India Insight

Some investors in India look to the stars for stock advice

The 2008 financial crisis gutted Girish Kumar’s portfolio value by 90 percent. So much for technical and fundamental analysis. The 42-year-old textiles businessman from Jaipur turned to astrology, and now he says the stars guide him to a profit every month.

Kumar is part of a group of Indians who think that analysing the positions of the planets, stars and other celestial bodies can predict the direction of the stock market and suggest which companies and sectors deserve their money.

“There is something in this universe that makes it run. I believe in that,” said Kumar, who pays an astrologer 100,000 rupees a year, about $1,700, for stock market advice.

Though exact numbers are hard to come by, financial astrologers say that they have seen business increase by nearly a third every year since the 2008 financial crisis jolted Indian investors, many of whom are wary of investing in stocks, preferring instead tangible assets such as real estate and gold.

Despite rising disposable income and an emerging middle class, data shows that less than 5 percent Indian households’ savings are invested in stocks. In comparison, an estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold is lying idle with households, according to the World Gold Council.

Thank Sonia Gandhi’s lucky stars, astrologers say as govt wins trust vote

Much as he tries astrologer Rajan Chopra can’t keep the pride out of his voice as he speaks to me for the second time in 24 hours.

parrot1.jpg It’s victory march at 7 Race Course Road after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wins a closely-fought vote of confidence 275 to 256 in parliament and the temptation for Chopra to say “I told you so” is overwhelming. But Chopra, a political and corporate astrologer who predicted yesterday that the government would win the trust vote, says “it’s a victory for astrologers as well”.

If popular predictions are anything to go by then stargazers say the strong Saturn in Congress President Gandhi’s astrological chart is to be thanked for the government’s victory and the Congress party will be wise to look heaven wards for further guidance before general elections next year.

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