Nifty responded strongly to the assembly election results creating all-round optimism
The stock markets ended strong on Monday, with both NSE Nifty and BSE Sensex hitting all-time highs, after news that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have taken control of three key states: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Delhi remains hotly contested between BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It remains to be seen what will happen to political outcome at the capital. The markets see it as a pre-cursor to the upcoming general election. Both the Nifty and Sensex stayed strong throughout the day. However, strong economic and jobs data from the US only further boosts the case for tapering which could undermine today’s strong move in the coming days. PIMCO, a renowned bond firm, is cautiously optimistic on Indian markets.
The BSE 30-share Sensex opened up at 21,416, hit an intra-day high of 21,483 (also an all-time high) and then mildly trended down to an intra-day low of 21,282 before rebounding to close at 21,326 (up 329 points or 1.57%). Similarly, Nifty opened up at 6,415, then hit an intra-day high of 6,415.25, trended down to hit an intra-day low of 6,345 before closing at 6,363.90 (up 104 points, or 1.66%).
All indices finished in the green. Media, realty and banking indices finished strong.
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 40 advanced and 9 declined. The top gainers were DLF (6.07%); Sesa Sterlite (5.02%); ACC (4.95%); Ambuja Cement (4.57%) and ICICI Bank (4.45%). The top losers were Jindal Steel (-6.17%); Cipla (-0.84%); Lupin (-0.72%); Tata Steel (-0.62%); Cairn (-0.46%).
In a desperate effort to boost image, the government is apparently planning to replace the Direct Tax Code 2010 with a new version, which includes a possibility of abolishing cess for individuals and companies. Even surcharges might be done away with.
Asian markets were up, with Nikkei jumping 2.29%, after strong US economic data released on Friday weakened the Yen. Chinese inflation slowed more than estimated, to 3% in November. China November exports rose 12.7% from year earlier, topping the estimated 7% gain. However Shanghai Composite index remained flat. Political problems in Thailand reached the boiling point after it was decided to dissolve Thailand’s parliament and call for elections amidst intensified protests.
In Europe, German trade surplus reportedly narrowed down. German October industrial output fell 1.2% versus estimated 0.7%. However, European markets were mixed and flat. Germany’s DAX was trading flat, with a downwards bias.
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 198 points, or 1.3%, to 16020.20, the largest rise in seven weeks, near all-time highs. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note barely rose, which is a good sign, all pointing to a strong dollar. The US stock futures were seeing marginally up during early trade.
While the BSE Sensex lingered over the 20,000-mark in November 2013, equity mutual funds registered a net inflow of Rs699 crore with sales crossing the Rs5,000 crore mark, this being highest in the past 10 months
In the six months from April 2013 to September 2013, when the Sensex was below 20,000, nearly Rs10,000 crore flowed out from equity mutual funds. Monthly sales averaged Rs3,000 crore in these months. However, as the market continued its uptrend, equity sales more than doubled in the month of November to as high as Rs5,400 crore compared to Rs2,597 crore in October 2013. Last year, in an article we mentioned that majority of the investors buy when the market has already run up and is valued expensively (Read: Why people lose money in mutual funds). Seeing the current trend it seems that retail investors find it difficult to overcome this behavioural bias.
The only time equity mutual funds have registered similar high inflows are during the months January to March when investors opt for tax-saving schemes. A few months back in an email reply to Moneylife, Prashant Jain, executive director and chief investment officer at HDFC Mutual Fund said that, “Most of the retail investments in equity funds have come in high price-to-equity (PE) markets and not in low PE markets. Instead of focusing on past returns and investing when past returns are good, investors should in my opinion, do the opposite—Invest more when the past returns are less (resulting in low PEs) and vice versa.” Unfortunately, from the current trend it seems that very few retail investors follow this prudent advice.
According to CAMS (Computer Age Management Services) data, which account for 60% of the industry, just 54% of the redeemed values were done so with a gain for equity redemptions done during the period July 2013 to September 2013. This was much lower compared to the period January 2013 to March 2013 where 76% of investors redeemed with a gain and 66% for redemptions done in Q1FY14. This just exemplifies the fact that a significant portfolio of the investments are made at high market values.
When the market is rising, everyone rushes in—investors, mutual funds, advisors and so on. While investors rush in to invest, fund houses launch new fund offers (NFOs). Mutual funds seem to use to their benefit the behavioural bias of investors and launch NFOs exactly at the same time the market is moving up. In the month of November there were as many as four equity NFOs. These four NFOs contributed 16% or Rs871 crore to the total sales. This came in as a surprise, as in the seven month period from April 2013 to October 2013, just four NFOs were launched gathering total assets worth just Rs419 crore.
Despite the positive inflows in November, over the past 12 months equity mutual funds have registered a net outflow of Rs12,949 crore.
Only 50% of companies in the advertising and media world in Mumbai have a committee to address sexual harassment reveals a survey
Only half of the companies in the advertising and media fraternity in Mumbai have a committee to address sexual harassment. Over 60% of women feel their commitment to an organization would be questioned if they opted for flexible working hours. Inversely, 35% of men felt uncomfortable to opt for a flexible work schedule. These are some extremely relevant findings from a perception study of gender equality in the media and advertising industry in Mumbai.
The “Gender Equality in the Workplace Survey” was conducted among mid to senior level professionals, by Social Access Communications, a communication firm that works for social change on behalf of NGO Population First, which tackles population and health issues within the framework of women’s rights and social development. The survey was circulated among over 600 professionals, and received 130 responses.
The survey results were revealed as part of a larger agenda to sensitise advertising professionals to be more gender neutral, through a workshop ‘Men are from Venus, Women are from Mars’, hosted by Population First, on 29 November 2013. The workshop was supported by UNFPA, and designed and managed by Social Access Communications.
Gender stereotypes have firmly rooted themselves in the workplace over the past many decades, and gender-based perceptions subconsciously determine most responses to situations. Lately however, there are signs that things are changing.
Women’s empowerment is one of the foremost discussions in modern India, and not surprisingly the corporate world also has to deal with difficult questions. The reality is more and more women are joining the workforce today, and the equation will only increase. It is therefore imperative to bring the issue of gender equality into prominence at the workplace. It is necessary to undertake measures to change attitudes to be more gender neutral. With this in mind, the survey was designed to garner a better understanding of the ground situation, and to help employees be better prepared for change.
The survey details that 91% of employees ‘feel valued’, with 40% of the respondents from the 35-55 age group. Also, 88% of people say their employers genuinely support equality between men and women.
“By and large the advertising industry treats men and women fairly, and that is a heartening piece of news. However, there is significant scope for improvement as far as sensitivity towards sexual innuendo is concerned,” said Lynn de Souza, the founder of Social Access Communications, the knowledge partners for the workshop.
Interestingly enough, though, a closer look at the fine print reveals that while 68% of men ‘strongly agree’ that employers are unbiased, 67% of women ‘strongly disagree’. Further 23% of men and women feel organizations make assumptions about people’s capabilities based on gender, age, pregnancy and family commitments.
As far as flexibility of work is concerned 60% of women feel their commitment would be questioned if they opted for flexible work hours, while only 35% of men feel they can actively consider a flexible work option. 55% of people feel they have not been encouraged to apply for other positions in the organization.
“This stresses the fact that both men and women should benefit from greater flexibility in the work hours,” pointed out Lynn de Souza.
The most disturbing statistic that came out of this survey is, however, that only 50% of companies in the advertising and media world have a committee to address sexual harassment. Nine per cent of employees, both men and women, have faced inappropriate sexual contact at the workplace. Further still 17% of people have observed someone else in the organization being sexually harassed. Interestingly, men have responded that they are ‘uncertain’ about what construes as sexual harassment.
It can be concluded that while sexual harassment incidences are high, there is low reporting, and little or no knowledge on how to go about it.
Here are the survey results…