Market Outlook_3rd July
The economic outlook is uncertain; above 8% inflation, rising crude oil, huge sundry subsidy bills and farmers’ loan write-off have added to the fiscal deficit. The market is now reflecting this uncertainty. In the previous issue, we had mentioned 15,000 as one of the key levels to watch out for. At the time of writing this article, this level has not yet been breached on a weekly basis, though, on an intra-week basis, the index did touch a low of 14,889 on the trading day ended 10th June. We had so far maintained that the primary (long-term) trend is up. However, we may need to revise our outlook now. One of the first long-term trend-lines indicating the primary trend has, indeed, been violated. The trend-line that we get by joining 6,154 (29 April 2005) and 7,685 (28 October 2005) has been broken decisively in the week ended 6 June 2008. The next important targets for the Sensex are 15,000 (the index ended at 14,994 on 19 March 2008) and 14,570 (closing of weeks ended 9 February 2007 and 1 June 2007). It would still be hasty to declare that a bear market has set in. Whether the market declines much further would depend on macro-economic data and how the current worries of the economy are handled. If the situation worsens, we may be headed towards much lower levels. We will avoid speculating on that and take cues from market action. The next few weeks would be crucial.

India Foils
Market Price: Rs1270
Target Price: Rs1450
Period: 2 months
Asian Paints has been on a continuous upward journey since mid-2001 when the stock broke out of a price base of about Rs185 and hit a range of Rs275-Rs345; it remained there till the end of 2004. It then resumed its upward journey hitting a high of Rs669 in February 2006 and then fell to about Rs570 at the end of May 2006. Thereafter, it again resumed its northward journey in almost a straight line till it reached Rs1,246 at the end of January 2008. The stock fell to about Rs1,115 at the end of February 2008 and then again rose to reach the current levels of Rs1,287. On the weekly charts, for our purpose of forecasting, one can take Rs1,100 to be the base level. This was reached in the week ended 22 February 2008. The stock has taken a bit of effort to get out of this level, thus forming what is called a support/resistance zone. From there, it reached Rs1,275 in the week ended 25 April 2008. The next target should be Rs1,400-Rs1,450 in about two months. This is clearly a short-term momentum play. The trader should bear in mind that he is just riding the last phase of a momentum. Keep a strict stop-loss, as the stock has been rising for a very long time and, indeed, a correction is due, probably after the momentum plays out.

Taste This!
Market Price: Rs68
Target Price: Rs125-Rs130
Period: 4 months
Bhagwati Banquets and Hotels is currently in the last phase of an ascending triangle formation. The beginning of this pattern can be traced back to late July/ early August 2007 when the stock had hit Rs30. From there, it steadily rose to reach Rs89.05 in the week ended 7 December 2007. The scrip fell immediately thereafter and tried to stage a recovery hitting Rs88.35 in the week ended 28 December 2007. This attempt failed and the stock fell to Rs59.45 in the week ended 25 January 2008. After moving sideways for a while between Rs73 and Rs58, it recovered and rose to Rs87 levels in the week ended 16 May 2008. In the current market fall, the scrip has declined and is now around Rs69. The stock has recovered on the daily charts and is now currently turning upwards. We expect it to rise and complete the ascending triangle pattern for which the target is Rs125-Rs130 in about four months. – Anirban Banerjee
(The author invites your comments. Please mail him at:[email protected])

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Music for the Soul
Sunday, 1 June 2008. A couple of hundred true aficionados of Hindustani classical music made their way to the Ravindra Natya Mandir at Prabhadevi for the rare pleasure of listening to Begum Afroz Bano, a well-respected name in the world of Indian classical and semi-classical music. These were die-hard fans of the genre – they decided to put it ahead of the IPL cricket final telecast at the same time.

This fourth MoneyLIFE event was sponsored by Axis Bank and provided an unusual musical treat to our readers and the Bank’s priority customers because of the very infrequent public performances by this senior artiste. Begum Afroz Bano is among the very last of the old-time singers of the lighter variants of Hindustani classical music (thumri, dadra, kajari, chaiti, hori, mand and ghazal) like Begum Akhtar, Siddheshwari Devi and Shobha Gurtu who had audiences spell-bound with their open-throated renditions. In her stage presence and style of singing Afroz Bano is perhaps among the last of that generation of outstanding and radiant singers who create a magical old-world charm and leave a deep impression on the listeners’ minds with her utter simplicity of approach, intense musical involvement and complete commitment to the great traditions of her gayaki.

Born in a family of traditional vocalists, Afroz Bano was trained under Ustad Sadullah Khan and Ustad Abdul Rehman Khan of the Patiala gharana and Ustad Fayyaz Ahmed Khan of the Kirana gharana. Her husband Ustad Hidayat Khan is the famed tabla maestro-musician of the Jaipur gharana.

The small auditorium decorated with bright marigold and filled with the fragrance of jasmine provided the setting of a mehfil and set the mood for the performance which flowed effortlessly from one rendition to another with barely a pause. Begum Afroz Bano regaled the audience with her opening thumri in raag manj-khamaj. A tuneful dadra was followed by a sprightly chaiti and the longing of viraha ras was expressed in a melancholy kajri.

As Pandit Nayan Ghosh, the tabla expert, explained: “Kajri is a form of folk music from the Benaras region. The word is derived from kajra or kajal, meaning a dark shade and, therefore, implying the monsoon with heavy grey clouds. These are sung in anticipation of the monsoon and describe the various moods and sentiments of a nayika with pangs of separation.” The playfulness of the well-known mukhada, ‘Hamar kahi mano Rajaji’, made famous by the great Begum Akhtar, had the audiences in raptures. The artiste brought out the subtle and provocative warning of the wife to the bounder not to get swayed (bhilam mat jana) by the long tresses and charms of the other woman, while being vicariously appreciative of her! Begum Afroz Bano closed her performance with the well-known Bhairavi “Jau tose nahi bolu” a plaint of the newly wedded bride who refuses to lift her veil (ghungata kaise kholun), thereby suggesting (without explicitly saying so) to her rather dull-witted beau to do the honours himself.

ai’ While she sang each of her pieces with awesome authority, what made her presentation so enchanting was the lilt and lift she gave to the words. This is literally called vajan (weight), which sets apart great masters from also-rans. Thus she imbued each of the well-worn pieces (exceptions being the rarely heard Mand and the Kalingda-Gauri type of virahini) with a freshly-minted aspect that almost invited the listener to make comparisons, only to demonstrate how futile the exercise was. Such was the serene confidence of the diva who seemed so enviably, completely grounded in her tradition and talim.

The artiste was accompanied on the tabla by Khadim Hussain of Vadodara, a disciple of Ustad Hidayat Khan, on the harmonium by Naseer Khan of Jaipur and on the sarangi by Mumbai’s Anwar Hussain. Her eldest daughter, Farida Begum, lent her vocal support. The evening was possible due to the efforts of Pandit Nayan Ghosh of Sangit Mahabharti and his team, who have been archiving Hindustani classical music for many years.

While MoneyLIFE’s earlier events have been focused on workshops aimed at sharpening investment skills and safeguarding one’s assets, this one focused on the ‘life’ aspect embedded in our brand. We are encouraged by the huge reader response to all the events so far and hope to do more such events that cover Life as well as Money.

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