On the subject of investment in equity shares quoted and traded on the stock exchanges which serve the socially beneficial purpose of channelling the savings of prudent citizens into nation-building enterprises and projects managed by the country’s most competent ‘capitalists’ who can multiply investors’ savings many times over, a caveat emptor warning needs to be issued in the public interest against business television channels.
First, it’s important to note that after CNBC-TV 18 was launched in 1999 as India’s first business television news channel, the number of channels providing business news has multiplied to ten. Therefore, competition for eyeballs, and particularly for advertisers, among business channels is intense. Consequently, industrialists and managers are allowed to make outrageous claims of corporate well-being without fear of contradiction. According to a reliable media insider, some companies sign big bucks ad contracts with selected channels to go soft on their CEOs and CFOs with comely and other anchors allowing them full freedom to mislead gullible investors into investing in their shares.
Early this year, your correspondent was very impressed with the rosy picture painted on business channel ET Now for automobile major Ashok Leyland by its head honcho Vinod Dasari who claimed that customers in India and from Africa were lining up at its factory gates. A purchase of 1,000 shares of the company at Rs.124 each was made. Currently, they are quoted at Rs.69. There should be a law against such misleading trumpet blowers.