18 Mar 2008, 0029 hrs IST,TNN
MUMBAI: The monsoon is still a few months away. But that doesn’t mean a thing to the deluge of bad news which continues to dampen spirits on Dalal Street. Fears of further losses to Indian banks, slowdown in corporate growth and a fast-spreading contagion of turmoil in the global financial markets took a huge toll on Monday. The sensex lost 951 points in its second steepest fall, wiping out Rs 3.2 lakh crore in investor wealth. Since January 10, when the sensex touched its peak of 21,206 points, over Rs 25.1 lakh crore of investor wealth has just vanished. On New Year’s eve, investors, brokers and fund managers were unanimous that the party in the Indian stock markets was here to stay.
Today, they are a confused lot. Now, they can’t agree if it is over or if it’s time to just hang on or start afresh. Says Shankar Sharma, director at Mumbai-based broking firm First Global, "It is a great time to sell." Counters another large domestic broker: "Does anybody have a clue where the market is headed?"
A fund manager for Reliance Capital continues to be optimistic. Indian stocks have become cheap and the market could soon correct upwards, he says. One thing is for sure. Over the next few months, investors will have to go through gut-wrenching uncertainty.