Who Killed Indian Railway?Indian Railway Is On Fast Track Of Privatisation.
Sign in

Who killed Indian railway?Indian Railway is on fast track of privatisation.

print Print email Email
Who killed Indian railway?Indian Railway is on fast track of privatisation. The doomsday scenario is created to justify the necessary policy making.

UPA as an alliance and its government must answer while New minister paints doomsday scenario for Railways! All is not well after cabinet reshuffle. The corporate lobbying played most decisive role. Jaipal Reddy has been shunted out of oil sector as earlier Jairam Ramesh had been ousted out of environment.Jayanti Natrajan failed to get favour for promotion as she also revolted writing a letter against finance ministry directly targeting Corporate India!
Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time, Chapter: Nine Hundred eighteen
Palash Biswas

Mobile: 919903717833

Skype ID: palash.biswas44

Email: palashbiswaskl@gmail.com

Who killed Indian railway?UPA as an alliance and its government must answer while New minister paints doomsday scenario for Railways! All is not well after cabinet reshuffle. The corporate lobbying played most decisive role. Jaipal Reddy has been shunted out of oil sector as earlier Jairam Ramesh had been ousted out of environment.Jayanti Natrajan failed to get favour for promotion as she also revolted writing a letter against finance ministry directly targeting Corporate India!On the other hand, agenda roforms is pushed harder as expected.Worried over high budget deficit derailing growth, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today unveiled a five-year road map for fiscal consolidation to promote investments, contain inflation and take India to high growth trajectory.The government, the Minister said, will continue efforts to restrict fiscal deficit in the current financial year to 5.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and reduce it to 3 per cent by 2016-17. The fiscal deficit was 5.8 per cent in 2011-12.

Indian Railway is on fast track of privatisation. Congress captured railways to privatise it.The doomsday scenerio is created to justify the necessary policy making.It may be noteworthy as an indicator that  Richard Branson , chairman of Virgin Group Ltd danced at a party on Friday in Mumbai to announce his airlines’ re-entry on the Mumbai-London route. The same morning, the 63-year-old beat a drum clad in a traditional Marathi dress. Amid the fun and frolic, the English business magnate does not want to lose sight of any business opportunity in India. In an interview, he said if India decides to privatize the railways, Virgin would love to evaluate its options.

British transport mogul Richard Branson said Friday he would love to help set up high-speed trains in India at a time when the nation's creaking railway system desperately needs new investment.

State-run Indian Railways, the world's biggest employer, is studying the feasibility of attracting private investment for high-speed trains for six routes and has been studying various options of attracting funding.

After almost one-and-a-half decade, the key Railway Ministry is back with Congress with Pawan Kumar Bansal becoming the cabinet minister and both the MoS portfolios going to the party.Congress MPs from West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh - Adhir Ranjan Choudhary and Kotla Jaya Suryaprakash Reddy - were given railway portfolio as Ministers of State in reshuffle.

Economic growth slipped to nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2011-12 and it is expected to fall further this fiscal.

Referring to fiscal consolidation in 2012-13, Chidambaram expressed the confidence that government would be able to raise Rs 30,000 crore from disinvestment and Rs 40,000 crore from sale of spectrum.Mind you!
After taking charge as the new MSME Minister, K H Muniyappa today sought to allay fears of FDI hurting home-grown small enterprises.

Stepping into the Oil Ministry, where decision-making had slowed in the recent past, new petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily today expressed the confidence of "melting" away obstacles with quick calls.what does it mean? Who did create the obstacles? Corporate India felt that the Petroleum Ministry, which was scene of the nation's biggest corporate battle a few years ago, had almost gone into limbo after Reddy took over in January 2011.From delaying approval to India's largest foreign direct investment (FDI) to being a reluctant party to fuel reforms, the ministry is accused of being regressive and negative towards the industry during the past 22 months.

The first task at Moily's hands will be to smoothen out confusions surrounding the decision to cap supply of subsidised domestic cooking gas to six cylinders per household in a year.

There were demands from within the ruling party to raise the cap to at least nine. Perhaps, the government was veering towards that idea when elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were announced leading to its deferment.

Moily would also have to sort out the continued delays Reliance Industries and its British partner BP Plc face in getting investment and other approvals that are needed to revive fortunes at the flagging eastern offshore KG-D6 fields.

The bigger task at hand would be to resolve the KG-D6 gas pricing row. While RIL-BP have been seeking a market price, the oil ministry under Reddy had opposed the move tooth and nail.

Reddy had even moved a note for consideration of the Empowered Group of Ministers to reject any change in rates before April 2014 even at the cost of ignoring RIL-BP's June application that sought a new price on expiry of current rates in March 2014.

The ministry, which had under Reddy delayed by over five months approval to BP buying 30 per cent stake in RIL's oil and gas blocks for $7.2 billion, has not approved annual spending on the oil and gas fields for the past three years.

Moily would also have to deal with the issue of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) doing a second round of audit of spending on KG-D6 fields in the face of stiff opposition from RIL which says that the official auditor does not have powers under Parliament enacted act to audit private firms.

More importantly, he would have to nurse back the public sector oil firms to good financial health as they face unprecedented revenue losses on sale of diesel, LPG and kerosene.

A day before the monetary policy, the professional forecasters' survey conducted by the Reserve Bank of India revised GDP forecast to 5.7% as against 6.5% in 2012-13 while raising inflation estimate to 7.7% versus 7.3% for the year. Persistent inflation and easy availability of money (liquidity) is likely to prompt the central bank keeping rates unchanged on Tuesday.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose party is supporting the UPA government at the Centre, on Monday asked his party workers to be ready for snap Lok Sabha polls as there was "little time" left for the same.

Meanwhile,a new-look Team Anna today mounted a scathing attack on the UPA government and sought immediate dissolution of Parliament, saying the two pillars of democracy were not acting in the manner enshrined in the Constitution.Heralding formation of a new movement against corruption, Anna Hazare and former Army chief General V K Singh targeted the "unconstitutional " UPA government over decisions like FDI in multi-brand retail.BJP on Monday alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rewarded the corrupt ministers with "promotions" in the reshuffle and shied away from giving Cabinet berths to the young leaders.

Addressing a joint press conference this evening, Singh said the government had taken the controversial decision on FDI despite being in minority.

"As per the Constitution, India is a welfare state in which a democratically elected government is duty bound to protect and improve the lives of the people. However, the current system has completely ignored the directive principles enshrined in the constitution and has surrendered to market forces," Singh said.

"Parliament should be dissolved and fresh elections held," he said, reading from a prepared statement. Hazare endorsed Singh and said they had jointly prepared the statement.

Amusing it may sound that Shashi Tharoor, re-inducted into the Manmohan Singh government after two years, said on Monday that he was dropped earlier from the ministry for no fault of his.Tharoor made the comment after hundreds of supporters gave him a rousing welcome as he landed here after Sunday's swearing in ceremony in Delhi. Tharoor is the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram.

Jaipal Reddy, who has been given Science and Technology Ministry, is deeply upset by his transfer from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry and did not come to handover charge to new minister Veerappa Moily.

RPN Singh, who has been shifted from Petroleum to Home in Cabinet reshuffle, welcomed Moily, who was among the first ones to report to their new offices this morning.

Reddy had been accused of being indecisive and almost halting oil and gas exploration.

Reddy’s transfer to Science and Technology Ministry is seen as a demotion and reports have appeared that he was transferred for his run-in with Reliance Industries owned by Mukesh Ambani.

70-year-old Reddy, who was made Petroleum Minister in January 2011, maintained he has no regrets over losing Petroleum but some wry answers he gave at a press conference indicated his apparent sulk.As BJP and civil society leaders attacked the Prime Minister's decision to take Reddy out of Petroleum Minister as having been dictated by corporate pressure, the Andhra Pradesh veteran kept away when his successor M Veerappa Moily took charge of the portfolio this morning.

BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu attacked the decision to move Reddy out of Petroleum saying people and media have said that this was done due to pressure of corporate groups. He demanded an answer from the government.

Anti corruption activist, Arvind Kejriwal alleged that an honest minister like Reddy lost his job for resisting Reliance Industries.

"No minister is ever told about the reasons for the change. And I personally feel the Prime Minister need not tell a minister about the reasons for change," Reddy said adding he would stick to norms and forms of a minister.

"In all matters, it has been my effort to be a faithful party man and a truthful minister. My record will always be a faithful party man. That is my focus and that shall be my focus," he said.

Reddy took over as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister last year, replacing Murli Deora.

He took on Reliance on multiple fronts over its DG gas fields in the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin. Once India’s second-biggest producer of natural gas, the DG fields have been under-performing.

The Reliance-led consortium has said the problems are related to geological complexities, but Reddy had asked arbitrators to look at the matter.

The Oil Ministry will seek over Rs 1,00,000 crore from the Finance Ministry this fiscal towards fuel subsidy, new Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily said today.

State-owned fuel retailers are likely to end the fiscal with a revenue loss of over Rs 1,63,000 crore on sale of diesel, domestic cooking gas (LPG) and kerosene at government-controlled rates that are way lower than cost, he said soon after taking over as the new oil minister.

"Of this, about Rs 60,000 crore will come from upstream companies Oil and Natural Gas Corp ( ONGC  ), Oil India  Ltd and GAIL India  . We will ask the Finance Ministry to compensate the rest by way of cash subsidy," he said.

Oil PSUs, he said, cannot sustain high level of under-recoveries or revenue losses and ways have to be found to drastically bring down these.

"How long can you run these companies on loss. How long can you go with these kind of under-recoveries. It is criminal. We need to prepare roadmap to see under-recoveries drastically comes down," he said. "I am not saying subsidy should be cut but inefficiencies have to be removed from the sector."
State retailers currently lose Rs 9.82 per litre on diesel, Rs 33.93 a litre on kerosene and Rs 468.50 per 14.2-kg subsidised LPG cylinder. They currently are losing Rs 433 crore per day.

Upstream firms ONGC, OIL and GAIL share a part of the revenues that retailers lose on selling diesel, LPG and kerosene at government-controlled rates. Their share to begin with was 33 per cent of the revenue loss on fuel sales but has slowly risen to 40 per cent.

Their contribution now has been capped at USD 56 per barrel. This means that suppose ONGC realises USD 100 per barrel from sale of crude oil it produces, it will be allowed to retain only USD 44 and the rest USD 56 would be taken away for subsidising fuel. Upstream firms had in 2011-12 made good 40 per cent of the Rs 138,541 crore revenue that Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp lost on fuel sales. Their Rs 55,000 crore contribution that year compared to Rs 30,297 crore in 2010-11 and Rs 14,430 crore in 2009-10.

The remaining revenue loss was made good by the Finance Ministry by way of cash subsidy. In 2011-12, government gave out Rs 83,500 crore by way of cash subsidy, up from Rs 41,000 crore in 2010-11 and Rs 26,000 crore in 2009-10. In the first quarter of current year, upstream firms made good Rs 15,061 crore out of the Rs 47,811 crore retailers lose on sale of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene. The Finance Ministry has not given any subsidy this fiscal so far, Moily said.

"We plan to shortly make the short trip to the Finance Ministry to request for release of subsidy," he said. The Oil Ministry had sought cash subsidy of Rs 32,750 crore for the first quarter but the Finance Ministry has not released any.

In the second quarter, the fuel retailers lost Rs 42,200 crore in revenue. Of this, upstream contribution would be in the range of Rs 14,000-15,000 crore and rest would have to come from the finance ministry.

In the absence of the subsidy support, IOC   reported the highest-ever quarterly net loss by any Indian company at Rs 22,451 crore for April-June. HPCL   posted Rs 9,249 crore net loss in April-June while BPCL   reported a net loss of Rs 8,836 crore for the first quarter.

PM's new team comes under scrutiny, faces tough questions.Money Control reports:

The new Manmohan Singh team, which is expected to pull the UPA out of troubled waters following allegations of massive corruption, ineffective governance and policy paralysis, is already facing tough questions over its credibility. While Salman Khurshid, who has been facing allegations of siphoning off funds for the differently-abled has been elevated to the External Affairs Minister, other new ministers like K Rahman Khan and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also face serious charges.

The new Minority Affairs Ministry, K Rahman Khan, could prove to be a big embarrassment for the government as he is alleged to have been involved in the Karnataka Wakf Board scam. The 73-year-old Karnataka leader was embroiled in the Rs 2 lakh crore scam in which misuse and encroachment of Wakf properties in the state had caused the loss to the exchequer. The Karnataka State Minorities Commission, which conducted its study in other districts, also including Gulbarga, Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Ramanagaram and Koppal, had alleged misuse of properties, encroachments, illegal disposal, mismanagement and fraudulent acts committed by erstwhile heads of the Wakf Board, elected representatives, politicians and others. Khan was also a member of Joint Parliamentary Committee on functioning of Wakf Boards and the one on Securities Scam.

There were allegations that Khan along with other members of the Board of Directors of the Amanath Co-Operative Bank Ltd of Bangalore siphoned off Rs 102 crore from the bank. But he was given a clean chit and a team led by Rahman Khan is once again running the Bank.

Controversy also surrounds the new Minister of State for Railways, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Chowdhury, a known baiter of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, was implicated in 2005 in the twin murder of two restaurant owners in Murshidabad. Although he was cleared of all charges in 2007, he is currently out on bail in another case against him, the murder of a Gram Panchayan leader in Burdwan. Before joining active politics, Adhir suffered imprisonment in various criminal cases during the previous Left Front regime in the state. He even contested the 2006 Assembly polls from behind bars.

Chowdhury has now said that he will resign if criminal charges are proven against him. "The Congress cannot grow in Bengal if we bend to TMC. I am challenging the TMC that if they can find a single criminal case pending against me, I am ready to resign right now," Chowdhury said.

The UPA is also facing flak for making Salman Khurshid the External Affairs Minister. Salman Khurshid, who was the Law Minister, took charge as the External Affairs Minister despite allegations of corruption. Asked if his appointment despite the controversy surrounding him over charges of financial bungling by a trust run by him and his wife was a clear indication of the confidence he enjoyed of the government and the party, he said "it is for others to judge" and added that one cannot "surrender" before those who just make allegations. He is taking over the ministry at a time when India is assuming greater global stature and the developed world, reeling from the global downturn, is looking at New Delhi afresh as an emerging economic power. India Against Corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "Jaipal Reddy - known to be honest - kicked out. Salman Khurshid - corrupt - promoted. That's UPA (sic)."

New Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Monday gave ample hint of a possible passenger fare hike to improve services in the Railways.

"Fare will not be increased for the sake of increasing fare. If fare will be increased, then it will be for providing better services to the passengers," Bansal said when asked whether passenger fares will be hiked in the near future.

"The improvement in services will have to be commensurate with the increase in fare," he said after assuming charge at Rail Bhawan here.

At present, the Railways are facing financial crunch and funds earmarked for many of the ongoing projects are being curtailed.

Justifying the need for a such step, the Railway Minister said, "We have to ensure that the vast infrastructure of the Railways does not collapse and stop functioning... So we have to increase fares and assure the public that if there will be any hike, the public will also appreciate it because we are going to improve the services."

However, he did not go into the nitty-gritty of a possible passenger fare hike. "I have just assumed charge... I will discuss the issue threadbare."

The new Minister of State for Railways Adheer Kumar Choudhury, who also assumed charge, favoured a hike in passenger fares.

"Prices have increased in every area... so why not in the Railways. Common people will not oppose it (fare hike) if services will be proper," said the West Bengal Congress leader and a known critic of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.

Choudhury said, "Rail services have fallen in the last few years. There are increasing number of complaints with regard to the services. Safety and security is a big concern for the Railways and I think these areas need attention."

On the issue of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), Bansal said, "We have to expeditiously work on DFC as it will benefit the people. All the regions of the country will get their due from the Railways."

He also promised to improve the ticket reservation system to ensure genuine passengers get confirmed tickets.

"We will try to improve the ticket reservation process with the help of technology so that there is less problem in getting tickets," he said.

Emphasising on the need safety and security, Bansal said, "We are aware of the fact that the primary concern is the safety of passengers. We have to do our best to ensure security of the passengers. Cleanliness is also important besides punctuality. We have to give a clean environment in the trains."

Bansal said, "It is our endeavour to strengthen the physical and financial position of the Railways. We have to move with the times."

"As fiscal consolidation takes place and investors' confidence increases, it is expected that the economy will return to the path of high investment, higher growth, lower inflation and long-term sustainability", Chidambaram said.

As regards the revenue targets, he said, "every effort will also be made to realise the revenue budgeted under tax receipts. Government also expects to be able to contain and economise on expenditure, both on Plan and non-Plan side.

"While funds will be made available for essential expenditure, especially capital expenditure, every effort will be made to avoid parking or idling of funds," he said.

The government had budgeted the fiscal deficit for 2012-13 at 5.1 per cent. However, as per the consolidation roadmap, it is expected to be 5.3 per cent of GDP.

Chidambaram said, "5.1 per cent was very challenging. After looking at all the factors we think 5.3 per cent is do-able and we intend to work hard and achieve that.

"This plan is necessary, this plan must be implemented and government is very serious about implementing this fiscal consolidation plan."

The roadmap follows the recommendation of the Vijay Kelkar-headed Committee which had suggested that the government should undertake reform initiatives, go ahead with disinvestments and reduce subsidies, without which fiscal deficit could shoot up to 6.1 per cent in 2012-13.

Chidambaram said the government is determined to address the twin challenges of current account deficit (CAD) and fiscal deficit.

He said the CAD is expected to come down to USD 70.3 billion or 3.7 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal, from USD 78.2 billion or 4.2 per cent in 2011-12.

"The government is confident that the CAD will be fully financed by capital inflows, and expects that a substantial part of it will be in the form of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), foreign institutional investment (FII) and External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)," Chidambaram said.

When asked about the introduction of the amended Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill, Chidambaram said, it is under review and would be presented to Parliament after taking into account the recommendations of the Standing Committee.

"A quick review of DTC Bill will be done. We are looking at the Bill that was introduced, at the standing committee's recommendations. We are also looking at current economic situation and therefore final version of bill that will be introduced in Parliament will reflect all these. By and large we will have to abide by Standing Committee recommendations," he said.

Chidambaram said the work is in progress on both the DTC and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

While DTC will replace the archaic Income Tax laws, GST will subsume various levies and streamline the indirect tax regime.

On lowering government holdings in state-owned firms, he said the Disinvestment Department has already obtained Cabinet approval for stake sale in 8 PSUs -- HCL, NALCO, SAIL, RINL, BHEL, OIL, MMTC and NMDC.

Chidambaram said the government would rely on Aadhaar enabled direct cash transfers of subsidies to eliminate duplication or falsification.

He said that the slowdown in the world economy, lower growth in India, higher inflation, lower tax receipts and increased expenditures led to considerable fiscal stress in the 2011-12 financial year.

The fiscal deficit, the gap between overall expenditure and revenue, rose to 5.8 per cent on GDP in 2011-12.

Chidambaram said that if immediate corrective steps were not taken then the economy could go into a cycle of low growth, high inflation and high deficit.

"I reiterated our commitment to bring the economy back on the high growth trajectory. Towards this end, some difficult but crucial decisions were taken recently," he said.

Chidambaram, soon after assuming office in August, has ushered in a host of reform initiative. While the diesel price was hiked by over Rs 5 a litre from September 13, the foreign investment norms were liberalised for retail, pension, insurance, information and broadcasting sectors.

Chidambaram had in August, appointed a three member committee under the chairmanship of 13th Finance Commission headed Kelkar to suggest a roadmap for fiscal consolidation.

As per the roadmap given by the Committee, the Centre should aim to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4.6 per cent and 3.9 per cent by 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively.

FM hopes RBI takes note of fiscal consolidation plan

Finance Minister said he hoped the country's central bank would take note of the government's fiscal consolidation plan as the government pushes ahead with initiatives to stimulate a sluggish economy.

Chidambaram's comments came a day ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) quarterly policy review. The central bank, which is not expected to cut rates on Tuesday, has previously called for fiscal consolidation measures from the government.


* Finance Minister P Chidambaram unveils roadmap for fiscal consolidation.

* Government accepts recommendations of Kelkar Committee on fiscal consolidation; fiscal deficit to be 5.3% in 2012-13: Chidambaram.

* Fiscal consolidation will help in moving to a regime of low inflation and high growth: Chidambaram.

* I am reviewing Direct Taxes Code (DTC), it will be introduced in Parliament; meeting on GST on November 8: Chidambaram.

* Government expecting current account deficit of USD 70.3 billion or 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2012-13: Chidambaram

* We are confident of raising Rs 30,000 crore from disinvestment in current fiscal: Chidambaram

London Global investors seem happy to feed off central banks' reflation policies but not necessarily their eventual success.

Just a glance at this week's bout of earnings-related market angst shows how little conviction there still is in a sustainable global recovery -- or the fabled 'green shoots'.

In an otherwise punchy, policy-driven year of double-digit western equity gains, October is set to be first month in the red since May for both MSCI's all-country world stock index and US blue chips in the S&P 500.

To keep that in perspective, this month's wobble of 1-2 per cent pales in comparison with prior Halloween scares.

There was a 22 per cent monthly drop on Wall Street during the October crash 25 years this week and there was a near 17 percent October drop after Lehman Brothers went bust in 2008.

But if investors have been happy so far this year riding waves of central bank money-printing or asset-buying from the United States, euro zone, Britain and -- likely yet again next week -- from Japan, they remain doubtful the hell-for-leather policy of reflation will succeed.

Positive economic surprises, including third-quarter US and British economic growth data, and signs of economic bottoming in the latest Chinese or East Asian export data might also be good reasons for underlying bullishness. But markets continue to show caution.

Behaviour in the fixed-income markets shows it best.

With official interest rates bolted near zero and central banks directly supporting many key sovereign and asset-backed markets, there's been an indiscriminate scramble for any sort of extra yield on offer while the liquidity taps are full on.

The surge in demand for everything from emerging sovereign and corporate bonds to western junk bonds, where new dollar high-yield debt sales have jumped almost 40 percent this year to smash full-year records already at some $268 billion, has seen yield premia nearly everywhere get crushed.

This hunt has even stretched to crisis-tarnished collateralised loan obligations and seen sub-6 percent 10-year debt sales from the likes of Bolivia and Zambia.

While it suggests gung-ho risk appetite, however, some analysts are struck by the willingness to assume 'duration risk', or the risk to bond prices from higher interest rates in future.

This suggests an assumption of near-zero rates and money printing policies will persist for many more years.

And that in itself assumes central banks will not gain any traction in boosting growth or inflation over a similarly long horizon. What such a dearth of growth does to underlying credit or default risk is yet another point.

Graham Neilson, strategist at credit hedge fund Cairn Capital, said this is as much a reflection of increasingly tactical, short-term trading by investors who could switch back just as quickly. The yield compression has overshot and needs consolidation, he said.

But our core view is this crisis has seen the biggest, broadest, balance sheet destruction ever and history tells us any recovery from these events takes on average about 8 years start to finish, Neilson said.

There will be a tipping point for reflation at some stage but we're nowhere near that point.

On the other hand, medium term interest rate risk can come from many quarters.

For example, Barclays said this week that a win for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in next month's election could see a 50 basis point jump in 2015 Fed funds rate futures on an assumption he would propose a more hawkish replacement for Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke in 2014.

Equity doubts

Are these long-term economic doubts evident in what has seemed like ebullient equity markets too?

So far, the third-quarter earnings season -- which is expected to see a 1.7 percent annual drop overall in S&P 500 profits -- shows some 40 percent of European companies and 30 percent of U.S. firms missing expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

While that still leaves about two-thirds of companies meeting or beating forecasts, in line with previous quarters, more worrying is falling revenues and darkening outlooks from big real economy firms such as Caterpillar and Intel or Renault and Ericsson.

Partly in light of the latest results, JP Morgan Asset Management's multi-asset team this week highlighted its worries about equity market behaviour, saying there are several features of the current revival that don't smell right.

The note by strategists David Shairp and Patrik Schowitz reckoned equity prices had run way ahead of broader risk appetite, which was evident mostly only in credit markets.

Investors appear to have been reluctant in adding equity risk, adding to defensives but largely avoiding cyclicals, they said. There will need to be rotation into higher-beta sectors, or the rally will peter out.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's latest fund manager poll shows asset managers still underweight equities relative to historical positioning.

So is all the caution a reality check or does it reveal vulnerability in investor positioning if reflation policies start to work sooner rather than later?

Another US election twist shows up here to. Both economic and earnings data this week shows businesses freezing capital goods expenditure, in part over fears over how a post-election US government will deal with the looming fiscal cliff.

But if that were to be resolved quickly, could there be a capex fillip to the economy and markets?

The Barclays strategists see Romney as more likely to dodge the looming fiscal drag of expiring tax relief and government spending quickly and they reckon a victory by him could see 10-year Treasury yields jump above 2 percent as a result.

Sign Up For a Roundup of The Week's Top Bloggers
Follow SI :