I have always said that investing in Indian mutual funds is a dumb idea given the lack of regulation , under performance, high fees and front running and fraud conducted by mutual fund managers. It is best to invest in a good ETF with low fees such as the Nifty Bees ETF which was one [...]

However India’s biggest capital good equipment company BHEL owned by the government is plannning a $500 million investment to build a solar cell factory in at Sakoli which is part Union heavy industries minister Praful Patel’s constituency Bhandara.Talk about how dumb you can get. BHEL hardly has too much expertise in the solar panel industry and with solar cells in massive oversupply,it is almost sure to lose money. However that is how things work with Indian government companies where investment is made at the whims of ministers rather than rationality and business sense.BHEL is currently trading at one of the lowest valuations in its 10 year history and its not a big wonder why. The company has benefited in the past as did other machinery and engineering companies from an infrastructure invesment boom. However those glory days are over for the company as it faces competition from the Chinese companies and decreasing orders flow. Praful Patel the minister has already spent a few years in the airline ministry presiding over the conversion of the state owned carrier Air India ino a basket case. Now its the turn of BHEL to be turned into a basket case as well.

There is no disputing the fact of Facebook dominance in social media but its model of making money is far from proved to give it such a huge market value . The underwriters of the company are said to have massive amounts of shares worth billions which they have bought to hold the company’s stock price above the IPO price of $38. The trading was marked by a number of glitches which is now being investigated by SEC. This has become a regular occurence reducing trust in the US capital market systems . A lot of the future earnings power is already built into the stock price of the company at $100 billion. It will take a lot of effort to get to the earnings level to justify the market price . In the fast changing technology landscape that is a huge risk . 3 years ago nobody would have questioned the dominance of Nokia and RIMM in the mobile space . But now these companies are fighting for survival. Stock picking is a game of probabilities and in the case of Facebook the current stock price does not justify the risk in buying it.

The Indian Solar Power has been one bright spot in the gloomy infrastructure and engineering sectors in 2011. With share prices crashing with growing corruption, land acquisition and financing problems, Solar Energy has surged in India thanks to government support and subsidies . While a number of Green Technology companies have started up to capitalize on the growing renewable energy trend, the established constuction companies in India have not been far behind . While utilities like Tata Power, Adani, Reliance Power, NTPC have already built or are setting up power plants based on solar panels , L&T has become a major solar EPC players . L&T is now raising debt with a $100 million issue to fund its solar expansion plans .

While the larger stock brokers have seen reduced profits,the smaller ones have had to shut down or sell.This trend has been exacerbated last year with the rise of computer controlled algorithmic trading.Most of these small brokers which used arbitraging strategy to generate profits have seen their main business evaporate.Retail investors in India have also avoided the stock market which has become a corruption landmine.With even top institutions like GMO,Goldman becoming victims of frauds,individual investors have no chance.Also market operators have made the Indian stock market a pump and dump heaven even as SEBI takes a long time to crack down on the abuses.

In the past ten years, cement consumption in India grew by approximately 7.5% per year. The building industry developed very dynamically, driven by the strong growth of population and the quick expansion of infrastructure. In 2005, India was after China the second largest cement consumer with around 135 million tonnes.