Week ahead to be choppy, trade cautiously

Markets continued to remain choppy and gained on two trading days, lost on two days and were flat on the fifth day. BSE SENSEX lost 163.83 points or 0.41 percent to close at 39,452.07 points while NIFTY lost 47.35 points or 0.40 percent to close at 11,823.30 points. The broader indices saw BSE100, BSE200, and BSE500 lose a little more at 0.51 percent, 0.60 percent, and 0.70 percent respectively. Dow Jones gained 105.67 points or 0.41 percent to close at 26,089.61 points.

Markets are moving in a range with support on the NIFTY around the 11,700-11,750 level and BSE SENSEX around 39,200-39,400 levels. Previous tops are the resistances for both the indices. Markets seem to be drifting currently and need some strong news flow for the breakout in either direction to happen. There doesn’t seem to be any news which has the power to drive markets at this time. The next big planned news would be the budget due on July 5.

India has levied higher retaliatory duties on 28 American products in lieu of being denied preference under its ‘GSP’ program. The trade war seems to be escalating. Reconciliation between the US and China on this issue seems to be difficult at this point of time with both sides taking a tough stance. With more and more countries being targeted, the time when Americans start feeling the pinch on the day to day items which are currently imported is not far off.

SEBI wants to come down very heavily on insider trading and has floated a consultative paper or invited suggestions on incentivizing whistleblowers to tackle this issue. SEBI proposes to pay up to 10 percent of the amount levied or disgorged subject to an upper cap of Rs 1 crore. While in perspective this looks a good idea, one needs to learn from what happened with the India Bulls group companies last week. Lawyer Kislay Pandey of the Supreme Court filed a complaint against the company and the promoter, accusing him of siphoning off Rs 98,000 crore. The track record of the lawyer leaves a lot to be desired. Further, the so-called investor on whose behalf the lawyer filed the petition had bought just 4 shares during May. Incidentally, he is a milk vendor by profession and a history-sheeter.

The point being made here is that a complaint which is frivolous in nature is widely circulated, digital and social media is used to spread the news and cause panic in the share and then the complaint itself is withdrawn. Even filing the complaint and then withdrawing costs a lot of money. Who financed the entire operation and what was the purpose? Surveillance measures in the stock exchanges are quite robust to find out who traded, what time, what price and also what quantity. This can be also tracked with whether the trade was squared off or continues to remain open. With such systems in place, it is difficult to imagine that short term trading and profiting was the objective. While hundreds of investors in the company, India Bulls Housing have lost a fortune as the stock fell around 20 percent during the week which before recovering to close at Rs 672.10, a loss of Rs 62.75 or 8.29 percent, one still doesn’t know who benefited or what was the objective. I strongly believe that this case is not yet over and more will follow in the coming days and weeks.

Coming back to the SEBI matter on whistleblowing, there have to be very strong deterrents for bogus and flimsy complaints or so-called insider trading information given for the reward. In case the same is bogus, a withdrawal or apologizing should not solve the matter. The person should be made to pay for the so-called losses suffered by various stakeholders. In any case, this is the beginning of the issue and there is a long time to go before it becomes law.

The week ahead would continue to remain choppy and volatile. As mentioned earlier, markets are looking for direction and for a breakout or breakdown in prices. Until and unless markets move decisively, they will continue to trade in this limited range and remain listless. This breakout or breakdown is likely to happen before June futures expire on Thursday, June 27. Trade cautiously and only short the market with adequate stop losses.