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Most of those who aren't familiar with stock markets feel at a loss when figures related to stocks and shares are mentioned-it's all Greek. Then there are those few who do attempt to comprehend the workings of the markets, but don't know where to look. Fortunately, there's BSEIndia.com, a site where one can not only trade online, but also discover what the share market is all about. The site isn't overly user-friendly, but you can't expect too much hand-holding from the official site of the Bombay Stock Exchange now, can you?
BSEIndia.com works in sync with the transactions of the BSE, and all dealings halt when the market closes for the day.
Before we talk about www.bseindia .com itself, we should mention the Trade@BSE WebX link on the page, which is particularly important for a first-timer. This link leads to another Web site altogether (www.bsewebx.com), which is the venue for Internet trading allowed by the BSE.
The FAQ on the main page of Trade@BSE WebX explains phrases such as "market watch" and "touch line." There are also guidelines to investing and dealing, as well as a 75-page Help PDF-an investor user manual.
Then, there are links titled 'Investors', 'Brokers', 'Sub-Brokers' and 'Custodians', which provide directions to each of these groups of people.
If you're an investor, for example, and want to know what the site can do for you, this would be the place to search. On the site are tools such as SpeedX Plus-a streaming real-time stock quote system.
At Trade@BSE WebX, you can search for registered brokers, sub-brokers and companies, and register with them for trading. One usually feels dependant on the broker during trading - the site minimises this need. Besides an ID and a password, you are provided with a personal risk profile by a broker.
The Home Page
There is a lot on the home page of www.bseindia.com for one to pause and take stock of (pun intended!). The first thing you'll notice is probably the top bar that streams equity prices. There are nine titled links arranged beneath this bar, leading to the main pages of the site. Below these are three links-'Equity', 'Derivatives' and 'Debt'. All these display their contents as drop-downs.
For example, when your cursor settles on 'Public Issues', the drop-down menu displays such things as 'About Bookbuilding', 'Forthcoming Issues', and 'Fixed Price Issues'. There's also a glossary of investor jargon. For some reason, however, the drop-downs work only after you've clicked one of the links!
Then there's the Sensex chart, an indices table, and a corporate announcement table. There are also search windows you can use to obtain corporate information and price/ charting of companies.
There's Something For Everyone
The main page has been designed for the regular investor and broker, but the site hasn't forgotten about those who aren't into everyday trading. For example, if you want to understand what the Indices link is all about, a preface in the drop-down explains several details before you proceed. All the headings under Indices, such as 'BSE100' and 'BSEBANKEX', have stuff you'd probably label as "market talk," but there is an introduction to all of it.
The BSE WebX-look here if you are new to shares and trading
A pop down on each link takes you further into the site
The site lists vacancies in 'Careers' under 'About us'. Then there's the 'My BSE' link, where you create a profile to keep a tab on your dealings. You can store records of your dealings here besides the piles of documents that your transactions will produce. This makes reference to your dealings fairly easy when you're looking up market information.
The BSE runs an institute in its building: the Bombay Stock Exchange Training Institute (BTI). Its e-learning centre has an online library that can be accessed all visitors to BSEIndia.com.
On The Other Hand…
BSEIndia.com has its share of negatives when it comes to design. The fonts are bland, some are too small, and there's some overlap of drop-downs which can lead to accidental clicks. Firefox users will experience problems with the site.
An interesting feature called SPIcE (SENSEX Prudential ICICI Exchange traded fund) is at the absolute end of 'Listings'. The Exchange trade fund (ETF) is a mutual fund that also acts as a security; it is practically impossible to find this unless you're fairly familiar with the site. Besides, Trade@BSE WebX is important if the BSE hopes to encourage new investors, but this has been relegated to an obscure corner on the home page.
Despite these shortcomings, BSEIndia.com is a fairly well-managed site. The minimal use of colour aids in reducing confusion, and once one knows where to look, it's easy to navigate.
So go ahead-explore, learn and start trading!