Crisis of confidence? You must be joking!
Joe Blogger had a cheque returned last week. They said it was due to “Insufficient Funds.” Now, Joe’s not sure if they meant his account or the bank’s?
There are two sides to a bank’s balance sheet – the left side and the right side. On the left side, there is nothing right, and on the right side, there is nothing left!
My cell phone has been bombarded with forwarded jokes like the ones above ever since the global financial crisis started. At least some people have their sense of humour intact despite the troubled times. Some might even thank God for such small mercies.
The BSE Sensex which has been hurtling down in a merciless downward spiral for the past 8 months has seen a Monday morning surge. The index is up more than 7 pct on assurances from finance minister P Chidambaram that the government was working on more measures to improve liquidity.
But will liquidity revive the markets and restore confidence?
For its part, India’s top private sector lender ICICI has unleashed an unprecedented information drive (on TV, by email and SMS) to assure depositors that all is well with the bank.
Over the past months, the world which went flat so that business could go where it’s done best might have actually shrunk. Pundits and punters talking about the Great Depression of the 1930s as if it was a Friday movie release that was not well-received.
The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) CRR cut is expected to infuse Rs 60,000 crores into the markets. This money can ease pressure on businesses which some newspapers reports said were forced to borrow from private lenders at 35-40 pct to sustain or complete existing projects, especially in the real estate sector.
Realty stocks like DLF which launched promoters like KP Singh into the global rich list have foundered badly.
But the contagion did not stop at just the real estate scrips. Bellwether IT firms like Infosys and TCS have been hammered along with banking stocks like ICICI which fell prey to a world-wide market aversion to the financial sector.
All this despite a general consensus among market analysts and economists that India remain comparatively insulated because of its strong fundamentals and less dependency on exports.
Has the bottom been found finally?
Is this the right time to buy battered stocks and build your portfolio?
Can someone actually time this market?
We would love to get some answers. If you don’t have them, even jokes will do. I know it’s too late to laugh our way to the banks. But a smile can help, even in such days of despair.