Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Pulse Beat

Statins aren’t Nice

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the highest watchdog for clinical excellence in the UK, is under the scanner since they put out atrocious data on statins. Some doubting Thomases in British medical circles raised an alarm and now the cat is out of the bag. Most members of the committee that looked into statins had been on the payroll of drug manufacturers but did not disclose their ties to the companies while they were acting as the jury and the judge for the same drugs. I have been writing about American doctors and their guidelines committees; one study even wrote that statins did not have any side-effects while even placebos had side-effects. That looks like a little too much to swallow. Money rules the roost even in such sensitive areas like medicine. I have also been writing against statins for decades and I am happy to have been vindicated. 

A healthy Micro-biome

A new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that maintaining too high a level of hygiene and cleanliness can actually cause newborn babies, particularly those below one year of age, to suffer from allergies and asthma later in life. A diverse bacterial exposure gave babies’ immune system an extra boost which makes them less susceptible to allergies and wheezing. 

Lights Out

Before Thomas Alva Edison made mass production of the electric bulb possible, mankind slept better through the night. Now, in some major cities, there is no night at all. Lights of varying intensity penetrate deep into your bedroom even with the curtains drawn. An Oxford study had shown that the brighter your bedroom at night, the worse is the quality of sleep you get. Computer lights in the bedroom and the brightness of some of the more advanced light bulbs contribute to your difficulty in falling asleep. Dim lights are healthier in the bedroom compared to brighter ones. In larger cities, if the bedroom is bright even after you put off your lights, you might have to have thicker curtains. If you can see through the room in spite of all of that, it is time you wore an eye-blind to shut off the lights; but do remember to take them off when you want to go to the bathroom. The dirty electricity that your bedroom is full of these days is another blow to good sleep. The common culprits are CFL bulbs, computers, charging cell phones, cordless telephones, electric alarm clocks, electric blankets, refrigerators, TV screens (which are alive) and many such gadgets. Thank God, our ancestors were not bothered by any of these and lived happily.

Mango the Super-Fruit

Mangoes are now known to prevent certain cancers like that of the colon and breast. Furthermore, mangoes have high levels of flavonoids like beta-carotene and alpha-carotene which help protect against oral cavity and lung cancers. With very high Vitamin A content, they keep your eyes, skin and bones healthy. Because of their high potassium and low sodium, mangoes are good food for those wanting to reduce their blood pressure. Because of their high fibre content, they might even be healthy for the heart. Mangoes also have a chemical that balances your blood sugar and might even be good for diabetics, in small doses. 


NRE-FD or Debt Funds?

I am an NRI now and my income in India is not taxable. Through some channels, I was being asked to buy gilt and long-term debt funds. But a simple NRE-FD makes more sense to me for the fixed-income product category as it’s tax-free.

MLF’s Reply: Debt schemes of mutual funds invest in low-risk (please note: not risk-free) bond securities and money-market instruments. As you may be aware, interest rates and bond prices are inversely related—when yields rise, bond prices (or NAVs of debt schemes) fall and vice-versa. Debt schemes are further categorised into long-term and short-term, depending on the duration (time to maturity) of the securities in which they invest. Long-term debt schemes, which have a longer tenor, are more sensitive to change in interest rates and can be highly volatile.

Therefore, your returns from gilt and long-term debt schemes would depend on the timing of your purchase and exit. It is important to note that bond yields are hovering around 8.50%, as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 8%. Thus, given the high-yield scenario, it may be a good time to invest in debt schemes.

If you are looking for stable, non-volatile, returns and not having to keep a track of interest rate cycles, a bank fixed deposit would be a better option.

You may also find it interesting to read “Safe & Higher Returns: Look beyond Bank FDs”; “SIP in Bond Funds”; “Five Reasons not to Buy Debt Funds” .

Have a Mutual Fund Query? Try  Moneylife Foundation’s Mutual Fund Helpline. Submit your query here: moneylife.in/mfhelpline.html


Insider trading in Prime Focus?

Somebody with knowledge of the merger between Prime Focus' unit and Double Negative boosted the company's share price. Even the number of shares traded in Prime Focus jumped ten fold since last Friday. Will SEBI wake up? 

Prime Focus Ltd on Wednesday announced the merger of its creative services subsidiary Prime Focus World (PFW) and Double Negative (DNeg), one of the largest visual effects services providers in global film industry. Although the merger was announced today, somebody appears to have had prior knowledge of this deal and pumped the share price and volumes in the Prime Focus scrip, data from BSE shows.


Prime Focus closed on Friday at Rs41.45 on the BSE, with a trading volume of 3.99 lakh and number of trades at 3,819. However, this week there was a sudden spurt in the company's share price along with trading volume and number of trades. For example, on Monday, Prime Focus witnessed a volume of 33.89 lakh shares with 21,341 trades. It closed the first day of this week at Rs48.55, a jump of over 17% over the previous closing!


The same trend continued over the next two days, which saw Prime Focus's weekly average price rise to Rs49.87 per share. (see the chart below)



The suspicious spurt in volumes and price in Prime Focus calls for an investigations by the market regulator. But then while insider trading is rife in India, SEBI rarely acts, despite having spent Rs40 odd crore in sophisticated inter-market surveillance system.


Coming back to the merger deal, Double Negative, established in 1998, is Europe’s largest independent VFX house, with honors including an Academy Award for Inception and two BAFTAs for Inception and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.


Prime Focus closed Wednesday 1.4% higher at Rs48.6 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex ended the day marginally down at 25,316.



R Balakrishnan

2 years ago

If one chases the banker who did the deal, maybe someone linked to them would be the culprit. Or, could it not be the 'friend' of the owner/s of one of the parties to the deal? So easy.. But SEBI will not wake up. Hopefully, they will spot this article, have an investigation, go nowhere and close the file.

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