In: India. China and India are the two countries in the region and probably the world that have strong economic growth. National elections begin on Thursday in India, the world's largest democracy (714 million eligible voters). To the 235 million farmers who represent 20 percent of the $1.2 trillion economy, the expectation of a near-normal monsoon season is good news. Today the Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share Sensex surged 318 points to close at a six-month high. And now there is evidence that India's economy may come out of the global recession a winner, at least according to Wilbur Ross and some other serious players. According to today's Bloomberg:
" Indian stocks, laggards among the world’s biggest emerging-market economies in the first quarter, recovered to post the steepest returns the past month as investors snapped up the cheapest shares in 13 years.
"BlackRock Inc., UBS AG and billionaire Wilbur Ross predict more gains as record-low borrowing costs boost consumer spending in the world’s second-most populous nation.
"'We will be looking at more opportunities in India for sure,' Ross, chairman of New York-based W.L. Ross & Co., said in an April 8 interview with Bloomberg Television. “Over a long period of time, it will be a very rewarding place, particularly since the market has come off so drastically.”
"The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index climbed 38 percent since falling to its lowest level in more than three years on March 9. The advance beat increases among equity benchmark indexes for Brazil, Russia and China, the biggest developing economies. Indian shares traded at 9.2 times profit, the cheapest since at least 1996, after the Sensex plunged 45 percent since September, the worst slide among the so-called BRIC nations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and UBS.
"The Sensex climbed 2.9 percent today to 11,284.73, the highest closing level in six months."
Nitin Desai, however, sees a rocky road for the Indian economy for another year and a half. More here.
(image via misspinkslip)
Out: Magazines. It is not a good time to be in the magazine business. Ever since the ad recession of 2007, magazines have been in decline. While at FishbowlNY this blogger chronicled the falling numbers across the media industry. 2008's first quarter reflects the immediate aftermath of that print decline that we are still dealing with on the day after Sam Zell called his purchase of The Chicago Tribune a mistake. From David Kaplan from paidcontent:
"While Q108’s single-digit declines set off alarms at magazines, this year’s Q1 numbers could set off even more panic: the 230-plus pubs in the Publishers Information Bureau’s ranking saw a collective drop of 20.6 percent in ad dollars, while ad pages plunged 26.1 percent. Those number include Sunday newspaper mags, but were close to consumer mags’ drop of 20.2 percent for ad revenue and 25.9 percent fall off in pages."
The full story here.
In: Front Row Center Bjork Tickets. Front row seats for Bjork/Dirty Projectors show auctioning front row tickets to her show. Procedes of the auction go to Housing Works, which is committed to ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness.
Out: Michelle Pheiffer? Why is Michelle Pfeiffer, one of the most talented and incandescentrly beautiful actresses "out"? Two straight-to-DVD films, can you believe it? This, from EW's Popwatch, was stunning:
"Though she never attained the box-office clout to warrant it, Michelle Pfeiffer is one of the few female actresses who answers to Movie Star. Beautiful, elegant, talented, beautiful, Pfeiffer would have been a screen icon in any era, and at 50 she's still got It.
"Movie Stars, however, don't typically appear in straight-to-DVD films. Personal Effects (pictured above), though, in which Pfeiffer costars with Kathy Bates and Ashton Kutcher, will be released on video on May 12. This follows I Could Never Be Your Woman, a sweet romance with Paul Rudd that limped straight to video last year.
"Is Pfeiffer a victim of the shrinking independent scene, poor career choices, or just a shifting audience that can't recall how she looks atop a piano? This June, she'll headline Stephen Frears' Parisian romance, Cheri, but what she needs is a winning role in a studio film."
Kutcher is a bit of a box office jinx, and Kathy Bates is not quite a film opener. The idea of two Pheiffer films going straight to DVD, though, is amazing.