FIIs pull out Rs2,000 crore from Indian securities market in September

Market analysts believe the heavy selling by FIIs was triggered by ongoing debt crisis in the Eurozone and weakness in the US economy. The heavy selling by FIIs was the main reason for the BSE benchmark Sensex losing 368 points, or 2% in September

Mumbai: Foreign funds pulled out nearly Rs2,000 crore from the Indian stock and debt market in September, the second consecutive month in which overseas capital outflows were greater than inflows, reports PTI.

According to data available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), overseas investors purchased equity and debt securities worth a gross amount of Rs64,868 crore in September.

At the same time, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) sold securities worth Rs66,734 crore during the month. This translated into a net outflow of Rs1,866 crore during the period.

This was the second consecutive month in which there was a net outflow of FII money from the country. Last month, foreign funds pulled out nearly Rs8,000 crore, or $1.8 billion, from the Indian stock and debt market-the highest monthly withdrawal since October 2008.

In October 2008, foreign fund houses were net sellers of equities and debt worth Rs13,489 crore.

Market analysts believe the heavy selling by FIIs was triggered by ongoing debt crisis in the Eurozone and weakness in the US economy.

The heavy selling by FIIs was the main reason for the BSE benchmark Sensex losing 368 points, or 2% in September.

FIIs withdrew money from both the equity and debt market.

They pulled out more capital from the debt market than equities during the period under review.

Foreign fund houses pulled out Rs158 crore from the stock market and Rs1,707 crore from the debt market during September 2011, SEBI said.

So far this year, FIIs have pumped in Rs17,664.60 crore into the stock and bond markets, compared to about Rs1,79,674 crore in the whole of 2010.

The number of FIIs registered with SEBI stood at 1,745 as of September this year.


AMFI to launch new portal for all mutual fund transactions

'MF Utility', which is expected to commence operations in the first week of April 2012, will help customers, distributors and financial advisors carry out transactions in mutual fund schemes across all asset management companies (AMCs) at one place

Mumbai: The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) plans to launch a portal, MF Utility, next fiscal that will facilitate transactions by customers, distributors and financial advisors in schemes offered by various asset management companies on a single, unified platform, reports PTI.

"MF Utility is planned to commence operations by the first week of April 2012, subject to appropriate clearances from SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India)," mutual fund trade body AMFI's chief executive HN Sinor said while addressing the body's 16th Annual General Meeting.

The new portal will help customers, distributors and financial advisors carry out transactions in mutual fund schemes across all asset management companies (AMCs) at one place.

Various issues, including ways to encourage overall growth of the mutual fund industry and foster increased participation by retail investors, especially in smaller towns, were discussed at the meeting.

Meanwhile, Franklin Templeton AMC president Harshendu Bindal and Deutsche AMC chief executive officer Suresh Soni have joined AMFI's board as directors.

In addition, HDFC AMC managing director Milind Barve was re-elected as chairman and Sundeep Sikka, the chief executive officer of Reliance AMC, as vice-chairman of AMFI.

In order to create awareness among investors, AMFI has been conducting various advertising campaigns across the country. Till August 2011, 3,486 investor awareness programmes covering 173 cities have been organised.

"Financial literacy cannot come overnight. It is a generational game and we have to continue with this effort on an ongoing basis," Mr Sinor said, adding that mutual fund industry can grow only if we are able to create trust within the investing public.

Mr Sinor also said the mutual fund industry plans to create a group of respected independent individuals to look into the grievances of investors and take quick remedial measures.


Amazon Kindles a new Fire, but the spark lay in its browser

The Amazon Fire, a seven-inch tablet, does not have enough ammunition to take on the Apple iPad. But its Silk browser has capabilities which make it optimal for any tablet and cloud computing—hence, it has a great chance of dominating the browser market

The technology space is witness to a flurry of activity in recent weeks and Amazon fired a salvo of its own to add to the raging skirmishes across the sphere. The founder-CEO of Amazon, Jeffrey Bezos, launched the Kindle Fire on Wednesday amidst much fanfare and under the scrutiny of media eager to see if they have finally seen a worthy competitor to the iconic Apple iPad. The Fire is a seven-inch tablet that runs on Android and priced at an inviting $199, a point that is bound to encourage adaption.

The market is abuzz with the possibility of Fire turning into a serious competitor for the iPad, but that is more likely stretched imagination than a reasonable understanding of market realities.

Even at the risk of killing the bird before it takes wing, there are several reasons why the Fire does not have what it takes to challenge the sweeping success of the tablets from Apple. For starters, there are a number of seven-inch tablets that treat success and survival as synonyms from Asus to Samsung, and Amazon will have its task cut out if it has to make Fire achieve meaningful market penetration.

The fact that Fire is Wi-Fi only will handicap users in a world that is rapidly migrating to 3G. Fire has a single variant with a memory of just 8GB.The device does not connect to Google's Android market, instead it'll drive consumers to the Amazon App Store. It hardly compares with the reach and depth of Google's well-established market place for Android apps. At last count, the store had just over 10,000 apps listed for download, compared to over 2,00,000 apps hosted on Google's ever-growing marketplace. And for a generation that is thriving on voice & video interaction, the lack of a camera and microphone will be a big disappointment.

It is more likely that Fire will attract attention from the price-sensitive segment that migrates from the more conventional computing forms to the fast-growing tablet space. While there is substantial growth in the tablet market, giants like HP and RIM have been forced to eat humble pie despite similarly-touted products that measured far better against the king of the market, the iPad.

In a market that Forrester Research estimates will grow by 51% annually till 2015, Apple has cornered over 80% of the market and continues to hold steady despite the many clones that have flooded the market in recent times. It is unlikely that Fire can chip away at Apple's dominance.

The things that work well for Amazon are its highly visible Web-store and the seamless customer experience. We will know in a couple of months if Amazon succeeds at leveraging its strengths to ship an expected 4 million units. In a research report published by Piper Jaffray Companies, it was estimated that Amazon might be making a loss of almost $50 on each unit sold. But Bezos is confident that Amazon will be able to attract customers on the basis of the treasure trove of multimedia content in its possession. "I think of it as a service," he said in an interview on 28th September. "Part of the Kindle Fire is of course the hardware, but really, it's the software, the content, it's the seamless integration of those things."

But then Research In Motion (RIM) was similarly exuberant with Playbook but only managed to sell a meagre 2,00,000 units since its launch in the second quarter of this year. RIM is facing growing rumours of a Touchpad-styled discontinuation of its tablet, much like the HP fire-sale in August when the personal computing giant sold the last available devices at throwaway prices.

On the other hand, Apple is making merry, clocking a profit of $149 per unit on the lowest variant of its iPad—padding itself in glory amidst robust sales numbers. Apple shipped 9.25 million tablets in the second quarter of this year.  Amazon's window of opportunity is set to close soon, with Apple set to steal the headlines again with the prospective launch of the next generation iPhone in early October.

In a scenario such as this, Amazon might be remembered more for its innovative browser called 'Silk' and less for the tablet. Silk is a cloud accelerated browser, moving some of the resource-intensive computing to the cloud, leading to a more seamless and racy browsing experience.

While Opera Mini has a similar architecture, Silk has been designed for greater efficiencies with the ability to optimise content for the tablet-for instance, it could optimise 3MB to just 50KB through processes such as file compression performed seamlessly on Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) service.

And when the cloud service is down, which is a rare event in itself, Silk has the capability to execute from Fire, albeit at a slower pace. If Amazon can allay fears around privacy and security, Silk could pave the way for a redefined browsing experience.


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