A short-term bounce, subject to dips
The market extended its gains today as the International EnergyAgency's (IEA) decision to release substantial crude stocks eased worries about higher inflation for the time being.
With the retreat in global oil prices overnight, following the IEA's move to release two million barrels a day for 30 days, to make up for supplies choked off by an armed rebellion in Libya, the domestic market opened higher. The Nifty opened 23 points up at 5,343 and the Sensex resumed trade at 17,805, a rise of 78 points over its previous close. The opening figures on both the benchmarks were their intra-day lows today. PSU, IT, banking, metals and auto stocks supported early gains.
Extending yesterday's gains, the benchmarks regained their psychological levels of 5,400 and 18,000 on the Nifty and Sensex respectively after a gap of six days, and continued their journey northward. The market rallied after the oil minister clarified that there was no specific proposal to hike fuel prices.
Gains in three key European indices, following the approval by the European Union and the IMF of Greece's austerity initiatives, also supported the gains in the post-noon session. The market rose to its intra-day high in the closing minutes of trade, as the Nifty touched 5,478 and the Sensex scaled 18,269.
The indices ended marginally off those levels, with the Nifty settling 151 points higher at 5,471 and the Sensex soaring 513 points to close at 18,241. The Nifty closing figures is an eight-day closing high. Yesterday, we had mentioned that the Nifty has to go beyond 5,355 to make the bounce meaningful. The Nifty is up for a small rally up to 5,556.
The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was a splendid 1312:371.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 2.26% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 1.80%.
Barring the BSE Consumer Durables index (down 2.24%), all other sectoral gauges settled higher. The top gainers were BSE Realty (up 3.76%), BSE Metal (up 3.40%), BSE IT (up 3.37%), BSE Capital Goods (up 3.32%) and BSE Bankex (up 3.25%).
The top Sensex gainers were Hero Honda (up 6.07%), State Bank of India (up 5.95%), Jaiprakash Associates (up 4.55%), HDFC (up 4.46%) and Larsen & Toubro (up 4.25%). Reliance Infrastructure (down 0.84%) and Reliance Industries (down 0.03%) were the only losers on the index.
The major gainers on the Nifty were Sesa Goa (up 6.10%), SBI (up 5.91%), Hero Honda (up 5.71%), Ranbaxy (up 5.15%) and HDFC (up 4.65%). The laggards on the index were Reliance Infra (down 0.91%) and RIL (down 0.23%).
Markets in Asia, with the exception of the Taiwan Weighted, settled higher on the last trading day of the week, as the IEA's move was seen as a relief for the region's economies which are struggling with spiralling inflation. Easing of debt-related tensions in Greece also supported the gains.
The Shanghai Composite jumped 2.16%, the Hang Seng surged 1.90%, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.65% the KLSE Composite added 0.09%, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.85%, the Straits Times advanced 0.73% and the Seoul Composite finished 1.70% higher. Bucking the trend, the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.40%.
Back home, institutional investors-foreign and domestic-were net buyers in the equities on Thursday. While foreign institutional investors pumped in funds amounting to Rs229.21 crore, domestic institutional investors put in funds worth Rs241.95 crore.
Grievance redressal machinery has been disrupted; aggrieved parties have been considerably inconvenienced
The Consumer Education & Research Centre (CERC), a leading non-profit, consumer rights organisation, has asked the insurance regulator to fill up the nine-month old vacancy for an insurance ombudsman at Ahmedabad.
CERC chairman, Dr VG Patel, told Moneylife, "The institution of Insurance Ombudsman had been extremely useful in providing remedies to aggrieved insuring public. The Ombudsman at Ahmedabad was expeditious in settling matters when there were inordinate delays in courts, including consumer courts. The insuring public in Gujarat has taken great benefit through the Ahmedabad Ombudsman. We are requesting the IRDA chairman to fill the vacancy urgently."
The Insurance Ombudsman is an independent office that provides speedy and cost-effective resolution of customers' grievances if the insurance grievance cell has not been able to provide satisfactory response to complaints.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has left the post of the Ahmedabad insurance ombudsman vacant since the past nine months. This has certainly hurt the insurance grievance redressal system in the area of Gujarat, the union territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu. Once a case has been submitted to the ombudsman's office, simultaneous recourse to the consumer court is not possible as per the law. Aggrieved customers are stuck with no alternative.
According to Gaurang Divetia, an insurance expert in Ahmedabad, "There are about 600 to 700 claim grievances pending with the Ombudsman's office. It solves 50 to 60 cases every month on an average. The waiting period for a policyholder after filing the complaint with the Ombudsman is three to six months (assuming that the Ombudsman is operating)."
Moneylife emailed IRDA to find out about the delay in appointing a new ombudsman, but has not received a reply till the time of writing the article.
A call to the Ahmedabad Insurance Ombudsman's office confirmed that no cases are being resolved and a long backlog of cases is building up. Obviously, when consumers file a complaint, they are not given a timeframe in which they can hope to get a hearing or redressal.
According to the office of the governing body of the insurance council, "The selection has been made and a circular resolution sent to insurance companies. Once it is approved by them, an appointment letter will be issued. It may take 15 days to one month."
When asked about the reason for the nine-month backlog and the delay in the appointment, a council official said, "Ahmedabad is not a big centre and hence there should not be a problem in clearing the backlog. There is a committee headed by the IRDA chairman to select the ombudsman. We had written to them a number of times. The insurance secretary is also on the committee whose availability may be an issue. This is not an unusual delay."
There are 12 insurance ombudsman offices across the country. For more details on the insurance ombudsman please visit http://www.irdaindia.org/ombudsmen/ombudsmenlist_new.htm. The web page has obviously not been updated as Shri Amitabh is no longer insurance ombudsman in Ahmedabad. We hope that the process to select the Ahmedabad ombudsman will be expedited in the interest of quick resolution of customer grievances.
Day-long conclave focuses on issues that have been obstacles to systematic growth of the sector
India and China, with over $100 billion worth of construction underway individually, house the world's largest real estate industries. But despite its potential, the Indian realty sector is grappling with many issues. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Friday held a conclave on 'Indian Real Estate Charting a Global Course', to address the issues facing the sector.
Unavailability of funds, the losses made by real estate companies, suspicion of private equity and lack of consumer trust leading to very low credibility of the industry, were listed as the main problems plaguing the industry.
Adi Godrej, chairman, Godrej Group, said there were a number of challenges that the real estate sector faces, but it had the responsibility to a larger group of stake holders: its customers, vendors, partners, employees, environment and society at large.
He said, "Over the next few decades, India's demographic dividend, rising affluence, expanding middle class and rapid urbanization will combine to thrust the infrastructure and real estate industry into a prolonged period of supernormal growth, which if capitalised on responsibly, equitably and imaginatively has the potential to transform India into a leading global investment destination."
Anuj Puri, chairman, CII Real Estate Conclave and country head Jones Lang LaSalle, reiterated the need for increasing transparency in order to reduce the cost of capital. "It is important for the industry to look at global best practices, and try to localize them to the needs here. It is the only way to grow this sector that sees $100 billion of construction going on currently."
Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director, Hiranandani group of companies, said that the two biggest problems for the sector were land and infrastructure. "Land acquisition and regulations remain a problem and so is internal and external infrastructure around a housing project. Solve these two problems and you would have solved the problems of the housing sector," he argued.