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from Expert Zone:

Unclear messages from the electoral tea leaves

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

The past 12 months have been characterized by the narrowest market in two decades although sectoral performance varied significantly. While the markets are likely to be range-bound, valuations are expected to rise in 2014, especially in the first half.

Based on a one-year forward PE range of between 12.5 and 15 times and our top-down FY15 earnings growth forecast for the Nifty of between 10 percent and 15 percent, we expect the index to trade between 5,500 and 6,900 in 2014, with a target of 6,900 -- an implied increase of around 10 percent relative to current levels.

National elections will take place before May 14 next year. Historically, a surprise outcome has moved markets by between 15 percent and 20 percent either way.

Based on Narendra Modi’s strong governance track record and his reputation of being pro-industry, investors are positively inclined towards the BJP. They are less inclined towards the Congress despite policy course corrections. The recent rally implies that markets no longer view a BJP victory as unlikely -- a factor that may be priced in from a near-term perspective.

from India Insight:

India state elections: Exit polls give BJP the upper hand

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By Aditya Kalra and Shashank Chouhan

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to win in four of the five states that went to polls over the past month, exit poll surveys conducted by Cvoter and the India Today-ORG group showed. Such a victory will be a boost for the party and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi ahead of the 2014 general elections.

The results for all the states, except Mizoram, will be announced on Sunday. Here’s what the exit polls forecast:

from Expert Zone:

India Markets Weekahead: Results of state elections a key driver

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Markets had been on a roller-coaster ride but closed weak for the third week in the row with the Nifty in the 5950-6000 range providing support.

A hint from the U.S. Federal Reserve on tapering its bond-buying programme was enough to spook the markets. Though this is expected in the first quarter of the new year, it remains to be seen whether chairman-elect Janet Yellen's dovish stance would postpone it further.

from India Insight:

State Elections in India: Opinion polls and 2008 results

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India will hold state elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi, starting November 11. The polls are seen as a warm-up for next year's national elections.

Three of these five states - Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi -- are governed by the Congress party, while the Bharatiya Janata Party rules in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. These state elections will serve as a popularity test for Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 national elections.

from India Insight:

Mike Pandey hits bureaucratic hurdle for film on tigers

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

For more than 30 years, Mike Pandey has been a man with a mission. In its special issue on Heroes of the Environment in 2009, Time magazine credited the maker of wildlife documentaries with efforts to protect "everything from whale sharks to elephants, vultures to medicinal plants."

from India Insight:

Short skirts, bad stars and chow mein: why India’s women get raped

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If you thought the Delhi gang rape would cause a serious debate on women’s rights in India, you'd be half right. Let's look at the other half: last December's brutal incident seems to have put a spell on India’s politicians, holy men and otherwise educated people.

From suggesting that the rape victim should have called her rapists “brother” to blaming her stars, plenty of reasons cited for the crime lay the blame on the women whom men brutalise, or portray women in ways that reveal our skewed attitude toward women and their place in our society. When given an opportunity to figure out ways to improve the  education and behaviour of men, and thus try to reduce the  number of rapes that occur in India, many people revert to the  more traditional method: limit the rights of women.

from India Insight:

Madhya Pradesh chief minister exorcises English, exercises investors

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters.)

Shivraj Singh Chouhan appears to be tying himself into a linguistic knot. The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday said that the English language is a ghost that India must exorcise, according to the Press Trust of India newswire. Even though only a small number of people speak English, these people have managed to show that you need English to be successful in whatever you do, Chouhan said.

from India Insight:

Does Indian media go overboard with breaking news?

Just when I thought news trivialisation by a section of Indian media could not get worse, it did. And how.

bang.jpgIn a control room somewhere on the French-Swiss border, scientists of CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, waited for the first signals to come in from a $9 billion particle collider as they embarked on an experiment to unlock secrets of the universe.
 
In a town somewhere in Madhya Pradesh, farmer Biharilal's daughter Chayya sat glued to the TV screen, taking in the graphics and amateur video game imagery put together by vernacular news channels who said the experiment would bring about the end of the world.
 
The fact that I'm sitting here writing this is proof enough the world did not end. But Chayya, who killed herself fearing what doomsday prophets said would be the experiment's cataclysmic effects, is not around to see that.
 
Sensationalism in 24x7 news coverage is relatively new to India -- a concept borrowed from the larger and more prolific western media. In India, every road accident, murder and rape makes delightful copy for news channels vying for the attention of elusive viewers with serious commitment issues.
 
In a country where a sudden media boom led by rapid economic growth and freeing of entertainment and media markets has resulted in a plethora of channels all "bringing news first", viewers switch loyalties before you can utter the word 'TRP'.
 
The viewers have seen it all, they control the remote control and unless you hold them down with the right concoction of sensation, sleaze and news, they just won't stay.
 
Which meant that the fear psychosis created by vernacular channels on the biggest scientific experiment of our time spread like wildfire across the country. The rationalists logged on to the internet to know more about the Big Bang project while the religious held prayer sessions.
 
What shocked me was how ill-informed and factually incorrect some of these channels were on scientific trivia. A channel repeatedly referred to this "big dark hole" in the universe in the same hushed tone little Red Riding Hood's mother would use to caution her against the big bad wolf.

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