The 2008 financial crisis gutted Girish Kumar’s portfolio value by 90 percent. So much for technical and fundamental analysis. The 42-year-old textiles businessman from Jaipur turned to astrology, and now he says the stars guide him to a profit every month.
Kumar is part of a group of Indians who think that analysing the positions of the planets, stars and other celestial bodies can predict the direction of the stock market and suggest which companies and sectors deserve their money.
“There is something in this universe that makes it run. I believe in that,” said Kumar, who pays an astrologer 100,000 rupees a year, about $1,700, for stock market advice.
Though exact numbers are hard to come by, financial astrologers say that they have seen business increase by nearly a third every year since the 2008 financial crisis jolted Indian investors, many of whom are wary of investing in stocks, preferring instead tangible assets such as real estate and gold.
Despite rising disposable income and an emerging middle class, data shows that less than 5 percent Indian households’ savings are invested in stocks. In comparison, an estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold is lying idle with households, according to the World Gold Council.