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Reliance Take-Over of CNBC TV 18: a trading housewife’s perspective

August 16, 2014
This post was originally drafted in Doha in June. Post will be subject to revisions.

Reliance Take-Over of CNBC TV 18: a trading housewife’s perspective

How the change in management is sending shockwaves in some housewives’ circles 😦


Modest retail investors sans any layman knowledge like the a,b,c’s of the business, some of us housewives are trading ONLINE in stocks and mutual funds for over 10 years now. This kind of trading lends us women a very easy and comfortable platform from within the 4 walls of our homes – although we’ve also burnt our fingers at times. We the supposed bored housewives quietly make some neat pocket money – a few ‘k’ – via trading which is more than what we can hope for – given we don’t have to spend on clothes, unnecessary accessories and effective transportation that are integral part of work culture especially in modern times (we weren’t this way 20 years back when most of us hardly owned 5 sets of clothes & 2 pairs of sandals we repeated to work). Trading also means excellent time-saving for us for whom it is fun making small money right from our den with our notebook open in front of the tv all day long. On one side is the screen flashing with Udayan Mukherjee and his sombre-face interviews with the scrips doing the bottom-line running, and on the other side is the pressure cooker beckoning with a series of whistles announcing the meals is ready! Oh what a way to balance and manage home & affairs! Welcome to Bored & Business-minded Housewives Club of Chennai!

There is this friend among us who is into futures – anyday she makes a cool 2 k from home diligently. And she is into this all 6 trading days of the week. Who wants to go out and work now! She is like this cute self-made small scale entrepreneur 🙂 Commodity and futures market do make some jittery.  Not my cup of tea.  Some of us are NOT risk takers when it comes to that. But this world is for the brave. There are these girls who are totally into this kind of trading ONLY who log in at sharp 9.00 and log out by 5 pm the exact time that BSE and NSE close.  Now that even saturdays are trading days, there is no stopping my ‘futures’ friends! And even those who are working are hooking in their bait first thing in the morning to leave the leisurely reeling-in for evenings, the market closing time.

So what turned us housewives to trading.  Inspiration for me, came from a group of friends who latched on to it when private banking and trading became the norm in India, around the millennium, exposing us to hitherto unexplored areas of investments and profiteering. Even earlier we have indulged in trading but this has always been in physical form, so in a way we were never ‘serious’ traders. Stocks served to be somewhat our long-term investments only – because of the mere daunting physical initiative it necessitated, like running to your stock broker and looking at the quotes/stocks in their monochrome computer, and deciding on the spot whether to trade in or not, having watched over the movement of the stock already for over a week in the small newspaper print in the business columns of our local newspaper. In fact, I recall this was one of the first things I always read first in my papers in the mornings.

We friends are into online trading from 2002 when the world changed for us overnight and life became simpler, and ever since there is no looking back 🙂 .Browse the online manuals, quarterly results etc etc and try to assimilate as much amateur info’ as possible within our given scope of know-how and knowledge in this area.  Now we ladies have quite a few platforms like Axis Direct, Sharekhan, Kotak Mahindra etc etc but the user-friendly and top of the pick ICICI is always my no. 1  choice even if their brokerage is highest in the field. We each favour a different brokerage house/bank but our mission is the same. For those of us who have taken break from work for long, trading helps in assuaging misgivings about quitting work. Gives us a sense of purpose: especially when we get our men a mobile or a shirt with the spoils of the day!

Trading adheres to no geographical barriers – its ironic I have made handsome profits from overseas in last 7 years. Many times I thank Internet for how much it simplifies our life, removing stringent complications in the process. For all its service, it is unobtrusive!!! Sometimes you need to reel in quick and not wait for too long… doesn’t matter where you are… A daily watch of the markets is always advised – or atleast a cursory glance. Now with even the passwords generated via online grids sent to our registered e-mail, we are saved a lot of bother, Lose yours, generate one from online grid, that’s all. Online trading is totally hassle-free seamless trading and one is able to appreciate it more when we our trading from abroad. The option of trading in foreign stocks in overseas/foreign exchanges with a fixed cap is available in last few years but many of women shy away from trying out our luck here. One hopes this is where some big fish rake in their moolah but this is a strict ‘no-n0′ for us houswives for whom mostly the ploughed- back capital is our pocket money that does not go into jewelry and more clothes otherwise (we are bombarded with encouraging literature and call-centre phones to test the terrain though).

Mostly we women who prefer safe treading (trading) grounds are tuned in to CNBC TV 18 day long on all trading days – preferring it over NDTV Profit or Economic Times’ ET Now business news. This is our normal any day activity on and off through the day spanning over a decade, i.e., if we have no better/other work to do… some of us did cool our heels after the 2007 crash for an year or so.  Recall the days until 1996 when we used to physically fill up application forms for IPOs, Mutual Funds etc. Sometimes it is unimaginable that once this world was so backward! Araamse we now ‘trade’ and exchange notes sincerely. In between some hollywood or bollywood pictures to lighten up the day… Value my learned friends’ opinion in this matter more over that of seasoned financial experts.’ Mostly we are cautious traders – we know our limits.  Sometimes we are also on phone continuously for hours with each other (although if all of us are sailing in the same boat 🙂 )Monday to saturday we exist in another world especially during peak seasons like just before annual, quarterly results.

Its true, some of us including me, got wary of trading after the 2007 global markets crash. Building trust is not easy. And trust lost is difficult to re-build. Back to business after 1-2 years although some in our circle never quit: Strong ladies who merely changed counters every other day and made good their losses one by one. ‘Never invest in a falling market’ quips a friend always, ‘it is like a falling knife.’ No financial expert can predict markets as good as she does. A mother who trades in successfully for last 15 years online minting anywhere between 30-40 k every month.

One thing I have to say is this: we girls lost ‘material attachment’ with online trading – in the sense, earlier we used to value and hoard the bluechip trying to build an impressive portfolio.  Online trading changed all that – mixing the blue blood with the commoners.’ All scrips are one and the same for me now – everything is tradable that’s all. No more special favours. My bet is simply on the winning horse anyday. Another thing, personally for me is, going green with paperless banking/trading. We in our home never take print-outs of tax/insurance receipts or railway/local airlines tickets. (Hope the world does not wake up to another Y2K like problem !) (flashing of sms ticket confirmation will do in our local flights & trains).

One of the best references for us women has always been, which is an arm of Network 18. Their analysis is pretty good, they store data bank like none else, and more than all there are experienced comments from brokers as well as day-t0- day retail investors like us whose opinion we value a lot.  They are more knowledgeable than some qualified experts because they practically deal in small lots making money here and there against all odds. They put their intuition into trading which is their best bet.  Every hour, every minute they share valuable info’ that can have direct impadt in our investment pattern and in the decisions we make. Some predictions of theirs range upto an year ahead of us. We do sometimes have this suspicion that this could be like insider information – here and there. Still. Companies do not let out anything: but retail investors do. They provide the best and valuable and unshakable and factual info on directors’ change, future projects as well streamlined projects/those in pipeline and projected incomes of the trading stocks’ companies and even bonus information, as no qualified expert will ever come forward to disclose quite so honestly in any mass media. Now with Reliance takeover of CNBC tv 18 and Money Control, is there any way we can be certain these recommendations are not from posers who want to influence us with wrong inf0′ like paid agents. While there have always been disgruntled employees sounding the needless alarm trying to put us off as well as over-enthusiastic brokers wanting to make a short-term killing boosting up their stocks, there was still an element of credibility about them all these days. With this very basic foundation of ‘trust’ shaken in the mind of the public and with ‘trust deficit’ creeping into our psyche, will trading ever be normal and comfortable again.

What will happen in the future? Will the reportings/findings be factual or inflated. Will it be like wolf in the sheep’s clothing.

After all we the housewives are no experts. Our sources of reliable information have been very few.

Names like Rakesh Jhunjhunwala ring a bell with us still. We have taken the effort and given time to familiarize ourselves with these men (traders/analysts) and markets. Trading goes against our grain – because some like me also nurture an element of guilt for the gamble this is. Speculation is something I have never been comfortable with. But as many say, the profits are just reward for the ‘risk-taking.’  Trading otherwise has proved worthwhile for most of us. We have now a fine leverage playing field and within the confines of this range, we women indulge.  We hurt none, damage none.

Without a tutor, without a text book, without guiding principles, we housewives have been trading – with one referral the unbiased network 18.

Soon as the Modi government took over came this shocking news of Reliance group taking over the Network 18. This plunged small and retail investors like me into terrible shock although we know this is not a development we are  seeing in a single day.  Not that there are no other reliable sources. But we are hooked on to CNBC-18 and Moneycontrol for over a decade now.  Old habits die hard.  The news that the media persons Rajdeep Sardesai and his wife Sagarika Ghose have left the network must not be taken lightly (even if I detest them from the bottom of my heart for a variety of reasons. its not as if they are saints). (All media is paid media so far as I am concerned, in India. But one still hoped the commercial news network will be spared somewhat where analysis sounded to be fair). So how long could network-18 be still reliable, trustworthy? What a total betrayal of trust.

CNN-IBN, the other major news channel under Network 18 is also under scanner (by us viewing public) for the same reason.  It is not good in the interest of any nation that the media houses should be taken over by corporates or political bigwigs.  This does not auger well for a secular just democracy like India.  A very unhealthy precedent.

We know all about Ambanis. Spare us please.

Now where can we the small, retail investors  turn to for unbiased new reports. CNBC TV 18 and Moneycontrol were kind of benchmark for us. We don’t want the partial biased news of those brokerage houses like ICICI Direct for instance from their website beyond a point, even if their quarterly reportings and some analyses and long-term recommendations are excellent.  But that is their in-house expertise which is something one must never forget to keep in mind. Like a favour (like they wish to think). Like a cigarette company selling cigarettes with caution printed on the cartons that cigarettes cause cancer.  This kind of info’ is not at all reliable. We can use that as a guideline, no more. We women want a neutral, unbiased body to probe into financial matters for us, examine the fiscal deficit angle, explore the budget, taxes and policies and present us a true picture of the economy of India. This has to be done in a way we the simpletons can understand, in a way we housewives can decipher and decide for ourselves.

Someone has been doing it all along, but that someone suddenly turns out to be a stranger now so that is an issue.

Admittedly we housewives are not the targeted audience for both CNBC TV 18 and Marketcontrol. These are for serious traders.

Remember Jee, husbands have no time to buy and sell stocks – we wives are doing it for them. If you have to talk to anyone in this matter, talk to us right? And we women could use proper guidance, professional enough yet explained to us in layman language.

Remember Marketbhavishya?  Once upon a time in life, we girls used to be avid follower of their tips.  Wonder whatever happened to those guys in between.  Missing in action for years… now they are back out of nowhere… so makes one wonder which side of the line they are now. Are they any more dependable.

Looking at ET Now etc totally disillusioned. (Any TOI connection is already a suspect).

May be sell-out to Reliance was the only option to save Network 18.  To keep afloat the network, Reliance power must have been very much the need of the hour.

But is this the Gujarat model we are promised, it does make one wonder.

Its at times like this when one is reminded of Davids vs Goliaths like Arvind Kejriwal vs others.

If world does not breed men like Arvind Kejriwal, then it means ‘bure din aanewale hain’ nothing more. Even Modi will do well with an ‘anti’ my countrymen, why should this escape you. And just as Modi-capitalism is your pitch, remember there are also some of us here still believing in Nehruvian Socialism. Both ideologies need to exist side-by-side for our own benefit. The greatest strength of Indian economy lies in public-private partnership in businesses and industry.


If the network-18 takeover concerns the conscience of trading housewives getting us restless, then should n’t the repercussions for the entire investing community in a larger scenario be taken into consideration. BSE must be abuzz with gossips already. Beware Indian Investor; no more you are safe. Speculation agents will henceforth have a field day, this is anybody’s game now.With watch dogs scared off, anything can happen to anyone in broad daylight.

Through all this, I still mean to say, network 18 is a yardstick nothing more. Still it came in handy.

If Ambanis can buy a media house today that report the Reliance business dealings and actual stock movements, what next. Are we going to be looking at large-scale corporate land grabs. Are we as a society going to get more chaotic with the rich getting richer and poor, even poorer.

Is this ethical? If this is ethical then so is BCCI Chairman’s son-in-law owning CSK by all means. 

We hear all the time about corporate lobbying and election spending even in America.  The shock of facing this reality in India is overwhelming.

The ramifications are felt upto my living room, believe me.

So what we started as fun is serious (side) business for us ladies now. Only saving grace is we can exit at will. For a matter of fact, I have already initiated the process. Good when it lasted – and we have seen it all in the day. Time to call it quits?

Still looking at network-18 for clues. Takes time to see the actual effects. A friend of mine is already diversifying into manpower consultancy. Sad day to say ‘goodbye’ to trading after over 10 long years. Or should we really allow one media take-over by a business moghul spoil the day for us. Are our reactions too strong? 

‘Wait and watch’ is the mantra for now. Pulling out step by step, will hang around a bit… Markets bullish ever since Modi won the elections for BJP, waiting for the bear to raise its head anytime now…

For me personally: Media takeover by Business Houses means a sad day in the history of Indian democracy. Trading to me is preferable for the ease of liquidity it offers. One can enter and exit markets at will. One can choose and wait to earn profits – ignoring the notional losses. A loss is something to experience only if you lack the patience to sit it out. There are friends who sit out ‘putting stocks in the cold storage’ – for years. Regret and mourn the way this whole exercise of trading-reporting is turning out to be in the last couple of months. Friends and I have been following the Reliance Petro story for long – for over 7-8 years now. We know where we are headed, and that is what hurts like hell. We could be just housewives but we read up a lot, so World, take us seriously! We know the beneficiaries from the 2007 crash, you bet!

Signing off for now with a heavy heart…

(Remember the time the I…I securities guys used to chase me. They do come home even now without invitation. I end up lecturing them on scrips & MFs always that all that they can manage to do is nod their heads. This, they never expect from demure looking housewives. We girls have fans in bank officers ok?! My guy (financial consultant/stock consultant) who constantly follows me with sms/whatsapp etc etc is asking me to stay patient. What should I do now.

No consultant has been able to convince me but this one from Mumbai on a short stint in Chennai has. Where all we strike up friendship! He has come home now on a half a dozen occasions – the only fellow I have let to sit in my den for over 30 min. He has been tutoring me how to effectively invest in pension funds with insurance benefits with switches applied at right times to alternate between debts and equities to get the best returns on your investments. Like I have always had this misgiving about tying up your pension with insurance and equity. Did a lot of thinking over that. I am not just handling my personal finances, I am also acting on my husband’s behalf. He trusts my judgement completely so i have this onus of preserving his trust over anything. Fruits of his labour. Most of us housewives are the real decision makers in our families. This kind of switching in investments (wrt equity linked pension) is possible when we follow the equity markets closely on a daily basis. Banks normally allow upt 3-4 free switches per annum. Over that a small fee is payable. My consultant is asking me to attend seminars he is hosting and get ideas and share ideas – this is a free monthly convention for valuable customeers (so he thinks I am one!). He is pleading with me not to give up – after all  because of Ambani! ))


 UPdated : 16th Aug 2014

Diwali is at home mainly because I wanna stay back for ‘Muhurat Trading’ session online. Never missed it on this auspicious occasion of the Hindu New Year in whole of last decade. I sentimentally buy something at this time always. Next Year will be ‘Samvat 2071’ – dawning on Diwali. Hopefully things will look up from then on.

Adding last year’s Muhurat Trading session opening bell in BSC

and the following trading:






From → Dilli Durbar

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