Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Rating downgrade a credible threat for India


(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Indian stock markets have hardly gone anywhere since June, with the Nifty hovering in the 8-9 pct range. But the coming months may see a breakout of this range as volatility, as measured by the India VIX index, seems to be rebounding from four-year lows, after having fallen for three months in a row. A short-term break, out of the range, on the downside seems more probable. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } A worker displays rotten wheat grains at a godown on the outskirts of Amritsar June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Munish Sharma/Files An employee inspects a spinning wheel used to roll power wires at Kei Industries in the industrial estate of Bhiwadi, Rajasthan August 6, 2012. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files A labourer carries bricks at a residential complex under construction on the outskirts of Ahmedabad September 2, 2010. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

Having said that, the recent collapse in stock prices of some companies, in which promoters had pledged a significant portion of their stakes, shows that the system is cutting down on leverage at the very grassroot level — the stock broker. When this happens, you know that ‘the bottom is nigh’.

The near-term outlook for Indian markets, however, also hinges on developments in the U.S. and Europe. U.S. equities seem to be at the height of their infatuation with QE3 and may be in for a rude jolt.

Economic consequences of deadlock in Parliament


(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The monsoon session of Parliament has been a washout without any important business being transacted. This has been made out to be a political strategy on the part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to force early elections. Obviously, the Congress-led coalition is unlikely to oblige. The unintended victim is the economy which has been stopped from getting back to growth.

Indian markets stuck in a rut

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

It’s now been close to four years since domestic and global financial markets have been in a state of flux, plagued by uncertainty, as a slowdown ensures that government after government revises its growth forecast downwards.

GAAR-supported bounceback tough to sustain

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

A reversal after four weeks of gains saw the Nifty closing 2.38 pct lower at 5258. The mid-cap segment of the market caved in earlier with the large caps holding fort till Thursday. The Parliament logjam continued on the “Coalgate” issue and hopes of any worthwhile business being conducted in this monsoon session are dim. Given the political scenario, the war-rooms of political parties are getting into election mode, which could be earlier than 2014. This too will hardly raise hopes for Indian markets as the electorate seems too fractured to have a strong government which would have the ability to push through reforms, including non-populist ones.

Challenging times but hopes of recovery after 2014 polls

(Rajan Ghotgalkar is Managing Director of Principal Pnb Asset Management Company. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of either Principal Pnb or Reuters)

These are possibly the most challenging times for India because, simply put, every goal post seems to be oscillating.

Liquidity reigns supreme as market ignores data points


The Nifty crossed 5350 levels last week after nearly three months with strong buying by FIIs, closing about two pct higher at 5320. Stronger than expected U.S. payroll data, positive cues from the  euro zone and comments from Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram assuring to unveil a path of fiscal consolidation and undertake remedial measures to revive the domestic economy, boosted investor sentiment.

However, negative IIP data along with weak corporate results disappointed the markets in the latter half of the week, causing the indices to trim some of the earlier gains.

What money can buy


By Raghuram Rajan
The opinions expressed are his own

In an interesting recent book, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of the Market, the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel points to the range of things that money can buy in modern societies and gently tries to stoke our outrage at the market’s growing dominance. Is he right that we should be alarmed?

While Sandel worries about the corrupting nature of some monetized transactions (do kids really develop a love of reading if they are bribed to read books?), he is also concerned about unequal access to money, which makes trades using money inherently unequal. More generally, he fears that the expansion of anonymous monetary exchange erodes social cohesion, and argues for reducing money’s role in society.

Overseas cues to drive the market but limited upside


A positive week for the markets saw volatility in a narrow band with Nifty gaining about 115 points to close at 5216, a gain of about 2.25 pct. The midcaps and small caps outperformed the frontline stocks indicating retail interest.

FIIs continued with their buying spree lapping up about US$ 535 million worth of stocks. The new finance minister  Palaniappan Chidambaram was given a thumbs up but expectations of any radical move are low especially after the disappointment from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the last fortnight.

Why the RBI preferred an SLR cut


(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The first quarter review of monetary policy did not create any ripples. The stock market remained flat and investors and consumers showed little interest. That was because RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao had made enough noise earlier that the time was not right and conditions were not suitable for a rate cut.

Not so easy for India to come out of the dark


(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Many words have been used to describe the power outages that put half of India in the dark this week: embarrassing, catastrophic, the worst the world has seen. While all of these may be true, the blackout also embodied the dire situation the country could be headed to without the necessary reforms to modernise its economic infrastructure. To be sure, it is not a lack of vision that would lead India to similar potential disasters in the future, but a lack of political will.

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