2011: Investors lose Rs20 lakh crore in stocks this year

Fears of a global economic slowdown and domestic troubles with inflation, interest rates, lack of reforms and the falling rupee made investors cautious in 2011

In a departure from big gains in the past two years, investors saw around Rs20 lakh crore of their wealth eroded as Indian equities tanked in 2011 because of inflation, high interest rates and the uncertain global growth environment accentuated by the euro zone debt crisis.

In addition, the rupee fell to historic lows against the US dollar, hitting the country's import bill. The bellwether indices of the Bombay Stock Exchange as well as the National Stock Exchange fell by over 26% during the course of the year, touching new lows.

The 30-scrip BSE Sensex was down by 5,334.01 points, or over 26%, at 15,175.08 on December 20, against last year's close of 20,509.09. Similarly, the 50-share Nifty witnessed a hefty fall of 1,590.30 points, or 25.92%, to 4,544.20 on December 20 from last year's close.

There has been some recovery since then, with the Sensex closing at 15,873.95 and the Nifty at 4,750.50 yesterday, but market experts say investors remain cautious on India. Globally, the deepening European debt crisis and a historic downgrade of US creditworthiness hit the economic growth sentiment.

Besides, political turmoil in the Middle East pushed up global crude oil prices, adding to inflationary pressures and pushing up the country's import bill. FIIs, the main drivers of the market, turned negative on Indian equities this year and after having injected a record Rs1,33,266 crore, or over $ 29.36 billion, in 2010, pulled out Rs2,497.50 crore, or $318.00 million, from equities till December 19.

Meanwhile, as per Sebi data, they pumped in Rs39,637.50 crore, or over $ 8.2 billion, into the debt market till December 19. The Sensex had gained 7,817.50 points, or 81.03% in 2009 -- the highest rise in any one year in absolute terms -- while it spurted by another 3,044.28 points, or 17.43%, in 2010. The Nifty also had soared by 2,241.90 points, or 75.76%, in 2009, followed by 933.45 points, or 17.95%, last year.

Fears of a global economic slowdown and domestic troubles with inflation, interest rates, lack of reforms and the falling rupee made investors cautious in 2011, especially during the last quarter.

Aggressive offloading resulted in 12 of the 13 sectoral indices closing in the red, with some of them hitting 52-week lows during 2011. Only the BSE-FMCG gained, but just about 9% up to last week. In a bid to tame swollen inflation, the Reserve Bank of India hiked key lending rates 13 times in 19 months. It also cut the GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.6% from 8% projected earlier.
However, in the mid-quarter monetary policy review on December 16, the RBI left the lending rate unchanged to support faltering economic growth amid hopes that inflation will begin to fall after hovering close to double digits most of the year.

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Punj Lloyd bags Rs1,050 crore project from GMR

Punj Lloyd Group's total order book, on a consolidated basis, now stands at Rs28,725 crore

Punj Lloyd has bagged a Rs1,050 crore order from GMR Projects for upgrading the four-lane Chittorgarh bypass to Udaipur in Rajasthan into a six-lane roadway.

"Worth Rs1,050 crore, the project is scheduled for commissioning in 36 months and has been awarded to Punj Lloyd on a turnkey fixed EPC price basis," Punj Lloyd today said in a statement. The total length of the bypass is 124 kilometres.

"The scope of work for the project includes design and construction. The project forms part of Phase V of the National Highways Development Programme of the NHAI for upgrading the existing four-lane section to six lanes," it said.

"This EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) project from GMR is a testimony to our experience and expertise of completion of projects of national significance," company CEO (Infrastructure) SS Raju said in a statement.
Punj Lloyd Group's total order book, on a consolidated basis, now stands at Rs28,725 crore.

Shares of Punj Lloyd were trading at Rs40.70 apiece on the BSE, down 60 paise, or 1.45%, from their previous close.

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Deepak Parekh resigns from HUL Board

Deepak Parekh, who was on the HULs board since 1997, resigned after putting in more than 14 years in the firm

FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) today said HDFC Ltd Chairman Deepak Parekh, who is an independent director in the company's board has resigned after more than 14 years of association with the firm citing personal reasons.

Parekh, who was on the company's board since 1997, resigned after putting in more than 14 years in the firm, HUL said in a filing to the BSE.
The resignation is with effect from December 27, 2011, it added.

"Parekh during his long tenure lasting more than 14 years as an independent director made significant contribution to the company and has now chosen to step down given several other commitments that he has," it added. Parekh was also the chairman of HUL's audit committee, it said.

The other independent directors of HUL include A Narayan, TCS vice-chairman S Ramadorai and noted scientist and former Director General of CSIR RA Mashelkar.

Shares of HUL were trading at Rs412.50 on the BSE in the afternoon trade, down 0.94% from its previous close.

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