NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have scored high marks on many fronts in the first 100 days of his second term, but Dalal Street has been left whining.
This period has turned out to be a very disappointing one for stock investors, as a relentless selloff wiped off over Rs 14 lakh crore of equity investors’ wealth after the initial feel-good mood that the NDA’s thumping poll victory had created.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced back-to-back measures over the past month to revive the animal spirit in the economy and check moderating economic growth, but they have not helped turn the tide.
Analysts said the slowdown in the economy is cyclical and would take its own course and time to recover. Given the challenging global backdrop, they have advised investors to be patient and look out for early signs of revival.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office for a second time on May 30 and, since then, only 14 per cent of stocks traded on BSE have managed to deliver positive returns.
As many as 2,290 of the 2,664 actively-traded stocks on BSE lost up to 96 per cent of value. Among them, 422 have tumbled over 40 per cent, 1,371 tanked over 20 per cent while 1,872 declined over 10 per cent. The combined market value of the BSE-listed stocks has fallen by Rs 14.15 lakh crore to Rs 140 lakh crore during this period.
“The Modi government has done really well on political and social fronts. On the economic front, it has taken a few steps, keeping fiscal prudence in mind. Whether these steps are sufficient to revive growth or not is open to debate. But there is a limit up to which a government can go to revive the economy. One has to be patient,” said Deepak Jasani, Head of Research at HDFC Securities.
While the Finance Minister has reversed the market-unfriendly announcement of a tax surcharge on FPI income, a marked slowdown in the economy and a weakening rupee made foreign investors pull out Rs 31,700 crore from the domestic market during the first 100 days of Modi 2.0.
This contrasted with Rs 83,000 crore FPI inflows during February-May triggered by hope of Modi’s return to power. The recent sops announced by the government have so far failed to lift sentiment, as recession concerns gripped markets globally.
Sensex and Nifty have lost 7-8 per cent each, with PSU Banks being the worst hit, eroding one-fourth of their values. Investors are frightened and are shifting focus to defensive plays such as IT and pharma, partly due to weakness in the rupee. Domestic economy-focused sectors like auto and banking have taken a hit.
“News flows pertaining to the US-China trade war and recession worries globally have hurt investor sentiments. Besides, high-frequency domestic data – including auto sales numbers and consumption data – are all suggesting a cooling down of the domestic economy,” said Sanjeev Hota, Head of Research at Sharekhan.
Equity indices were scaling record highs when Modi assumed office and, thus, there was always scope for disappointment on earnings, growth and due to global factors.
India’s GDP growth fell to a six-year low of 5 per cent in June quarter, auto sales fell for the 10th straight month in August, cement prices are on a three-month downward slope and PMI readings continue to show weak sentiment. This, even as liquidity pressure eased a bit amid slow transmission in RBI rate cuts.
Industry is seeking sops from the government ahead of the festive season, but given the fiscal constraints, the government has limited room.
Hota said the government did everything it could do to revive consumption demand and improve GST collections, but when the environment globally is grim, one has to wait for a couple of quarters for growth to revive.
Over the past fortnight, the Finance Minister announced mega mergers of PSU banks, Rs 55,000 crore cash infusion for PSU lenders, asked NHB to release Rs 20,000 crore extra liquidity to struggling HFCs and ordered speedy release of GST refunds for MSMEs within 30 days.
Attempting to quicken credit flow to consumers, NBFCs were allowed to use Aadhaar-enabled KYC for onboarding customers and banks were also asked to pass on any MCLR rate cut in full.
To boost demand for auto sector, the FM lifted a ban on car purchases by government department, put on hold a hike in registration fees, doubled depreciation allowance on cars purchased till March 31, 2019, besides promising to bring in a scrappage policy at the earliest.
“The government has already announced some measures over the past two-three weeks. Some further sops may come in the time to come. But they may not revive growth instantly. One needs to be patient. Some events or group of events may result in turnaround in sentiment, but the timing remains uncertain,” he said.