Staggered gains likely: Weekly Market Report

Nifty to move in the range of 4,870 to 5,200

The market closed higher this week, despite weak economic indicators, snapping a five-week losing streak. A fall in GDP growth to 7.7% in the June quarter, food inflation back in double-digits at 10.05% for the week ended 20th August and slower factory output for August at 52.6-the slowest since March 2009-did not deter the market from notching a 6% gain in a holiday-shortened week. However, overall in August the Sensex and the Nifty each declined by 9%.

With political tensions easing at the Centre and hopes rising for another stimulus package to boost the sagging US economy, the market climbed up on Monday, after three days of decline. On Tuesday, the indices made higher highs, higher lows and closed higher from the previous day, shrugging off lower GDP numbers. Rejuvenated after a two-day break, the market finished higher on the last day of the week.

The Sensex gained 973 points through the week to close at 16,821 and the Nifty settled at 5,040, putting on 292 points. The Nifty is likely to see its first resistance at 5,100 and if the uptrend continues we may see gains up to 5,200. However, looking at the latest developments in the US, the indices may soon change their current direction and may fall to 4,870.

All sectoral indices closed in the positive. BSE Metal (up 12%) and BSE Realty (up 10%) emerged as leaders, while BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 3%) and BSE Power (up 2%) recorded the lowest gains.

The top gainers on the Sensex this week were DLF (up 18%), Tata Steel (up 16%), Jindal Steel (up 14%), Jaiprakash Associates (up 13%) and Reliance Industries (up 12%). ONGC (down 5%) was the sole loser among index stocks.

JSW Steel (up 19%) led the gainers on the Nifty, while Syndicate Bank, Shriram Transport Finance (up 14% each), Punj Lloyd (up 13%) and Mundra Port & SEZ (up 12%) were other gainers. There were no red ticks on the index.

The economy grew by 7.7% in the first quarter of FY11-12, compared to the 8.8% in the corresponding three-month period of the previous year. The slower growth was mainly due to the poor performance of the manufacturing sector. During the quarter ending 30 June 2011, manufacturing dipped to 7.2% from 10.6% in the previous corresponding period.

Despite the overall gloom, the government appears optimistic about 8.5% economic growth this fiscal, although the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has projected a moderation in economic growth at between 8% and 8.5% for the year.

After a gap of over five months, food inflation was once again in double-digits at 10.05% for the week ended 20th August, and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has described the trend as 'disturbing'. Experts suggest that the RBI may go in for another rate hike at its policy review mid-September.

The slowdown is continuing and this was confirmed by the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index which dropped to 52.6 for August, down from 53.6 in July. The latest rate of expansion is the slowest in the past 29 months. The decline is attributed to a sharp decrease in new export business. Panellists cited a softening in global economic conditions as the main contributor to the fall in new orders.

In international news, a US regulator on Friday sued major banks, including Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and some other big lenders, over mortgage practices that led to losses at government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Also in the US, non-farm payrolls stayed unchanged in August, suggesting a pause in employment growth. It is the first time since World War II that the economy has seen no jobs created in a month. The jobless rate has been steady at 9.1%. This will worry the government of the world's largest economy that is still struggling to win over the confidence of its people on an economic recovery.


LIC feels the heat as term plan business gets competitive; plans revamp of its product

There has been stiff competition in the term plans business recently, with premiums nose-diving as insurers scramble for a larger market share. But LIC’s business in this segment is still miniscule and the insurance giant is gearing up to launch a competitive product

The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is planning to come up with a new term plan to make the premium rates competitive in the market. S Roy Chowdhury, executive director (marketing), LIC, said, "We have not sold pure term plans in large numbers and we are taking a relook to launch a new product. It will be an online and an offline product. The mortality experience has undergone changes and the new product will reflect this."

A few months ago, Aviva Life launched i-Life which is now the cheapest term plan available in the market, competing with online term plans like Met Life's Met Protect, Aegon Religare's iTerm, Kotak Life's e-preferred, ICICI Pru Life's iProtect and IndiaFirst's Anytime. LIC must be feeling the heat in the term plan competition and will soon come out with new term plan. It is not known if the premiums will come down drastically, but it would aim to make it more competitive in the market.

Consider the premium of Rs4,046 offered on Aviva Life's i-Life product compared with the premium of Rs12,650 for LIC's Amulya Jeevan that has similar parameters. (Term life, Rs50 lakh sum assured for a 27-year-old non-smoker, male, based in Mumbai for a term of 25 years.) It is hard to resist the Rs4,046 offer unless you have read Moneylife's cover story 'Online Term Plans'.

The mortality table 1994-96 is based on LIC's experience over numerous years. The new mortality tables that will be put out soon, will replace the Indian Assured Life Mortality Table 1994-96. It is expected that there will be a drop in the mortality charges by 15% to 20%, due to the higher life expectancy. But there could be an increase in the mortality rates for the younger ages due to the higher rate of accident deaths and lifestyle-related diseases.

Term life is a miniscule business for LIC and its brand value is enough to draw customers who will not settle for anything other than LIC's term life insurance.
There are a couple of other reasons also why LIC may not drastically reduce the premium rates on the new term plan. First, it may not be a pure online product that has the advantage of targeting a specific segment of net savvy, financially secure individuals, expected to lead a healthy lifestyle and also have access to better hospitals.

If the insurance company is selective in choosing customers, there is bound to be a better experience. On the other hand, LIC's customer base is across the country and is a truly heterogeneous group. The wider the group, the higher the mortality experience.

The other reason could be the level of tolerance in the claims experience of LIC. S Roy Chowdhury says, "Some insurance companies reject death and accidental death claims on technical grounds. For example, accidental death of a person crossing the road outside the zebra crossing can be a technical ground for some insurers to reject the claim."

Another company that plans to launch a new term plan is Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company. According to Rituraj Bhattacharya, head-market management & product development, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, "We will be launching a new term life product, but we should not judge solely on the price point. Some insurers have a very aggressive premium pricing for term insurance. It will impact the way claims are treated; offering so low a premium will entail stringency on claims, else it will be a loss-making portfolio."

Mr Bhattacharya asked, "How does an insurer evaluate a claim? What is the tolerance to disclosure? Is there no tolerance or reasonable tolerance to customer disclosure at the time of taking the policy? Nothing comes free. There is price to it. It will reflect in the price you offer in the product. It is not a one-year contract."

According to Deepak Yohannan, chief executive officer,, "Online term insurance has created awareness and affordability for term life insurance of higher amounts (Rs25 lakh and above) instead of remaining underinsured." On the other hand, industry experts don't see much popularity for term life insurance due to customers getting nothing back. It is a sad state of affairs that Indian customers think insurance is something purchased to grow money rather than risk protection. Bundled insurance and investment product is a big market in India. The major advantage of a bundled product is a forced systematic, long-term savings discipline.

Life insurance is a 'push' product in India, but term life insurance is hardly 'pushed' by agents. Interaction with agents reveals that term life is not even discussed in most cases. The low commission for agents due to the size of premium, as well as the Indian mentality of getting an amount equivalent or more than the premium back from the insurance company has left term life insurance the best-kept secret. It is a minority market, when compared to the endowment and unit-linked insurance plans (ULIP) market. The worst part is that a majority of customers taking endowment or ULIPs remain underinsured, due to the need for a high premium to get decent coverage.



Shaik Abdul Jaleel

5 years ago

LIC continues to live in good olden days of selling Life Insurance on the pretext of saving Income Tax & forced long term savings for the Insured, rather than for the sake of Insurance. If the Public Sector Insurer has real concern for the general public, it should come out with a Term Insurance product cheaper than that of any private sector Insurer, and prove that the private sector is interested in profits only, whereas the the Public sector is interested in Service too, if not service alone, and create a competition in the Insurance market thereby benefiting the public.


5 years ago

LIC is not introducing ONLINE term plans because there is stiff resistance from LARGE AGENCY FORCE.There are powerful groups of agents like ALICA,LIAFI etc. If LIC still goes ahead with ONLINE platform it will be MARKETING SUICIDE.


5 years ago

This clearly shows that LIC is no beter than its private peers & has realized late in the day of the merit of term insurance. Its high time they focus on the term insurance & leverage the oppurtunity in terms of making the consumer aware that this product makes sense in the event of life becoming unpredictable due to events in the last 10 years like riots, bomb blasts, terrorist attacks which the Goevernment has failed to contain.

Prashant Bhushan receives breach of privilege notice

Terming the notice as 'totally unjustified', lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that "speaking the truth in public interest does not amount to breach of privilege"

New Delhi: Lawyer Prashant Bhushan said on Saturday he has received a breach of privilege notice for his remarks against parliamentarians, the second Team Anna member to get such a notice.

Mr Bhushan said he has been accused of using derogatory words against MPs and has been asked to file a reply, reports PTI.

Terming the notice as 'totally unjustified', he told PTI that "speaking the truth in public interest does not amount to breach of privilege".

"If speaking truth in public interest amounts to breach of privilege, then time has come for the country to review the whole notion of parliamentary privileges," he said.

On Friday, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi had received breach of privilege notice for her remarks against parliamentarians.

"Received breach of privilege. Shall respond appropriately recording the distrust 'we the people' were suffering," Ms Bedi had tweeted.

Ms Bedi had said that she will not 'apologise' for her remarks against politicians, but intends to show a 'bigger mirror' to the House on the conduct of lawmakers.

'If I get a notice, I would say I am sorry I will not be able to say sorry. If I get an opportunity I will go before the committee and will show a bigger mirror to Parliament," she had said.

She said whatever she had said was in reference to a situation, where it was needed to be said. "The truth has to be said. I didn't have any other option as we didn't know whether we would have a resolution," she said.

The privilege notice against Ms Bedi came as she accused politicians of wearing 'several masks' at the same time, drawing the ire of MPs from both Houses.


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