mexico have added to their gold reserves. All this has supported gold's price rise.

Gold is also considered as a safe haven against fiscal and political tensions worldwide. With no political affiliations the yellow metal has been the key beneficiary of tensions in Middle East and Europe. The metal is also a natural hedge against inflation, which has been plaguing emerging market countries, especially India, and China. If and when QE3 happens, a further flood of cheap money will drive up inflation, and thus gold prices.

Are you still buying gold? Do you also believe that this is the time of a new Golden Age? Share your views with us or post your views on our Facebook page.

 Chart of the day
Sales growth of Indian firms has soared past other world markets over the past five years, rising at an annual average pace of 27%. Sales growth in India was also far higher than an average of 16% for the developing world. This is according to the 2006-2010 study by Ernst and Young (E&Y). In contrast the developed world only managed to grow at a dismal annual average of 5%. Most BRIC (Brazil, China, India, and Russia) nations also saw similar high growth as can be seen in today's chart. Most of the sales growth came on the back of higher GDP growth numbers in these emerging markets. Oil & gas and mining companies benefitted from higher commodity prices too.

Source: Business Standard, E&Y

It was the maverick economist Maynard Keynes who had once said that we are all dead in the long term. True. But it may be equally true that by focusing too much on the short term, we could fail miserably in our quest of making good returns on our investments. This is exactly the credo that the FIIs seem to be living with currently. For most of them seem to be bullish on India despite its short term concerns. This was borne out by interviews conducted with them by a leading business daily. One of them put it across quite well, we should say. It was of the opinion that India is growing at 8% per annum and at that rate, an economy doubles itself every 8-9 years. Now contrast this with the developed world that is growing at 2.25% and doubling its economy in as much as 30 years and the attractiveness of India becomes apparent. Thus, on a short term basis, India would indeed be expensive as compared to its peers, but FIIs could keep flocking to it over time.

Worsening debt situation is indeed causing a lot of headaches for the US economy. The government's gargantuan stimulus packages, while they did nothing to contribute to any meaningful economic recovery, instead added on to the economy's already increasing debt. And while reducing the same seems like the most obvious solution, it is easier said than done. The political debate about the US' fiscal stance and the related issue of the US government debt ceiling has only become more entangled. As a result, leading rating agencies including Standard & Poor have warned the US of a possible downgrade from its current AAA rating. Indeed, a downgrade for US debt will have serious repercussions for the global financial markets as given that US bonds are perceived to be the safest investment in the world. But that is a perception that the countries across the world will have to change in light of the sorry state of affairs in the world's largest economy.

The global environment maybe going through a tough time. But the world's crisis seems to be spelling a better future for the Indian IT industry. This is particularly true, for the country's largest software company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The company, which recently reported its quarterly earnings, is optimistic about future opportunities. It expects the main driver for future growth to be the uncertainty in global environment. This uncertainty is forcing customers to adapt to the changing environment and outsource more work. TCS reported a 7.5% growth in volumes. At the same time, it has stated that it is seeing its deal pipelines growing. These are clear indicators that demand has improved for the company in recent times.

Looks like another round of interest rate hikes is on its way. While continuous rate hikes will dampen the investor sentiments in the market and pull back growth, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) does not have much of a choice in the matter. Seasonal effects, rising food prices, hike in the fuel prices and high prices of mineral and manufactured goods are getting reflected in the inflation numbers. The inflation for June at 9.4% has risen up by 0.38% on a month on month basis, calling for further tightening of monetary policy. The upwardly revised inflation numbers for April have further raised concerns that we may already have crossed double digit inflation.

Even the Government cannot do much to contain prices as global commodity prices play the culprit. It is left with two alternatives: Growth or price control? We suggest that the RBI should crack down on inflation. While a rise in interest rates may drag growth in the near term, it will ensure that the long term health of the economy remains intact.

This was something long overdue. In fact if this is the way the government looks at the business dynamics of PSUs, their valuations could go in for a major overhaul. We are referring to the government decision to resolve the tariff-cost mismatch for the power sector. So far the players in the sector like most other government entities have been treated as means of social welfare. Hence the necessity to ensure the profitability of their operations has been overlooked. However, now the government has awakened to a stark reality. That its disinvestment targets will remain on paper unless the PSU's focus is on shareholder returns. As a step in this direction, the government will allow the power utilities to revise their tariffs so as to be able to pass on rise in fuel costs. Further all outstanding dues from state governments will be cleared promptly. Further loans from the state government will be converted to government equity to ensure improvement in net worth. We believe that steps could go a long way in improving the perception and valuations of PSUs in India.

The Indian stock markets have wiped early gains and are now trading in the red. At the time of writing, the benchmark BSE Sensex was down by 60 points (0.3%). Barring IT stocks, all sectoral indices were trading in the red. Asian stock markets were trading mixed with Taiwan and South Korea leading the gains while Hong Kong and Malaysia were among the major losers.

 Today's investing mantra
"An important key to investing is to remember that stocks are not lottery tickets." - Peter Lynch

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9 Responses to "Is this the time of a new 'Golden Age'?"


Jul 15, 2011

gold or for that matter any precious metal is going to have a gala in a few years time from now. Already gold is picking up and is in the zone of 23 k. By deevali many predict it to touch 25 k. Accumulate in physical hall mark form guinea or coins, And forget for a few yrs.See the same glittering



Jul 15, 2011

Dear Sir,

Currency is not simply a paper, its our hard labor, knowledgeable effort,and so on.But gold is just a metal, which can not be used for any real life use.Still WHY is this cheating tactics of boosting this metal to the Himalayan height! Like any thing else this is also a filthy trick of rich to become reach. Until economy spread among all category of population the real growth of HAPPY, PEACE,&HARMONY are not going to be our wealth.



Jul 15, 2011

I agree that there are lots of concerns right now and sentiments are too bad.
But if we look at prices also, most of this negative factor is in price. As we
always know that when the market sentiment is negative, that is a right point
for investors to enter. So I feel that there is lots of noises, lots of concerns,
but whether all this has been factored into price. I would say majority of these
concerns are in price. So for investor I would say this is a right opportunity to
buy this market on dips.
Japan, there would be lots of damage or concern in terms of human health, but if
you look at like economic crisis or damage to economy, I think already it has
been factored in prices. Now if we look at Libya, I think that there is almost
like in chronic case which is not going to damage further. Europe does not seem
that matters deteriorating from the fact that we have seen whatever we have heard,
it appears that all these negatives are in prices. Suppose now if oil tomorrow for
whatever reason not sustaining at the level as today concern is; we know
it very well once it go to this level there are good chances that demand will lower
and prices are going to come down. This is the worst case scenario that says 110-120
if it remains so definitely stock price is not going to go further down from here,
but if suppose there is an implement like if we say interest rate cycle over, I feel
that, that is also picked out over here, should appear that if you consider lots of
negative factor which actually weighed on this market, it appears that we are seeing
or we are somewhere at the peak of this interest cycle. We are somewhere at the peak
of crude oil prices. So if there is any positive on this front in say 15-20 days we
will see the market improve from here. So it appears that the market is having too
much of a concern and lots are in prices. So I feel that investors should take a
bold step looking at historical valuation. India has been stable at the price valuation
of around 1415. So right now anything below this I think would be a good profitable trade


Jack Wilson

Jul 15, 2011

When 15 rate hikes have not made a dent in the inflation numbers, do you seriously think that another one would help? RBI is barking up the wrong tree. I am no economist but isn't it true that most of the inflation in India is food related? And one's gotta eat regardless of the state of economy or interest rates. It's ironical that we are facing food inflation, while excess foodgrain is rotting due to lack of storage facilities. In such a situation, how does raising interest rates tame inflation?


uday mehta

Jul 15, 2011

I believe gold should first touch 1280 and then continue its upward journey to 2500. In any case 1280 is the stop loss.



Jul 15, 2011




Jul 15, 2011

Eq.Master Team,

AFTER GOING THROUGH YOUR ABOVE WRITE-UP ,I am prompted to remember vividly the 4 weeks of a month for a Salary earning Employee which were very analogous/coterminus with the metallic names assigned to them thus ::

The First Week of the month : " GOLDEN " Week (Flush with money ;

The 2nd Week :" SILVER "week (a little less prosperous )??

The 3rd Week : "COPPER" Week when only small loose coins are left in hand ;

and finally

the 4th Week :: "PAUPPER" WEEK which means fully BROKE with nothing left in the WALLET ??

Should I elucidate any further regarding the Golden era or Golden Age any further which may not be much different from the point of view of the salary earner
as explained above ?? ??
en to conclude !!
I hast



Jul 15, 2011

sooner or later EURO countries will start defaulting - may be 3 years from now & US will have unsustainable debt & dollor may cease to exist as world currency, in such a scenariao gold can go to USD 5000 PER OUNCE or 1,00,000 INR per 10 gm.


Naushad Patel

Jul 15, 2011

Yes, precious metals, in this economically tumbling world (and its not over yet) will be the refuge to retain value. Unfortunately everyone on the retail side will get in too late at the last minute, well after governments and institutions have had their fill.
Buy now and forget for a few years, whatever the movements in between

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