Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tomorrow Never Dies

Even though, Mumbai was attacked by the Terrorists, our Stock Markets have shown remarkable maturity and the F&O settlement was quite peaceful.

Week that was

Bailout of Citibank and Slashing of interest rates by China kept the hopes of the global markets alive. There was a very much positive movement in majority of the global markets from which our markets also took cues. There was a marginal rise in the large cap indices on a weekly basis. Sensex closed above the crucial support line of 8900 points, which gives hopes of positive trend for the next week. However, Real Estate sector was the worst hit.

Inflation continued its downward trend falling to 8.84% and GDP growth was at 7.60% raising fresh hopes that RBI may cut rates once again. Rupee had a marginal fall against USD closing at 50.12.

Week Ahead

As said earlier, there are chances of mild up-trend for our market. Sensex will have a strong support around 8650 levels and find resistance at 9350, 9650 and 10200 levels. Further direction will depend on the global cues and decision of RBI to cut the interest rates. Rupee will be range bound and consolidating around 50 levels. Rupee movement will depend on stock market trends and NDF market movements.

Happy week ahead.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sleepless Nights

Crisis in the “Never sleeping Citibank” brought sleepless nights for the equity markets across the globe. There were speculations in the markets that Citibank was about to become bankrupt any time soon. Such speculations were not without reasons. Citibank announced that it would downsize its workforce by 53,000. Its share price crashed in US markets in the last week. Announcement by the US President elect Mr.Obama that the Head of Federal Reserve Bank of New York would be the Treasury Secretary of his cabinet brought some cheers in the market on the last day of the week.

Week that was

Our markets were showing negative trends throughout the last week except for the last day’s surge taking cues from Global markets. Major global markets were very much negative during the week and many of them hit fresh lows of the year. Official confirmation of recession in Japan and few other countries helped the bears to have a complete grip over the market.

In India, Rate cut talks and moderation of inflationary expectations did not help our markets much that closely tracked the global events. Prime Minister’s request to the corporate to cut the prices to revive the economy did not go well with the market. Even though crucial line of 8900 points was broken during the week, the last day’s last hour surge helped the Sensex to close above the line of 8900 points bringing in some hopes.

For the week, Sensex lost around 470 points (5.10%) and Nifty lost around 120 points (4.16%). Once again, the Realty sector was the worst hit followed by Banking and Metal sectors.

Crude Oil prices went below $50 during the week. CBOE Vix peaked at 80 during the week and then had a fall during the last trading session of the week.

FIIs continued to sell in Indian markets and our Forex Reserves further came down to $246 billion dollars. Inflation had fallen to 8.90% from the previous week level of 8.98%. Indian Rupee weakened further against US Dollar because of FII selling, surging import needs and NDF market arbitrage.

Week Ahead

Last day of the previous week witnessed a rise for the indices with a high F&O volume indicating that the short-term trend will be positive. Fall in CBOE Vix (US) also supports the view as the global volatility may come down in the immediate future. Even though there are fears of a possible Citibank bankruptcy, markets are now in an oversold zone and there may be short covering and bottom fishing at every lower level.

There are strong bets in our market on a possible rate cut by RBI, as there is a moderation of inflationary expectations, which may help our indices to stage a brief relief rally.

This week, Sensex may march towards 9400 levels breaking which to 9800 levels. In case of any bad news from US, the downside targets are 8400 and 7800 points.

Rupee may consolidate around 50 levels with a positive bias, as the immediate expectations on our equity markets are positive. Further direction will depend on the movements in NDF markets and Equity markets.

Investors may look into stocks of public sector banks, which may be benefited by the probable rate cut with a long-term view. Similarly, Oil Marketing Companies, which are going to be benefited by the fall in international crude prices, may also be good bets for long-term call.
Wishing you a happy week ahead.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Slope of Hope?

A classical Bear market always keeps the “Hopes of Recovery” alive by not allowing them to become a reality.

Week that was

Every thing looked fine at the start of the previous week. There was a massive stimulus package announced by China. Dollar demand across the globe had eased down. Pace of FII outflows from Indian markets had slowed down. Global cues were better. Local sentiments improved. Helped by the above factors, Sensex rallied to the levels above 10500 points at the start of the week itself.

Huge sell-off came thereafter. Sensex lost more than 1000 points from the top it formed for the week and ended with a net loss of 580 points (5.81%) for the week. Better than expected IIP numbers (4.90%) for the first half-year (2008-09) and surprise fall of Inflation rate to single digit (8.98%) failed to arrest the losses for the week. Realty Sector was the worst affected with a weekly loss of 14% followed by Capital Goods Sector.

US economic data released during the week confirmed that US is in the grip of recession. Also, there were doubts in the minds of investors regarding the continuity of support to the Wall Street after the regime change. Nasdaq lost as much as 8% and Dow Jones lost 5%. Other major Global Indices barring China also faced big correction during the week.

Rupee witnessed one more fall because of renewed demand for US Dollar. Crude Oil continued its downslide.

Week Ahead?

G-20 meeting has come out with a set of sweeping plans to revive the world economy. Efficacy of these plans is yet to be known as an outgoing US President headed the meeting and the incoming US President did not participate in the meeting.

Surge in CBOE Vix (Volatility Index) and NSE Vix indicate that there will be huge volatility in the coming week also. Technically (as we mentioned in the previous week) Sensex has already broken the important support line of 9600 points and closed well below it. Other technical indicators also point out that the downtrend may continue in the coming week also. However, with the Inflationary expectations moderating, any RBI action in bringing down the interest rates may be a positive factor for the market.

Sensex may find a technical support around 8900 points and a resistance around 10200 points. Traders may consider taking opposite position on extreme situations however with strict stop losses. Investors may consider entering into ETFs (Sensex and Nifty ETF) at the levels around 9000 points with a long-term view.

Rupee is expected to be consolidating around 50 levels and much will depend on FII action and RBI intervention.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Phase of the Downtrend is Over?

Till some times back, every thing looked all right. Stock markets were scaling new highs. Real Estate prices were hitting the sky. Employees were enjoying hefty bonuses and huge pay hikes. India was talking about double-digit growth.

Whatever happened then looks like a dream now because of the Subprime crisis and the consequent global recession.

Since then, stock indices have crashed out. Metals have plunged down. Real Estate prices have been brought down to earth. Multinational (Investment) Banks went bankrupt. Jobs are being lost. Governments are supporting the Banks by providing capital. Central Banks are cutting interest rates drastically and pumping in billions of dollars into the system to ease out liquidity crisis.

As of now, panic level has come down in the financial markets, which appear to be finding a bottom for the time being. Dollars are more freely available in the international markets and LIBOR level has come down significantly.

Experts feel that the first phase of the downtrend is over for the time being. The second phase will be impacting more on the economies rather than the financial markets.

Second phase of the downtrend may witness the bankruptcy (i.e. not able to service the Debt and support the imports) of countries like Argentina, Hungary and Pakistan. IMF has already stepped in to save these countries. Global economy will be slowing down in the immediate future.

Now let us review our markets.

Week that was

As we expected, there was a sharp rally in the in the equity market for the first two days supported by cutting of interest rates by the central banks across the globe and FII inflows. However with the global markets turnig negative after the US elections were over and our weekly Inflation (10.72%) being much higher than the market expectations, Sensex was not able to cross the resistance level of 10750 points decisively. Huge sell off was then witnessed taking the index back to 9600 levels. Still, Friday’s small rally of 230 points helped the Sensex to close positive for the second week in a row. The positive news for the week was the return of FII flows into our markets. Bad news is that the series of economic data released in USA confirmed that USA is grip of recession.

Rupee rallied against US Dollar after hitting a historic low of 50.15 levels in the previous week. However the bad news is that the Forex Reserves of the country dipped by another $5.5 billion for the week ended 30.10.2008.

Week Ahead

As we mentioned earlier, the panic level has come down and there is some sort of stability returning to the markets across the globe.

Arrest of FII outflows and rather some inflows into our markets too have improved the underlying sentiments

Technically, Sensex can again rise to the levels of 10800 points breaking which it may move towards 11800 points. Only precondition is that it should hold above 9600 points and in case of any fall below that level it may retest 8900 levels once again.

Traders are suggested to take position according to the global movements however with strict stop losses.

Investors are suggested to buy some blue chip stocks and public sector banks with a 3-5 years time horizon at fall, as there is limited down side from here onwards.

Rupee may consolidate around these levels as (already mentioned) there is easing of dollar demand in the international markets.

Have a nice week ahead.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Interest Rate Cuts are in the Interest of the Nation?

Nowadays, RBI’s moves have become more predictable which appear to be just following the signals from the finance ministry. There has been a cut of 3.50% in CRR (the money, banks have to keep with RBI in cash), 1.50% in Repo Rate (the rate at which Banks borrow from the Central Bank) and 1.00% cut in SLR (the money, banks have to keep in statutory liquid assets) in the last few weeks alone.

Let us discuss hereunder whether these monetary measures can actually help the country in coming out of its economic slow down blues or these measures are simple paracetemol doses given to cure (tranquil) the cancerous diseases.

First of all, let us understand the economic problems that we are going to face in the near future because of the (current) global recession.

Ø There will be a fall in demand across the globe and our exports may be hit. BPO and BFSI segments of our IT sector may also be hit.
Ø Rising of new capital funds by our corporate will become more difficult in the absence of vibrant stock markets and FII inflows (Capital formation is key to sustain growth of any developing country).
Ø Business confidence will come down because of fall in demand and difficulties in rising funds. New businesses as well as expansion of existing business may not take off in large scale. In fact, there are possibilities of downsizing/closure of many existing business units leading to job losses.
Ø Real Estate Sector will be affected because of lack of demand and Lifestyle Sector will also be affected, as the consumers may prefer to cut down their expenditures in uncertain times.

Coming back to the monetary measures as discussed in the first paragraph, pumping money into the system may not help by itself to improve the economic conditions like similar measures (not addressing to the core problem) failed in US. Throwing money into the problem is like adding fuel to the fire.

No corporate will come forward to put additional money (by borrowing) in to their businesses if they find investment is not going to be profitable because of the expected fall in demand. Also, commercial banks may not lend if they find that projects are not viable even if their margins are good. As the Money growth (M3) is already at very high levels, cutting interest rates may make it more difficult to contain inflation in the immediate future.

To sum up, the real problem of today is not the scarcity of money but the risk appetite among the investors because of the lack of confidence in the growth of the country.

On the other hand, there are certain positive factors for India rising out of the current global recessionary environment.

Ø India is basically an import-oriented country. Our growth is more of consumption oriented rather than export oriented like China. When there is a recession across the globe the price of basic goods such as oil, cement, steel and other metals will come down helping the country to reduce its import bill and indulge in more infrastructure building measures at lower cost.
Ø In case of cost cutting measures of businesses across the world, there is a possibility of more BPO business flowing to India. Indian industry can conquer new frontiers if they are able to come out with innovative products (like Nano Car) with high cost efficiency.

Further, there has been a huge economic imbalance created in the last eight years of our economic growth. Few sections of the society have been benefited much more than the masses of the country. Now we have a (forced) breathing time to think about taking the growth to the masses also.

It is the right time for the Indian government to come forward and increase its investment expenditure particularly in the infrastructure, public health, public utilities and primary education sectors, which will benefit both the masses and the industry. Further right mix of prudent monetary and fiscal measures can help us to come out of the difficult times.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Light at the End of Tunnel?

October 2008 has been one of the worst ever months for the Stock Market with its key index (Nifty) registering a huge loss of 26% on a monthly basis. FIIs sold around 15,000 crores worth of stocks during the month alone. However, the last week of the month has raised few hopes of stability returning to the stock markets.

What gives the hopes?

There was a smart recovery in the (last week) opening day’s trade after hitting a multi year low of 7697 points in the intra-day session. Diwali’s Muhurat trading witnessed the best ever Diwali day gain. Wednesday, market managed to hold the big gain with a smooth F&O expiry. Friday, market registered one of its best gains in its history. Thus there were sparklers on every day of the week, registering a gain of 1000 points on a weekly basis. The losing trend was broken in the last week.

US markets also closed positive on a weekly basis. More significantly, the volatility indicator CBOE Vix has come down indicating that the markets are calming down for time being.

There were interest rate cuts by almost all the (major) central banks. India’s turn came after the business week was over as last but not with the least number of cuts. There was a cut of 50 bps in Repo Rate, 100 bps in CRR and 100 bps in SLR releasing around Rs.80,000 crores to the system.

Inflation has also come down on a weekly basis to 10.68% and there are provisional reports indicating that FIIs were the net buyers on Friday. Beaten down stocks like Unitech were the major gainers for the week.

Rupee has marginally strengthened against US Dollar on a weekly basis first time since a month.

What’s ahead?

All the above factors give fresh hopes that market may stage a recovery in the near term, which can take the Sensex to 10750 levels breaking which to 11800 levels. At the same time, if the market is not able to sustain the opening day’s (Monday) gains there will be down trend which may take the Sensex to 8900 points breaking which to 8300 levels.

All depends on the FIIs’ activities, which have been selling in the market with venom thorough out the entire calendar year 2008. But the pace of FII selling may slow down in the immediate future.

I am still having the view that market may hit a fresh trough wherein the panic will set in the minds of Indian Investors (also) before taking any solid up trend. Till that time, market may be consolidating in the range of 9000-12000 levels.

Investors are suggested to look into large cap stocks that have given good September results and public sector banks at falls. Traders may take a position based on the support/resistance levels as mentioned above however with strict stop loss limits.

Rupee may consolidate around 50 levels and may have marginal appreciation in the light of monetary measures of RBI.

Wish You All Happy Investing Times Ahead.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dwindling Forex Reserves

Forex Reserves of our country has shrunk by $15.47 billion (approx.Rs.77,000 crores), its largest ever fall, to $258.415 billion in just one week (ended 24.10.2008)

Reasons for such sharp fall are

1. Persistent selling of equity shares in our market by FIIs
2. Strengthening of US Dollar against other major currencies across the globe leading to the devaluation of such currencies in RBI’s kitty.
3. RBI intervention in the Rupee market to arrest its fall against US Dollar.

Forex Reserves are of strategic importance to any country. Countries like Argentina and Pakistan are on the verge of financial bankruptcy as their forex reserves are not sufficient to support the imports.