How hollow is the Indian Stock Market? -I

The massive daily turnovers of the two national bourses hide some shocking facts, as the finance ministry’s startling revelations in Parliament reveal.

Narrow, shallow, illiquid and concentrated in the hands of a few individuals located in a few centres — that describes the state of the Indian Capital Market, nearly 20 years after India embarked on financial liberalisation and ostensibly unleashed a boom in stock investing and spreading the equity cult. In fact, the boom is eyewash and this information is provided by none other than the minister of state for finance, Namo Narain Meena, in response to a question in Parliament (Unstarred question 1669) on 10 August 2010 by Rajya Sabha MP Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

Mr Dhindsa asked for the number of client identities and PAN identities who actively traded in the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and contribute to 50%, 60%, 70% and 80% and 90% of total trading turnover on an average, on a daily basis in the cash equity market and in the equity futures & options segment. He asked for these numbers to be provided for the three-month period from April 2010 to June 2010. The numbers are absolutely startling.

According to Mr Meena, only 30.90 lakh investors traded on the NSE’s cash market in the April-June quarter. Of these 52% were retail, High Networth Individuals (HNIs) and corporate customers. Institutional investors and proprietary traders accounted for 48% of all trading (24% each).

Slice the data further and these figures should be extremely worrisome for policymakers.First, 90% of trading in the April-June 2010 period came from just 192,200 investors, says the Minister. Break it down further and the Minister says 80% of turnover came from just 41,654 investors. In other words, 1,50,546 investors (78%) accounted for just 10% of trading turnover.

Cut it further and it gets worse. Just 8,727 investors accounted for 70% of turnover among which 413 were proprietary traders, mainly brokerage houses. The Minister goes on to say that 60% of trading came from a mere 1,563 traders and half the trading turnover (50%) came from a shockingly low 451 of which 156 were proprietary traders! Mind you, this is data for a three-month period and not one single day.

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) records an average daily turnover of over Rs12,000 crore in the cash segment (up from over Rs4,500 crore in 2005-06) and over Rs83,000 crore in the futures and options (derivatives) segment while the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) records a daily turnover of over Rs3,000 crore in the cash segment. While these numbers are much higher than what they were a decade ago, but they are misleading.

The derivatives segment of NSE is seven times larger than the cash segment and the main source of NSE’s profits and therefore massive salaries of its top management. So, shouldn’t it have more participants and a less skewed participation? Instead, the numbers here are downright scary and indicate that this market is just a casino frequented by a small closed club. According to Mr Meena, only 5.75 lakh clients traded in derivatives in the three-month period. Of these, 90% of trading came from just 18,035 (including 520 proprietary traders). This means that 5.57 lakh clients (97%) accounted for only 10% of total trading while only 3% of clients accounted for 90% of the trading!

Split it further and the number drops dramatically. Only 2,188 investors accounted for 80% of derivatives turnover in the three-month period. Just 537 investors account for 70% of trading, 223 investors accounted for 60% of trading, of which over half were proprietary brokerage firms. And a massive 50% of trading NSE's derivatives trading turnover, the main pillar of the Indian stock market system, comes from just 106 investors of which 58 are proprietary traders! How skewed can a stock market be, which is supposed to include a wide swathe of population?

Further, the Minister says that the top 25 brokerage firms on the NSE accounted for 42% and 43% of the cash equity and equity stock futures and options turnover in the April-June 2010 period. Can you imagine the phenomenal influence on stock prices that these 25 firms (out of 1,055 in the derivatives segment) have on stock prices? Hopefully, some Member of Parliament will ask the finance ministry for the names of these firms. Since the NSE has been fighting against disclosures under the Right to Information Act and the data is not in its annual report, the only way that the India public can get information about the big national hoax of an expanding capital market is through questions asked in Parliament. It will also be interesting to ask if the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has any special monitoring mechanism for the 106 investors who account for half the derivatives market turnover.

But to really put the information in perspective, you have to look at the massive trading numbers that hide these pathetic participation figures. In the April-June 2010 period, the NSE’s trading turnover in the derivatives segment was Rs58,31,715 crore and in the cash segment it was Rs8,47,300 crore. In comparison, the BSE’s derivatives turnover was a pathetic Rs7 crore while its cash turnover was Rs2,73,101 crore.

In effect, the NSE, with a 96% market share (cash and derivatives put together) is a virtual monopoly. Yet, misleadingly, we tend to talk about the NSE and BSE almost as though they are equally large exchanges. This is probably because the BSE enjoyed a virtual monopoly for all but the past 15 years of its 130-odd years of existence. 

Our perception about investor participation is also grossly misleading. According to the D Swarup Committee report, India has 80 lakh investors (who invest in debt and equity markets, either directly or through mutual funds and market-linked insurance plans). This official figure also represents a sharp decline from the two crore (20 million) investor population, claimed in investor surveys commissioned by SEBI in the 1990s.

Comments
viny k.samual
5 years ago
Thank you for posting almost all kind of tips. RipplesAdvisory
ajay gurjar
1 decade ago
IT IS NOT THEY WAY IT LOOKS BECAUSE MOST OF THE BROKER ARE HAVING POOL ACCT OR HAVE PROVIDED MARGIN FUNDING ALSO KNOWN AS LAS(LOAN AGAINST SHARES).SO MOST OF THE TRADE LOOKS LIKE BROKERS ARE DOING THE MOST OF THE TRADE BUT ACTULLY THERE CLIENTS ARE TRADING.DONT JUMP TO CONCLUSION SO FAST .BUT OUR MARKET REQUIRES MORE PENITRATION WITH MORE RETAIL PARTICIPATION SO THAT OUR MARKET IS MORE MATURED.I FEEL EDUCATION IN TRADING/INVESTING SHOULD BE PUSHED
ROOPSINGH SOLANKI
Replied to ajay gurjar comment 1 decade ago
I guess every investor has to make trade through trader(broker)-but data provided in article is taking demat accounts as trading accounts-so it proves that data is related to individuals and brokers seprately-so dont get confused that retail trades are included in brokers trading-brokers are trading through their own demat account and clients are trading through seprate trading account.
palash
Replied to ajay gurjar comment 1 decade ago
Gurjar ... you must start the education process by being the first volunteer. The minister talks about unique folios, which means that pool accounts for payins are not what is hiding retail participation. In any case, if pool accounts were hiding lakhs of individual investors' transactions, then SEBI ought to have been jumping up and down... i read somewhere it has a fancy tracking system to catch this nonsense... the system is a joke if people can simply pool accounts. In any case, this article makes me think our market is a big joke. Yet, in college we were told it is a barometer of the economy and everybody is jumping to be on television to offer an opinion.
God knows what goes on ... mera bharat mahan, lekin hum sub sada pareshan.
AJAY DIWAN
1 decade ago
Its shocking to know the facts. I am sure SEBI & NSE, who always boost of high standards, know about all this. My salute to Sucheta & Debashis for the revealing article.
P R Chandna
1 decade ago
Indian stock exchanges (NSE & BSE) are no different from the Wall Street as described by Franklin Keyes in 1902 "Wall Street speculation fosters a ring of idle gamblers, parasite upon society, who prey upon the fortunes of the honest and industrious; such people are menace to legitimate business interest of the country and an element of danger to the public.”
Roopsingh
Replied to P R Chandna comment 1 decade ago
The parasites are controlling political and money/muscle power,so there is no doubt these parasites will get evn more stronger-
Natasha
1 decade ago
One has to understand that the turnover in the stockexchange is not found in any other industry absolutely .
and every one just takes part of the pie . The govt ,broker , exchange etc and corporates ,mutual funds .etc etc .
Our markets are hollow . The above article sure was an eye opener .
Roopsingh
Replied to Natasha comment 1 decade ago
The hollowness of markets is proved by same stock moving up 10% today and next day falling 8-10%,does this shows any fundamental strength of market or stock?absolutely NO-this just shows gambling of the stock by a selected group who themselves raise and lower the prices-they are at no loss-but actual looser is retail inestor who is unaware of casinoism.
Shantilal Hajeri
1 decade ago
Your article brings out an open secret.
Hardly 3% of house hold savings go to the stock market. Even then, we have so many business channels dedicated to stock market. We have also several news papers dedicated to stock market.
Nothing happens to a company in the short term. Even thenthe share prices of most of the companies fluctuate widely even in the short term. There is neither rhyme nor reason for such volatility. This is the handiwork of only few people. Less than 0.1% of the population is engaged in stock market. They behave as if they are the cream of the society and suffer from superioity complex. They look down upon the people who do not invest in stock market.
It is high time the media stops hyping the stock market unduly.
sumit kothari
Replied to Shantilal Hajeri comment 1 decade ago
Friends,
the indian government has failed to eradicate poverty and also does not provide attractive careers to the majority of indians.
so those who manage to reach the level of the middle-class have every right to want to earn more. how they do it, that can be improved.
Roopsingh
Replied to Shantilal Hajeri comment 1 decade ago
I fully agree to your words and wish others should realise this TRUTH which is well proved through data in this article.
ASHWIN SHAH
1 decade ago
IN MARCH 2009 MARKET HAS REVERSED AND MAJOR BULL RUN STARTED FROM 8200 IN SENSEX.TILL THAN WE ARE MAKING HIGHER TOP AND HIGHER BOTTOM.AS LONG AS HIGHER TO -HIGHER BOTTOM CONTINUE WE SHOULD REMAIN BULLISH. BIG MONEY IS MADE ONLY IF WE MAKE TREND OUR FRIEND.MARKET WILL CONTINUE ITS UPWARD JOURNY TILL WE REACH PREVIOUS TOPS. SO REMAIN INVESTED SCRIPT SPECIFICALY WITH STOPLOSS.
kirit shah
1 decade ago
yes i do agree with the research made by u.there is no way such manipulated market in world.How a country with heavy debt can have bull market,even u.s market has the same story,one must find there details also.than u very much for alarming situation
Jayesh Gala
1 decade ago
insightful article.
Vasudeva Kotti
1 decade ago
Very nice article. Why the market is moving relentlessly. As a trader I'm more interested in capturing day to day spikes. Intraday trading is the best business to do in this type of market conditions.
k a prasanna
1 decade ago
Stock exchanges are well organized casinos. Those who are privy to specific info of companies play in market and make money. Most of the investors,whether short or long term lose money. Stock exchanges and stock brokers favorite slogan is - we help investors to make money/create wealth. But in reality,only they make money.
natasha
1 decade ago
i read one of the comments here stating that the next ten years are going to give the best returns in the stockmarkets .
---
well i disagree completely , There is something called a BELL curve and we are just approaching that peak . ALSO you will note : ndia's large service industry accounts for 55% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while the industrial and agricultural sector contribute 28% and 17% respectively.[22] Agriculture is the predominant occupation in India, accounting for about 52% of employment. The service sector makes up a further 34%, and industrial sector around 14 IT SHOWS a completely skewed economic model .
also that its easy to make money investing . Well it isnt . only 5 % make good money ,the rest get hit .
Parettos principle is applicable everywhere .. infalliablely an dmostly in speculative activities ..
sumit kothari
Replied to natasha comment 1 decade ago
i really liked ur bell curve example. u say we are approaching the peak. can u commit to the obvious extension of that logic? r u ready to say we are going to fall?
ASHWIN SHAH
1 decade ago
ONE MUST STUDY SCRIPT MOVEMENT AND TRADE AFTER THROUGH STUDY. ALL SCRIPTS ARE NOT BULLISH/BEARISH. ONE MUST FOLLOW STOPLOSS THEORY STRICKLY. ALWAYS CALCULATE RISK REWARD RATIO BEFOR TRADE AND NEVER AVERAGES LOSSES.
kishore ghiya
1 decade ago
After steep fall from 21000 to 9300 in 8 months,reliance power and satyam recent scams,indian retail investors have lost faith in sebi and they r leaving at every rise of 1000 pts.No first time investors are approached by brokers or companies seeking funds.Harshad mehta,crbhansali,ketan parekh,rupal panchal did enough to scare away and result 80 lac investors from 2 cr.The sebi has failed in its duty and by keeping market out of reach to new small compnies,new exchanges,new small brokers to enter they are losing the game.Mr bhave after retirement should go for three month soul searching training at SEC usa.
only quick justice,transparent decisions,competition and change of attitudes by indian corporate can bring back aand add new investors.All indian promotors must attend six month course called investor relation management that is availble at most of the business schools in USA. In india has anybody read about it?
positive suggestion is cbdt should give tax break similar to mutual fund industry to investment clubs, and sebi should give grants and subsidiesfor promotiona concept called investment clubs. Without self help and informed decisions we shall never get rid of casino players because they are protected by New Delhi.Mr FM knows th4e names of 145 big traders who dominate 50% of the volume.Make market open to foreign brokers to service small retail investors and see the change.We have lot to learn from devloped share markets of USA,Japan and UK but who will tell us,media is also in the hands of 145 persons so let us wait till retail investor gets fed up with negative real rate of interest from fixed income market and starts thinking of taking risk in the market full of sharks (including myself as my total savings are in equity mkt)
kishore ghiya rajkot mob 9825217857
sumit kothari
Replied to kishore ghiya comment 1 decade ago
mr.ghiya,
congratulations!
that was one of the most enjoyable comments that i have read. it is a pleasure 2 read ur work.
also good 2 know that u r invested in the markets.
i myself have just last week sold off the remaining last of my investments.
u very accurately mentioned the negative real interest rate.
however stocks are yielding(both dividend and earnings yield) much less than fixed income now.
so it is a greater negative real rate of return to go with stocks now.
Anchal Mishra
1 decade ago
Ganda hai par dhanda hai ye . The most corrupt financial mkt in the entire world is indian stk mkt and looks like it will always be like this only. shocking movements in scrips every now and then both sides defying any logic at all but watch dog always sleeps :( I can just wish this mkt to behave properly one fine day.
Madhur Kotharay
Replied to Anchal Mishra comment 1 decade ago
Which other market do you know well, Anchal, before making these comments? Cyprus, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Australia, Argentina?

'Shocking' movements are shocking to you because you may not know what is happening underneath. In low liquidity stocks, small chunks of buying moves stocks to upper limits. Indian large-caps are fully valued and a little value is still left in the mid and small-cap space. So bigger investors are trying to take exposures in them, making the violent moves. Obviously, there are many operators who keep playing such games, too. However, in many good stocks, there are underlying themes.

Check out TTK Prestige. When the stock rocked up 20-30% in a week a few days ago, people touted an operator theory. I believed it too. After a few days, TTK Prestige management came out with announcements of new aggressive marketing strategies, and new product launches. Somebody knew these beforehand, I guess.

Why should SEBI keep checking the price movements in every scrip? Study the massively researched, and huge USA market. Many well known names fluctuate 5 times more than Indian biggies. Recently, Cisco gave excellent results but cautious future guidence. The stock was hammered down 9%. Did you ever see TCS hammered down by 9% in a day on a cautious outlook? Cisco is quite huge and it is impossible to move it by these %ages just by any operator. But they move. At least, we have more sedate gyrations. And if you are a long-term investor, why should you worry about such fluctuations?

Finally, what do you mean by "the market behaving properly"? Conform to your expectations about how it should move? I doubt if it will ever.
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