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BW Businessworld

Small Change

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It is ironic that we will not let foreigners invest directly in the retail business, but will let them own stocks in our companies. But even throwing a ticker tape parade or rolling out the red carpet is unlikely to get those investors to come rushing in.

The latest government move to allow qualified individuals and institutions to invest directly in the Indian equity market is part of a continuing process; last year, foreign individuals and institutions (read pension funds) were allowed to invest in mutual funds. But sadly, they have not been queuing up to buy mutual funds either.

The global environment is not conducive to taking a bet on our markets: the weakness of the currency and macroeconomics is forcing existing foreign institutional investors to seek alternatives.

Companies are still overvalued relative to their peers in other large emerging markets. Also, Indian corporate performance has been far short of spectacular in the last two years.
 
The measure seems logical, but is perhaps mistimed.

STRICTLY BUSINESS

ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank, has said it will allow customers to access their bank accounts through Facebook. While it looks like a great move, security loopholes in Facebook will need to be addressed.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 16-01-2012)


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