Investors Lost in the Wonderland of Corporate Disclosures
Accounting disclosures help shape investment decisions. It is the duty of the regulator to ensure the best possible quality of financial disclosures. Merely increasing the thickness of the annual report does not serve the investor. Are the regulators and trade bodies. like Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), working together to blind-side the investor?
 
The least...
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Market Musings on Liquidity Flow
It has been over a decade since the world experienced the worst ever financial crisis leading to a global recession. The crisis led to untold misery, with people losing their jobs and livelihood, besides experiencing significant decline in wealth.
 
Governments responded in ways best known to them, based on what the experts suggested and what was politically feasible and attractive. 
 
A crisis of comparable magnitude had earlier taken place in the 1930s. Quite obviously, the policy measures adopted differed significantly during the two crises.
 
Learnings of the past seven decades were effectively used to fight the latest crisis, and new policy measures, as yet unknown and untried, were deployed. 
 
As always, when economists are involved, unanimity of views is a virtual impossibility.
 
Whether such policy measures were effective, and whether alternative actions could have had greater impact, will always be open to debate. 
 
What is indisputable is that when a crisis strikes, especially of such a magnitude, liquidity is critical. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left no stone unturned in injecting liquidity into the system, ensuring that the crisis was averted as quickly as possible. Interest rates were reduced, coming close to zero percent in many countries, at times even flirting in the negative zone. 
 
The injection of liquidity, of course, did not remain a short-term affair and various central banks have established programmes that lead to continuous infusion of funds in the market. Terms such as quantitative easing, tapering, and inflation targeting have now become an integral part of the market’s lexicon.
 
Why is continued monetary easing essential? Apart from inadequate regulation, high level of debt was the primary cause of the financial crisis and, in fact, of its severity. From 1950 to 2007, private sector debt (household and corporate) as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 170% from 50% in advanced economies. 
 
The subsequent drawdown of debt-stifled demand, which would have resulted in a far more serious recession but for the various measures undertaken to boost demand. These measures included fiscal expansion and monetary easing.
 
Fiscal expansion has its limits and eventually, had to be halted, with monetary policy taking up its customary expansionary function of boosting the economy.
 
It was widely believed that monetary easing cannot continue indefinitely and will need to be reversed sooner rather than later. The US Federal Reserve, in fact, started raising interest rates from December 2015 when growth picked up in the country, but had to quickly retrace. A decade after the crisis, monetary policy continues to be expansionary, with no sign of a reversal. 
 
The 10-year real interest rate in the US, currently at 1%, indicates that any increase in rate is practically ruled out for the next decade. That holds true for Japan, Europe and other economies too. Historically, low rates, close to 0%, have never persisted for such a long period. Two decades of virtual uninterrupted monetary expansion is unheard of. Being uncharted territory, its implications are unclear to anyone, including the central banks.
 
What are the repercussions for the Indian equity markets? In the long run, market movements are determined by economic growth rate, in particular the corporate sector earnings and the overall liquidity in the economy. I am not optimistic about growth rate of the Indian economy in the coming years and believe it will go down further.  (Read: Here is why Private Investment is Down). 
 
At the same time, global liquidity will find its way into the Indian economy and its markets. India is likely to be one of the largest beneficiaries of any money that flows to emerging markets. The interplay of the liberal liquidity conditions and plummeting growth will be interesting to watch and will determine the course of the Indian equities in the years to come. 
 
The situation is fairly novel since we have never experienced prolonged liberal liquidity, as we expect to do now. We may indulge in crystal gazing to predict its impact but we are in uncharted territory. Economic forces rarely work unidirectionally. While we may project a positive impact on equity prices, it could also have pernicious unintended consequences, as yet unknown to us. Hopefully, the regulators and governments will display sagacity and acumen to counter any negativity emerging from high liquidity, especially in conjunction with low growth.
 
One thing is quite certain. Given the low growth rate of the economy, any time there is an apprehension of withdrawal of liquidity from the Indian markets, the adverse impact on equity prices is likely to be severe. One needs to be prepared for such brutal fall in stocks and be on alert for any impending squeeze on global funds. The fall could undo years of wealth creation in no time.
 
(Sunil Mahajan, a financial consultant and teacher, has over three decades experience in the corporate sector, consultancy and academics.)
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COMMENTS

mathew sabu

2 months ago

I am not a well qualified guy to comment here. But using the commonsense the world is not over. I see here as a opportunity or next leg of growth. Be it election,electric revolution,trade war etc. A new era will arise.

Ramesh Poapt

2 months ago

crack visible now. dow jones/nasdek nosedied today thanks to
trade war. indian kt will follow the suit(SGX) down 97
just now. indian mkt was over valued since long ignoring all negatives.
euphoria was bound to end. business media never showed the correct
picture. debt mkt is fragile. mf aum in bubble phase. i will be pleased
to loose if mkt goes down 25%. and mf assets reduces 25%.

SANDESH PAWAR

2 months ago

I would have really appreciated the article even more if this was written when everything was hunky-dory.
With the current situation in the market it just looks like more noise.
I am sorry I don’t want to be rude, it’s just the timing.
It is just too difficult to be greedy when others are fearful.

Global Markets Continue to Pressure Nifty, Sensex – Monday closing report

We had mentioned in last week’s closing report that Sensex, Nifty might try to rally if US market stabilises. The major indices of the Indian stock markets suffered a correction on Monday and closed. On the NSE, there were 352 advances, 1,429 declines and 337 unchanged. The trends of the major indices in the course of Monday’s trading are given in the table below:

 

 
India's crude import bill will grow fatter despite numerous measures by successive governments to reduce its dependence on crude. A Moody's report on Monday said that "India's oil and gas consumption will support its investments in refining capacity and upstream production, but crude imports will keep growing amid stagnant production". India imports nearly 80% of its oil requirement which makes is highly dependent on imported oil and hence susceptible to wild fluctuations in the international oil market. Moody's said: "Even though the government is encouraging faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles, the response has not been great because of a lack of high-quality, affordable vehicles and the evolving charging infrastructure". Besides, the government pressure for shareholder returns will "temper National Oil Company's (NOC) credit quality", Moody's flagged.
SBI recently made certain changes to its interest rates in different financial products. On its savings bank account, balances above Rs1 lakh fetch a lower interest rate of 3.25% this month, compared with 3.5% previously.
 
This month, SBI also announced a revision in FD or fixed deposit - also known as term deposit - interest rates in select maturities. The country's largest bank has also marginally reduced its MCLR or marginal cost of funds-based lending rate across tenors, making its loans linked to the key lending rate cheaper with effect from May 10. SBI shares closed at Rs307.95, down 0.03% on the NSE.
 
Shares of Sun Pharma today plunged 20% suddenly today before recovering at close. The shares fell to a 52-week low of Rs350.4 on BSE intraday, over Friday's close of Rs438 before closing 9.39% down.
 
Fast Moving Consumer Goods major ITC has reported 18.7% jump in its Q4FY19 net profit to Rs3,482 crore on the back of strong sales from the FMCG and cigarette units. ITC had reported a profit of Rs2,932.7 crore in the year-ago period. Its revenue was up 13% to Rs11,992 crore against Rs10,587 crore. The operating profit or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was Rs4,572 crore, while margin was at 38.1%. Its cigarette sales rose 11.1% to Rs5,486 crore. The cigarette EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) was up 10% at Rs3,856 crore, while margin was at 70.3%. The total FMCG revenue was up 9.7% to Rs8,760 crore versus Rs7,988 crore. Its agri business revenue rose 16.2% at Rs2,101 crore against Rs1,808 crore, YoY (year-on-year). The board of directors of the company appointed Sanjiv Puri, managing director, also as the chairman of the company with effect from May 13, 2019, following Yogi Deveshwar’s demise. The board also recommended a dividend of Rs5.75 per ordinary share.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of the major Asian indices are given in the table below:
 
 

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