In your interest.
Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
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.
Deccan Chronicle: Rumours of a stake sale are resurfacing. Mid-July, the stock charged on talk that the Gujarat-based Adani Group was going to acquire the company for $280 million-$300 million.
Patni: There is talk of a stake-sale to Fujitsu or NTT. On Friday, the stock surged after it declared an interim dividend of Rs63 per share.
Ramsarup Industries: Talk is surfacing in the market that Arcelor is now close to finalising a stake buy in the company. Ramsarup has two iron ore leases in Orissa, reportedly with reserves of 7.1 million metric tonnes and 45 million tonnes respectively. In June, the company had said it was in early talks with MNCs for growth opportunities in form of a tie-up, venture or a demerger (Arcelor's name had come up even then).
Sugar stocks: They are said to benefit after the government raised prices of ethanol for blending with fuel to Rs27 per litre from the existing Rs21.50 per litre.
Nirmal Kotecha: Rumours are that he is accumulating shares in Su-raj Diamonds (and other diamond companies) and Networth Stock Broking.
Larsen & Toubro: There is talk of a bonus in the offing. The previous bonus was on 3 October 2008 and the one before that was on 29 September 2006 (looks like the market is expecting a bonus every two years).
Cairn India: The market was crawling with rumours that Vedanta is in talks to take a stake in Cairn India.
Mining companies: The government is proposing to make it mandatory for mining companies to share 26% of profits with local communities or to provide 26% equity in mining entities to the affected people, mostly tribals, where excavation of minerals takes place.
Texmaco, Titagarh Wagons: The buzz is that the government will release rail wagon orders this month. In FY10, 18,000 wagons were meant to be procured and the same amount is supposed to be procured in FY11.However, no orders have been released in FY10. Had both years' orders been released, it would have meant an order-flow of Rs45 billion for the industry. The whole problem apparently started with four key wagon-makers writing to the railways, saying that no orders should be placed with the Rajasthan-based Cimmco Birla Ltd, revived recently under a Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) scheme. The letter raised legal issues about the tender criteria and ministry officials got involved. Orders from the railways came to a grinding halt.
Jagatjit Industries: There is interest building up in this stock due to rumours that the family feud between Anand Jaiswal and Jagatjit Jaiswal is close to being settled. In March 2009, the Company Law Board (CLB) had ruled that there was no merit in challenging the allotment of shares with differential voting rights (DVRs) as it was legally permissible. Anand and Jagatjit had moved the CLB against the company decision in 2004 on preferential allotment of shares with DVRs, giving Karamjit 64% voting rights on his 32% stake in the company. At that time itself, the two brothers had apparently agreed to the CLB-proposed settlement where Karamjit would buy out Anand and Jagatjit's 12% stake in the company for roughly Rs730 million.However, according to the latest shareholding pattern, 2.15 million shares held by Karamjit Jaiswal are shown under the pledged or otherwise encumbered account and placed in an escrow account. In addition to this, there is also talk of a takeover bid from UB. Jagatjit owns Aristocrat Liquor, Binnie's Malt and dairy products, and also makes glass containers.
VLS Finance: There is talk floating around of a favourable outcome in an ongoing case over Sunair Hotels. According to a report in Business India magazine, in 1995, VLS invested in Sunair Hotel and for Rs70 million, it got a 25% stake in this five-star hotel in Delhi, which runs the Metropolitan Nikko at Connaught Place. The balance Rs220 million was brought in by the promoters, the Gupta family, while a Singapore-based hotel chain, Accor Asia, was to bring in Rs10 million at a premium of Rs90. VLS also mobilised loans of Rs850 million, agreed to manage the public issue, and gave Sunair a security deposit of Rs100 million at an interest rate of 20%. VLS claims that within a year, Accor withdrew, and Sunair was not paying the quarterly interest on the deposits. VLS and the Guptas are mired in a legal battle over the property which, in 2007 itself, was valued at Rs8 billion. VSL says that according to the agreement, it would become the majority stakeholder.
Force Motors: There are some rumours of equity-expansion plans. In March 2010, Bajaj Holding & Investment increased its stake in the Firodia-controlled Force Motors to over 19%. Force is a Pune-based maker of light, medium and heavy duty trucks and buses.