CORONA STALKS DALAL STREET AGAIN

about 6 months ago
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We crossed one lakh cases yesterday and still counting. Maharashtra is on tenterhooks and people in Mumbai, are once again scared. The migrant workers who had gathered the courage and had come back are nervous, many are heading back too. A milder version of the lockdown is back in place – people are once again home confined and the feeling of anxiety, this sense on being in a never-ending tunnel is back.

The stock markets are reflecting this despondent mood of the people – listless. And this is how it is going to be over the next couple of weeks till the numbers actually show signs of abating. Yeah, no one likes reading negative news but then with so many “positives” going up, there is really no alternative.

The good part though – even today, when the markets went down 1300 points, there was no panic. Every selling is now becoming a buying opportunity and with many people once again getting to Work From Home, the equity markets are only expected to do well.

Immediate milestone approaching for the market is the RBI announcement on interest rates on Wednesday at 10am. Given the tight bind we are in currently, it is unlikely that any tinkering with the interest rates will be done. Given the inflation trajectory, there is no way that rates can be slashed and because of the state of the economy and second wave, there is no way that rates will be hiked. Thus what we are looking at is a status quo decision and maybe that’s what it will be for the next two meets ahead too. The ‘accommodative’ stance is expected to continue as hand-holding by RBI at this juncture is crucial.

We are just getting into the peak summer mode but IMD has already stated that monsoons are expected to be normal this year. That’s one less worry. It was agriculture which helped all the returning migrants last year and this year too, its support will be very significant.

Also, the earnings season is kicking off. TCS Infosys and Wipro, the Q4 numbers of all three will come out next week, 12th, 14th and 15th April respectively. HDFC Bank is 17th April and ICICI Bank much later on 24th. Like always, it is GM Breweries which wil,l in the true sense, start the result avalanche – its numbers are scheduled to be announced tomorrow.

So, while the corona numbers keep on steadily increasing, the triggers for this week will remain RBI first and then the results next week. Maybe if the Govt decides to get aggressive and opens up vaccination for all, which is the need of the hour, then maybe market will find some solace.

We will go from one trigger to the other, rather, go looking for one reason or the other as we all need that blade of grass – hope, to hold on to. But the underlying truth is that unless and until the corona numbers don’t come down or at least get in control, we can only keep buying for long term as short and medium term, the picture looks all masked up in grey.

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