Home > Business > Business Headline > Report
Caution is the buzzword in pre-Budget run
B G Shirsat in Mumbai |
February 24, 2003 12:41 IST
Even as the Sensex jumped for six consecutive days, investors and operators remain sceptical about the pre-Budget rally sustaining momentum.
The naysayers draw sustenance from the fact that the November 2002 rally failed to hold up beyond that month. And, even now the Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex and all other major indices are struggling around the two months' levels.
In that sense, while the immediate trends may look bullish, the signs are weak when considered over a longer time frame. For one, the Sensex rise is based on thin volumes.
The tepid trading volumes indicate the absence of major players in the market. The average daily trading volume on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange during the 14 trading days of February declined 10.3 per cent over the daily averages in January.
The fall is much steeper at 15.3 per cent compared with the daily average of December 2002.
The derivatives segment, a major indicator of speculative activities, reported a slowdown in trading volume in February. The average daily volume, which had soared to Rs 2,650 crore (Rs 26.5 bn) in December 2002, declined to Rs 2,572 crore in January and further to Rs 2,396 crore in February.
The delivery-based trading volumes, which indicate long-term involvement of investors and operators, have been on the decline. The delivery volumes showed a substantial jump in December, accounting for 28.1 per cent of the total trading volumes.
It moved up further in January 2003 at 29.2 per cent of the total traded volumes. During the 14 trading days of the current month, delivery-based trading volumes declined 300 basis points to 26.2 per cent.
Software stocks are first to feel the heat in the February gloom. Operators who had heavily invested in technology stocks during December and the first week of January on hopes of substantial gains before the declaration of quarterly results, had to download their holdings soon after frontline stocks posted disappointing results.
The delivery volumes in IT stocks which accounted for over 14 per cent of the total traded volume in December and January, declined to 11.4 per cent in February.
Bank stocks, which started to rise in October 2002, with delivery volume soaring to over 70 per cent, could not maintain the tempo on account of a sudden change in the direction of interest rates.
The delivery volumes in banking stocks, which accounted for 36 per cent of the total traded volumes in January, declined sharply to 28 per cent in February. The share of trading in bank stocks in total volumes, however, increased from 8.90 per cent in December to 16.22 per cent in February.
Brokers attribute the lacklustre trading to investors and operators' cautious approach ahead of the Budget. As the market remained unmoved in the last two months, no investor has made money.
Operators are waiting for the outcome of two major events -- the US-Iraq war and the Union budget -- before taking any major decisions on investment.