Posts Tagged ‘equities’

Weekly Update 9th – 13th August

The last week saw good amount of buying in U.S and other markets as the companies reported better numbers than the expectations in the result season. However the concerns remain over the U.S. recovery as the consumer spending, pending home sales and factory orders were all weaker than projected in June indicating moderation in the second half of the calendar year.

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In China, banking regulator has asked the lenders to conduct a stress test including worst case scenarios of prices dropping 50 percent to 60 percent in cities where they have risen excessively. The test highlights the government concern over the health of property market even after the regulator has tightened the real estate lending to crack down on speculation since mid April.

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Huge foreign money inflow, strong auto sales and manufacturing data together with good monsoon especially in the fortnight ending 4th August 2010 kept the markets on upbeat note. Life Insurance Corporation said that it plans to invest `2 trillion stocks and bonds in the current fiscal year. So far the Insurance major has invested 390 billion in the first quarter including 100 billion in equities.

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Approximately 2080 companies that have announced numbers have shown a mixed picture. The combined net profit of all companies fell 9.2% to 57,560 crore on 20.7% rise in sales to 7,07,925 crore in Q1 June 2010 over Q1 June 2009.

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Stock specific movement in market is likely to continue as some of the major companies like Bharti Airtel, State Bank, Reliance Communication, Suzlon, etc. are coming out with the results in the coming week.

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Pranab Mukherjee has already expressed concerns over the aggressive interest increase as it may moderate the economic growth. The Index of Industrial Production that saw some moderation in growth in May and also revised downward for the month of April is further expected to show some moderation in the month of June. Six core industries having weight of 26.68 percent in IIP have experienced a 3.4 percent expansion in June compared to 6.3 percent in the prior month. The data scheduled to be released on 12th August is likely to influence the markets and may help in gauging the central bank move in the coming months.

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Overall trend of world markets is up. Volatility indicators near lows are a sign of concern as it reflects that investors are not worried at all in taking positions. But till the trend of stock market is up, one should be playing on the long side only. US dollar index fall in last 3 months has also contributed to the rise of various asset classes. Nifty has support between 5350-5300 levels and Sensex between 17800-17600 levels.

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It appears that bulls are dominating bears in commodities. Market is looking very enthusiastic on the back of better results together with buoyant equity market. It is evident by the increased volume of commodity bourses across the globe. Noteworthy decline in dollar index has also supported buying in commodities.

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However, 80 is very good support for dollar index. The week is full of event risk. Traders may refrain to take large position in bullions before FOMC rate decision meeting. CPI and advance retail sales data of US will provide further direction to the base metals. Ongoing hurricane season is likely to keep crude oil in upper range. Severe drought and the decision to halt the export from 15th August to 31st December have stimulated fresh buying in grains and they are continuously moving up. Oil seeds and edible oil complex is looking promising and investors should utilized every dip as buying opportunity.

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Moneywise…Be Wise ;)

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If you find yourself asking the question –

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Why should I Save ?

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Why should I Invest ?

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Where do I Invest ?

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Who would Guide me to take informed decision on my Investments ?

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…then look no further !

Why SMC?

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SMC Group, a leading Financial services provider in India, a vertically integrated investment solutions company, with a pan-india presence is there to guide you and provide complete investment solutions to you.

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SMC Group, having rich experience of more then two decades in financial markets, is one of the largest & most reputed investment solutions company that provides a wide range of services to its client base of more than 5, 50,000 clients with presence in more then 1500 cities.

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SMC Online, an unit of SMC Group, is one stop financial investment portal for investor’s all financial needs.

Investors can trade online in Equities, FNO, Currency Futures, Commodities, apply online for IPOs, and invest online in Mutual Funds.

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SMC is :

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a) 4th Largest broking house of India in terms of trading terminals (Source: Dun and Bradsheet, 2008)

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b) 5th largest distributor of Initial Public Offering (IPOs) in retail (Source: Prime Data Ranking)

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c) Awarded ‘Fastest Growing Retail Distribution Network in Financial Services’ (Source: Business Sphere, 2008)

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d) Recipient of ‘Major Volume Driver Award’ from BSE for last three years consecutively.

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e) Nominated among the top three in the CNBC Optimix Financial Services Award 2008 under National Level Retail Category.

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f) One of the largest Proprietary Arbitrage Desk doing risk free arbitrage in equities & commodities.

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g) Commanding turnover of more then 3% in equity market, 4% in commodity market and 10% in DGCX.

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h) Transparent and professional management.

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j) Relentless focus on investor care.

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k) World class in-house research facilities providing research support to investors.

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l) All financial products and services under one roof.

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Next Blog we would try to read more about the other SMC’s investment products and services.

Stay Tuned for more on this 🙂

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To know more about the SMC Products and Services, click here.

Uncertainty over stocks leads to price volatility in turmeric futures

Hello Friends here we come up with the Latest Agri Commodities updates from various parts of the globe.

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Uncertainty over stocks leads to price volatility in turmeric futures:

In an unusual situation this week, far-term turmeric contracts were trading much below near-term ones, offering a big arbitrage opportunity for hedgers and speculators, on the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX).

The price difference was 39 per cent.

Last year’s carryover stock is estimated to have declined steeply, at around 150,000 bags (a bag is 70 kg) as of today, as compared to around 700,000 bags around the same time last year.

Arrivals at the Erode market were 2,000 bags and sold at Rs 10,900-11,000 a quintal.

In Duggirala, prices were placed at Rs 9,800-10,500 a quintal and in Warangal at Rs 9,900-10,500 a quintal.

Turmeric exports climbed seven per cent to 4,000 tonnes in October 2009 from the same period last year.

Weak turmeric futures put downward pressure on spot markets, to send the product down by Rs 800 a quintal.

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In Other major Commodities Updates also read Soybeans and Wheat Drop as Dubai Default Risk Dents Confidence of the Investors.

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Soybeans, Corns and Wheat Drop as Dubai Default Risk Dents Confidence:

Soybeans, corn and wheat slumped after Dubai’s bid to reschedule debt sent equities tumbling and eroded investor confidence in commodities.

Soybeans for January delivery dropped as much as 2.7 percent to $10.2625 a bushel, the lowest level since Nov. 19, in electronic trading on the Chicago Board of Trade and were at $10.385 at of 10:50 a.m. Tokyo time.

The contract has lost 0.7 percent this week, the first such drop in three weeks.

Wheat for March delivery in Chicago lost as much as 2.4 percent to $5.5775 a bushel before trading at $5.595.

The grain dropped 3.7 percent this week, falling for the first time in four weeks.

Production may be around 21 million metric tons, down 2 percent from last harvest and lower than the 23 million tons forecast in October,2009.

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Note : For More Latest Industry, Stock Market and Economy News and Updates, please Click Here

Retail Investors Lying Low Despite Spate of IPOs/Market Surge

Retail Investors Lying Low despite IPOs and market surge

Retail Investors Lying Low despite IPOs and market surge

Despite the spate of initial public offerings and the surge in the equity market, demat accounts have not shown any acceleration in growth in August or September.

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Demat accounts rose at a steady rate of 1.34 per cent both in August and September, show data collated from depositories NSDL and CDSL.

Fresh additions — at around 2 lakh every month for the last four months — might seem substantial, but are not commensurate with the bullish sentiment for stocks, said marketmen.

The total number of Demat accounts stands at 155.67 lakh accounts as on September against 153.61 lakh accounts as on August-end.

The increase in new demat accounts is not substantial, given the rising interest in equities, both from existing and new investors.

Experts have cited the reason this is because retail investors are still not entering the market in a big way, it is just a trickle.

There is no significant change in retail investor sentiment during the past few months.

Typically, there is a big surge in new investors during the IPO season, but this time the pattern is different.

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One of the reasons is that this time the IPOs, unlike earlier, are not crowd pullers.

Maybe because the issues were rather aggressively priced.

As even the bigger IPOs have not given any remarkable returns on listing, retail investors are shying away from them, said some brokers.

The retail investor appears to be unsure about the sustainability of the rally in the equity markets, said Mr Jagannadham Thunuguntla, Equity Head, SMC Capital.

EPFO Panel to Meet in October for Parking Money in Stock Market

The Finance and Investment Committee (FIC), key advisory body of the Employees Provident Fund Organization, would meet next month in order to take a view on parking 3 to 5 per cent of its large corpus of Rs 2.57 lakh crore in the capital market.
employee-provident-fund-epfo

As per the EPFO sources, this was a long pending issue and was likely to be discussed at the committee meeting scheduled next month. If this proposal got the nod then it would result flowing of Rs 13,000 crore into the stock markets. FIC would make necessary recommendations to Central Board of Trustees, EPFO”s apex body, for the final decision, after the evaluation of the proposal

At a recent meeting of FIC, it was felt in order to enhance or maintain overall returns to the subscribers as fixed-income products, an alternative avenues are a must.

CBT this July had dumped the proposal of parking up to 15 per cent of its funds in equities. However, K P Krishnan, joint secretary in the finance ministry, then told the trustees that EPFO could start parking 3-5 per cent of corpus in stock markets, if CBT members had reservations about investing in equities.

Are There Any Advantages of Systematic Investment In ULIPs ??

 Benefits of ulips.jpg

The impact of economic recession on life insurance companies has gone unnoticed where not only premium incomes but also the employment potential of many companies has decreased.

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However, the global slowdown and resulting unpredictable stock indices have shaken public confidence in long-term financial planning and there is visible unwillingness to purchase an insurance policy and commit oneself to pay premiums regularly over a number of years.

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Moreover, the Sensex, over the last 25 years, suffered massive crashes in 1992-93, 2000-01 and 2008-09 at eight year intervals.

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However, there was no impact on the life insurance industry on earlier occasions, when the index crashed whereas till the opening of the insurance sector, the Life Insurance Corporation was marketing traditional products, considered symbols of stability and security, immune to the vagaries of the stock market.

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Moreover, the new companies that came on the scene, trying to capitalize on the stock market boom, began marketing unit linked products, ignoring traditional products.

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However, although the Sensex had crashed three times, it had advanced from just 245 in March 1984 to 9700 in March 2009, an annual growth of 16% while stock market indices tend to increase steadily under the influence of economic growth and inflation.

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Nevertheless, under the impact of speculative forces, the growth can be uneven while investors can minimize, if not eliminate, the impact of speculative forces through systematic investment in ULIPs or mutual funds.

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Moreover, under a unit linked plan, the premiums are invested in equities and the value of the units on any day moves broadly in line with the stock index on that day.

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Suppose a person had taken out a ten year policy on March 31, 1984 and paid Rs. 1,000 every year.
Ignoring all charges and the dividend income from investments, what is the gross yield he can expect by March 1994?

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Based on the changes in Sensex, the average yield will be 17.8 per cent. 🙂

If the date of commencement had been March 1985 or 1986 … or 1999, the yield to maturity at the end of ten years would have varied between 4.8 per cent and 30.3 per cent.

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And in four of the 16 cases the yield would have been negative.

The range of variation is quite wide and the chance of negative yield is 4 out of 16, or 25 per cent.

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The range will narrow down and chances of negative yield come down with increasing policy terms.

The results will be still better with quarterly or monthly modes of premium payments.

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This means that an investor in ULIPs should opt for a minimum term of 15 years and, preferably, a quarterly mode of payment.

And, having chosen a plan, he should select a fund with more than 50 per cent equity content.

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Even if the market takes a sudden plunge after the policy is taken, be not panic and allow the policy to lapse.

One should pay the next premium in time.

With a lower net asset value, he can get more units for the same premium.

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Market setbacks at the earlier stages of a policy will not significantly affect the yield to maturity.

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But any setback in the last few years before maturity can reduce it considerably.

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It is therefore advised that the policy holder should start keeping a close watch on the NAV of the relevant fund and the market indices.

If there are indications of a downtrend, he should surrender the policy and take out the cash value.

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By following the above steps one can insulate oneself, though not fully, from market fluctuations and hope to get a better return than what one can get from a traditional product.

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A lucky few may even get a very high return while the unlucky ones may end up with very low or even negative returns.

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Suppose a person had taken out a ten year policy on March 31, 1984 and paid Rs. 1,000 every year.

Ignoring all charges and the dividend income from investments, what is the gross yield he can expect by March 1994?

Based on the changes in Sensex, the average yield will be 17.8 per cent.

If the date of commencement had been March 1985 or 1986 … or 1999, the yield to maturity at the end of ten years would have varied between 4.8 per cent and 30.3 per cent.

And in four of the 16 cases the yield would have been negative.

The range of variation is quite wide and the chance of negative yield is 4 out of 16, or 25 per cent.

The range will narrow down and chances of negative yield come down with increasing policy terms.

The results will be still better with quarterly or monthly modes of premium payments.

If dividend incomes from investments and the fact that fund managers invariably outperform the market index are also taken into account, the net yield after deduction of charges may exceed the gross yield.

This means that an investor in ULIPs should opt for a minimum term of 15 years and, preferably, a quarterly mode of payment.

And, having chosen a plan, he should select a fund with more than 50 per cent equity content.

Even if the market takes a sudden plunge after the policy is taken, be not panic and allow the policy to lapse. He should pay the next premium in time. With a lower net asset value, he can get more units for the same premium.

Market setbacks at the earlier stages of a policy will not significantly affect the yield to maturity. But any setback in the last few years before maturity can reduce it considerably.

It is therefore advised that the policy holder should start keeping a close watch on the NAV of the relevant fund and the market indices. If there are indications of a downtrend, he should surrender the policy and take out the cash value.

By following the above steps one can insulate oneself, though not fully, from market fluctuations and hope to get a better return than what one can get from a traditional product.

A lucky few may even get a very high return while the unlucky ones may end up with very low or even negative returns.

Factors that Move the Interest Rates – Part 2 (MONETARY POLICY)

Monetary Policy

In previous Blog we have discussed about the major factors responsible for the change in interest rates and price of bonds indirectly.

All those three factors like Inflation, Currency and Liquidity have been touched upon in last blog.

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Now time to look into another major factor which causes  movement in the interest rate. The factor i am talking about is Monetary Policy. 🙂

Monetary Policy: The RBI controls liquidity largely through monetary policy instruments –

(i) CRR & SLR – CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) refers to a portion of deposits (as cash) which banks have to maintain with the RBI.

Banks are also required to invest a portion of their deposits in government securities as a part of their SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) requirements.

If either of these is increased, liquidity tightens and so interest rates harden (increase).:(

Recently, RBI has reduced both these rates to infuse liquidity in the system – CRR is 5% (down 250 bps from March ’08) and SLR is 24% (down 100 bps).

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(ii) Reverse repo rate – it is the overnight interest rate that a bank earns for lending money to the RBI in exchange for G-Secs.

A hike in reverse repo rate increases interest rates. Currently, reverse repo rate stands at 3.25%.

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(iii) Repo rate – it is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from the commercial banks.

To temporarily expand the money supply, the central bank decreases repo rates (so that banks can swap their holdings of government securities for cash).

To contract the money supply, it increases the repo rates. The current repo rate is 4.75%.

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(iv) OMO and MSS – OMOs (Open Market Operations) are outright transactions in government securities.

When the RBI buys G-Secs, it is injecting money into the system, hence, increasing liquidity, which softens (reduces) interest rates.

When the RBI sells G-Secs, it sucks out excess money from the system i.e. reduces liquidity in the system which hardens interest rates.

MSS (Market Stabilisation Scheme) is the issuance of treasury bills and dated securities by way of auction by the RBI.

This affects interest rates in the same manner as OMOs.

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Having collected updates on where the above parameters stand, one can have a better understanding of why interest rates are at their current levels, as well as which direction they are expected to move in.

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If most of them indicate that a rise in interest rates is expected, bond prices are likely to fall in the future.

On the contrary, an expectation of a fall in interest rates means bond prices will rise.

A word of caution here though – timing interest rate changes is difficult. This is because there is a low likelihood of being able to precisely predict the movement in the factors discussed above.

So in order to minimize interest rate risk, one should ensure that the bond portfolio is diversified across various maturities.

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4 Monetary Policy: The RBI controls liquidity largely through monetary policy instruments –

(i) CRR & SLR – CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) refers to a portion of deposits (as cash) which banks have to maintain with the RBI. Banks are also required to invest a portion of their deposits in government securities as a part of their SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) requirements. If either of these is increased, liquidity tightens and so interest rates harden (increase). Recently, RBI has reduced both these rates to infuse liquidity in the system – CRR is 5% (down 250 bps from March ’08) and SLR is 24% (down 100 bps).

(ii) Reverse repo rate – it is the overnight interest rate that a bank earns for lending money to the RBI in exchange for G-Secs. A hike in reverse repo rate increases interest rates. Currently, reverse repo rate stands at 3.25%.

(iii) Repo rate – it is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from the commercial banks. To temporarily expand the money supply, the central bank decreases repo rates (so that banks can swap their holdings of government securities for cash).

To contract the money supply, it increases the repo rates. The current repo rate is 4.75%.

(iv) OMO and MSS – OMOs (Open Market Operations) are outright transactions in government securities. When the RBI buys G-Secs, it is injecting money into the system, hence, increasing liquidity, which softens (reduces) interest rates. When the RBI sells G-Secs, it sucks out excess money from the system i.e. reduces liquidity in the system which hardens interest rates. MSS (Market Stabilisation Scheme) is the issuance of treasury bills and dated securities by way of auction by the RBI. This affects interest rates in the same manner as OMOs.

Having collected updates on where the above parameters stand, one can have a better understanding of why interest rates are at their current levels, as well as which direction they are expected to move in. If most of them indicate that a rise in interest rates is expected, bond prices are likely to fall in the future. On the contrary, an expectation of a fall in interest rates means bond prices will rise. A word of caution here though – timing interest rate changes is difficult. This is because there is a low likelihood of being able to precisely predict the movement in the factors discussed above. So in order to minimize interest rate risk, one should ensure that the bond portfolio is diversified across various maturities.

Factors that Move the Interest Rates – Part 1:)

Interest rates

In earlier blog we have discussed about how Bonds are different than equities and why are they considered less risky instruments. 🙂

Now coming on to this blog, we would talk about the 3 major factors (other than monetary policy) which moves the interest rates  and ultimately causes a price change in the Bonds.

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To determine where the interest rates are headed, it is important to have an understanding of the factors that move the interest rates.

This will in turn help gauge which direction bond prices are going to take, and one can make appropriate adjustments to a bond portfolio in order to maximize gains or minimize losses.

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1. Inflation:

Interest rates are directly related to inflation i.e. if inflation rises, so do interest rates.

This is because lenders demand higher interest rates to compensate for the decrease in purchasing power of the money they will be repaid in the future.

This causes bond prices to fall, since bond prices are inversely related to interest rates.

Inflation itself is affected by the economy’s currency and liquidity position.

In India, inflation is measured by WPI (Wholesale Price Index), for which is released every week.

For the week ended July 25, 2009, WPI was at (-) 1.58%. This may lead one to assume that inflation has gone down, but the reason for this low figure is a high base effect from 2008, when WPI showed doubledigit growth.

Current CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) figures are in the range of 8.6-11.5% for May-June 2009.

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2. Currency: A weaker rupee causes rising inflation, which in turn results in a rise in interest rates.

This is because one’s purchasing power reduces – if one was paying $60 or Rs.2400 (Rs.40=$1) to buy 1 barrel of crude oil, a weaker rupee (Rs.45=$1) means the same 1 barrel will now cost Rs.2700 i.e. Rs.300 more.

Similarly, a stronger rupee increases one’s purchasing power and brings down inflation, causing interest rates to fall.

The latter scenario is seen as a positive for the bond market, since it leads to rising bond prices.

Since 2008, the rupee has weakened significantly to Rs.47- 48 in July-August ’09.

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3. Liquidity: Interest rates are directly related to liquidity.

A crunch in liquidity means money is not readily available, since people are not willing to part with their cash.

A lower interest rate is then offered, which increases the price of already existing bonds in the market. The vice-versa also holds true.

One way of measuring the liquidity present in the system is to check the money supply measure – M3.

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There is another factor which is responsible for the movement in interest rates that is Monetray Policy which we would discuss in next blog

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To determine where the interest rates are headed, it is important to have an understanding of the factors that move the interest rates. This will in turn help gauge which direction bond prices are going to take, and one can make appropriate adjustments to a bond portfolio in order to maximize gains or minimize losses.

India May Trigger $39 Billion of Share Sales With Ownership Cap :)

India Shines

India may trigger as much as 1.9 trillion rupees ($39 billion) in stock sales, equivalent to five years of equity offerings, with a proposal to limit stakes of controlling shareholders.

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government is considering a plan that would require at least 25 percent of a company’s stock to be traded.

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The rule would prompt equity sales in 560 of Mumbai’s 3,335 most-active stocks, such as NMDC Ltd. and Steel Authority of India Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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The changes may encourage foreign investment by bringing Indian regulations in line with the U.S., U.K. and Hong Kong.

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The 25 percent minimum would be good for the long-term Indian market. There are many very attractive companies with small floats that investors would like to be able to invest in.

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The rule change would require the government, whose constitution embraces socialism, to reduce dominant stakes in key industries such as steel making, oil and electricity supply.

The top 10 companies that would have to sell stock are state- run, accounting for about 80 percent of the total by value.

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Sensex Surges :

The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, has climbed 61 percent this year, the eighth-best performer among 89 measures tracked by Bloomberg.

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Growth in Asia’s third-largest economy may accelerate to 7.75 percent after the government initiated stimulus plans to bolster banks’ capital and spur consumer spending, according to the finance ministry.

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International funds have bought 357.5 billion rupees of Indian stocks this year through Aug. 11, compared with record net sales of 530 billion rupees for all of 2008, according to data on the Securities and Exchange Board of India Web site.

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The government plans to boost funding for a rural jobs program by selling shares in some state-run companies.

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No Minimum :

Rules allow companies with a free-float worth at least 1 billion rupees to have as little as 10 percent traded, while there is no minimum for state-run enterprises, the ministry’s Web site says.

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The Sensex has returned 192 percent over the past five years, second in Asia only to Indonesia.

Since 2005, companies have raised 1.89 trillion rupees in share sales, including 116 billion rupees in January last year by Mumbai-based Reliance Power Ltd. that marked the country’s biggest initial public offering.

New Delhi-based DLF Ltd., India’s largest real estate developer, sold 92 billion rupees of stock in June 2007.

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Government Control :

India’s government plans to sell 8.38 percent of NMDC, the nation’s largest iron-ore producer.

The stake would fetch 120 billion rupees at current prices.

The government holds 98.4 percent in Hyderabad-based NMDC, and 85.8 percent of New Delhi-based Steel Authority of India, the nation’s second-biggest producer, according to Bloomberg data.

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“The sheer magnitude of offloading involved may result in an overhang on the secondary capital markets,” Jagannadham Thunuguntla, the head of equities at SMC Capitals Ltd. in New Delhi, said in an interview.

“The capital market may find it difficult to absorb such heavy equity” he added.

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The Securities and Exchange Board of India advocates “a phased approach, as companies may need time” to sell shares, N. Hariharan, a Mumbai-based spokesman for the market regulator, said in an e-mail Aug. 7.

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‘Phased Manner’

The proposal “should be positive for markets if introduced in a phased manner,”

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Such a change is a welcome one.

Ensuring a reasonable minimum float would help avoid share price manipulation, scams, abuse by majority shareholders, etc. This would constitute a positive structural change.

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India may trigger as much as 1.9 trillion rupees ($39 billion) in stock sales, equivalent to five years of equity offerings, with a proposal to limit stakes of controlling shareholders.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government is considering a plan that would require at least 25 percent of a company’s stock to be traded. The rule would prompt equity sales in 560 of Mumbai’s 3,335 most-active stocks, such as NMDC Ltd. and Steel Authority of India Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The changes may encourage foreign investment by bringing Indian regulations in line with the U.S., U.K. and Hong Kong, said Anshul Krishan, the Mumbai-based head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s India financing group. The sales, equal to about 4 percent of India’s $1 trillion stock market, probably won’t affect prices if they’re staggered over time, said Purav Jhaveri, senior investment strategist at Franklin Global Advisers.

“The 25 percent minimum would be good for the long-term Indian market,” Seth Freeman, chief executive officer of EM Capital Management LLC in San Francisco, which advises investors on emerging markets and runs the EM Capital India Gateway Fund, said in an e-mail response to questions. “There are many very attractive companies with small floats that investors would like to be able to invest in.”

The rule change would require the government, whose constitution embraces socialism, to reduce dominant stakes in key industries such as steelmaking, oil and electricity supply. The top 10 companies that would have to sell stock are state- run, accounting for about 80 percent of the total by value.

Sensex Surges

The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, has climbed 61 percent this year, the eighth-best performer among 89 measures tracked by Bloomberg. Growth in Asia’s third-largest economy may accelerate to 7.75 percent after the government initiated stimulus plans to bolster banks’ capital and spur consumer spending, according to the finance ministry.

International funds have bought 357.5 billion rupees of Indian stocks this year through Aug. 11, compared with record net sales of 530 billion rupees for all of 2008, according to data on the Securities and Exchange Board of India Web site.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his July 6 budget speech that a rule requiring a public float of at least 25 percent for listed companies should be enforced uniformly, even for state-run enterprises that had been exempted. The government plans to boost funding for a rural jobs program by selling shares in some state-run companies.

No Minimum

Rules allow companies with a free-float worth at least 1 billion rupees to have as little as 10 percent traded, while there is no minimum for state-run enterprises, the ministry’s Web site says.

“The average public float in Indian listed companies is less than 15 percent,” Mukherjee said. “Deep, non-manipulable markets require larger and diversified public shareholdings.”

The Sensex has returned 192 percent over the past five years, second in Asia only to Indonesia. Since 2005, companies have raised 1.89 trillion rupees in share sales, including 116 billion rupees in January last year by Mumbai-based Reliance Power Ltd. that marked the country’s biggest initial public offering. New Delhi-based DLF Ltd., India’s largest real estate developer, sold 92 billion rupees of stock in June 2007.

Government Control

India’s government plans to sell 8.38 percent of NMDC, the nation’s largest iron-ore producer, Steel Secretary Pramod Rastogi said Aug. 5. The stake would fetch 120 billion rupees at current prices, he said. The government holds 98.4 percent in Hyderabad-based NMDC, and 85.8 percent of New Delhi-based Steel Authority of India, the nation’s second-biggest producer, according to Bloomberg data.

“The sheer magnitude of offloading involved may result in an overhang on the secondary capital markets,” Jagannadham Thunuguntla, the head of equities at SMC Capitals Ltd. in New Delhi, said in an interview. “The capital market may find it difficult to absorb such heavy equity.”

GMR Infrastructure Ltd., based in Bangalore, scrapped a $500 million international sale on June 30 as at least 40 companies announced plans to sell more than 350 billion rupees of shares, mostly to foreign institutional investors.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India advocates “a phased approach, as companies may need time” to sell shares, N. Hariharan, a Mumbai-based spokesman for the market regulator, said in an e-mail Aug. 7.

‘Phased Manner’

The proposal “should be positive for markets if introduced in a phased manner,” Franklin’s Jhaveri said in an e-mail response to questions. Franklin Templeton Investments in San Mateo, California manages $482.4 billion worldwide, including more than $3 billion in Indian stocks.

The Finance Ministry sought public comment on the plan on its Web site July 9. Singh’s administration plans to take up the issue after completing 100 days in office, Junior Finance Minister Namo Narain Meena said in a written statement to parliament in New Delhi on Aug. 4. Singh was sworn in on May 22.

The changes are important for protecting shareholders in India, said Andrew Foster, who oversees $2 billion in assets, including Indian securities, at Matthews International Capital Management LCC in San Francisco.

“Such a change is a welcome one,” Foster said in an e- mailed response to questions. “Ensuring a reasonable minimum float would help avoid share price manipulation, scams, abuse by majority shareholders, etc. So I think this would constitute a positive structural change.”