Nifty to close above 5,460 for uptrend to resume
Concerns about the slowdown in the economy, signalled by a fall in GDP numbers for the December quarter and a marginal decline in factory output in February weighed on the investors. Apprehensions about the Union Budget which will be announced by the finance minister on 16th March also added to the woes. The market settled lower for a second week in a row, after having rallied for seven weeks earlier.
At the end of the week, the Sensex settled 287 points lower (down 2%) at 17,637 and the Nifty fell by 70 points (down 1%) at 5,359. A close below 5,300 may see the Nifty falling to the level of 5,270. However, if it manages to break through 5,460, we may see Nifty rising to 5,575.
Fears of higher inflation making a comeback on the back of rising oil prices led the market down on Monday. However, value buying after the previous day's sharp decline led the benchmarks higher on Tuesday. The market settled flat with a positive bias on Wednesday as the country's GDP for the December quarter came in below expectations.
Worries about the lower economic growth, coupled with a marginal decline in factory output for February, pushed the market lower on Thursday. Late buying in select blue-chips ensured the positive close on Friday, amid a choppy session.
The BSE Healthcare index (up 2%) was the sole sectoral gainer while BSE Realty (down 4%) and BSE IT (down 3%) were the top losers in the week.
The top Sensex gainers were Sterlite Industries (up 5%), Sun Pharma, Maruti Suzuki (up 3% each) Bharti Airtel and State Bank of India (up 2% each). The key losers were DLF (down 10%), Mahindra & Mahindra (down 7%), Hero MotoCorp (down 6%), TCS and Jindal Steel & Power (down 4% each).
The Nifty was led by ACC (up 6%), Reliance Infrastructure, Ambuja Cements, Sterlite Ind (up 5% each) and Maruti Suzuki (up 4%). The laggards on the index were DLF (down 10%), M&M (down 7%), Sesa Goa, Hero MotoCorp (down 6% each) and TCS (down 4%).
India's economic growth rate slipped to 6.1% in the third quarter the current fiscal, the lowest in more than two years. GDP in April-December period also moderated to 6.9% from 8.1% in the first nine months of 2010-11. Expressing concerns over the dip in third quarter GDP figures, India Inc said the country's economic growth rate may even fall below the projected 6.9% in 2011-12.
India's exports grew by 10.1% year-on-year in January to $25.34 billion despite weak demand in the Western markets. However, imports grew at a faster rate of 20.25% to $40.1 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $14.76 billion. From a peak of 82% in July 2011, export growth has slipped to 44.25% in August 2011, 36.36% in September 2011, and 10.8% in October last year.
India's manufacturing sector growth slowed marginally in February, although strong domestic orders were likely to support output expansion in the coming months, an HSBC survey has said. The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)-a measure of factory production-eased to 56.6 in February as against 57.5 in January owing to a moderation in sequential output growth.
On the international front, European Union leaders have cleared the release of long-awaited second bailout package for debt- ridden Greece by the end of the week. This is to enable Greece avoid a default on paying back 14.5 billion euro debts due on 20th March. Finance ministers of the euro group, during a two-day meeting in Brussels on Thursday, kicked off the preparations to release the first tranche of the 130 billion euro rescue package.
Meanwhile, Ratings agency Moody's late Friday downgraded Greece to the lowest rating on its bond scale to 'C' from 'Ca', following a deal with private investors that would see them ultimately lose 70% of their holdings in Greek debt. Ratings agency Standard & Poor's took similar action on 27th February.
The larger issue is, of course, that there is very much another Karnataka out there which is not anywhere close to what Bengaluru would have us believe. Especially with the stoppage of most mining and allied activities, there are parts of Karnataka which are now labour exporting areas, because there is simply no work or food. It is said that these are the truths that are coming out on the streets of Bengaluru, reflecting the frustration of realities, in more ways than one
The violence in Bengaluru on Friday would not surprise most people who are aware of what is really happening in and around Karnataka lately, especially if one can be or choose to be a dispassionate observer, and comment freely as well as frankly. In matters pertaining to the media and legal professions, this is difficult, as words have to be chosen carefully and at the same time truth can not be permitted to become a casualty. The option of taking sides, or keeping silent, is also not acceptable.
Opening disclaimer-like in many other states of India, I have very good friends going back decades who I visit regularly in all parts of Karnataka and relatives by marriage as well, who are also fairly well distributed across the state. At some time or the other, I have driven across most of the state, or taken a train, or used buses, or gone up and down the coast on boats and ships.
First things first, then-on a larger canvas, my friends in the media need to realise and accept that on the ground, their often rowdy presence, especially when it means huge big commercial vehicles also known as "OB vans" for the television media, spewing smoke from gensets mounted and operating without any adherence to local and national pollution and design regulations, is a disgrace to civilised behaviour and increasingly a menace as well as hindrance to day to day life. I have taken the liberty of seeking an opinion on this from three people who were and are senior camera persons for television news channels, and they tend to concur-especially when modern day field camera and transmission equipment can easily be carried around in a simple knapsack or backpack.
Next, the issue of "paid news" as well as "advertorials", especially but not only in context with elections of all sorts, has now reached a point where for many people, the media person on the street is often not much more than a front for a collection of advertisements. Or a representative of some sort of commercial or political interests. If that is the case, then it makes no sense at all in providing this sort of a fraud media the privileges and preferences available for what many of us hope will be the true media of the unbiased reportage and opinion/analysis sort.
Finally, this is not the first time that the media has had to face the wrath of what can be called its constituency-people who read newspapers and watch television. The episode with Barkha Dutt in Delhi is still fresh, and the fact that it was sought to be covered up by the rest of the media despite enough reportage on the Internet, is also noticed by people. In a day and age when the dividing lines between the PR and lobbying lot is crossing over to the media, much of what is known as media now needs to stand in line like the rest of the world-especially those in commerce. Otherwise, please provide the same facilities extended to the 'media' also to every small video and game parlour shop, and also to every internet cafe-and that is not an unjustified demand.
While in this specific episode in Bengaluru it appears to be a confrontation between lawyers and the media which went totally out of control, on the old simmering issue of a traffic incident, the deeper point here is that lawyers are also part of society, and it is nobody's contention that suddenly out of the blue triple riding on the roads of Bengaluru has become such a serious issue, that it leads to an escalation of the sort that causes a city to come to a halt. For people like me who are keen observers of traffic discipline all over the country, it is wide and clear that Bengaluru's famed civic sense has certainly dropped from its glory days, and one reason is the absolute mayhem and traffic chaos on Bangalore's roads.
Did lawyers alone cause this overall drop in Bengaluru's status? In any case, one has to take the word of the police and the judiciary that a proper investigation as well as follow-up action will take place, which is much more than what the media in India has done about any sort of introspective correctives or public steps to see that such incidents do not happen again.
But what is not being brought out in the reportage on the incident which appears to have Bengaluru, poster city of India's great technological excellence, to its knee are the following points:
The larger issue is, of course, that there is very much another Karnataka out there which is not anywhere close to what Bengaluru would have us believe. Especially with the stoppage of most mining and allied activities, there are parts of Karnataka which are now labour exporting areas, because there is simply no work or food.
It is said that these are the truths that are coming out on the streets of Bengaluru, reflecting the frustration of realities, in more ways than one. And there, let it be said, lawyers are more aware of and exposed to ground truths and realities than any amount of media will even begin to understand.
Time to understand that, especially in undeveloped parts of so-called 'developed' states.
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love-writing. He is also involved actively in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves. Mr Malik had a career in the Merchant Navy which he left in 1983, qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, a love for travel, and an active participation in print and electronic media as an alternate core competency, all these and more.)
With modern four- and six-lane highways linking major towns, inexpensive rail links and...