Markets in a minute

The United Progressive Alliance's backtrack on reforms, internet censorship, Sehwag's blitzkrieg...there was no dearth of topic for discussion at the studio last week. Here's some of the buzz.

Aditi: Well, the Sensex was back to its losing streak this week. It's like the markets had decided to backtrack and give up on their previous week's gains. I wonder if there are any traders left in the market… must be horrific to take positional calls in such a market.

Vikram: You bet! But to be fair to the market, it wasn't the only one that backtracked last week. Even the UPA suspended its decision to open up domestic retail to foreign investment in order to beak the deadlock in the Parliament. As a result, stocks of retail companies such as Pantaloon Retail, Shoppers Stop and Vishal Retail were generously dumped by investors.

Aditi: But that isn't all… a key parliamentary panel has said that it saw no merit in allowing 49 per cent foreign investment in Indian insurance companies! It's even rejected legislation to provide legal backing to UIDAI. It's like all reforms have frozen on the spot.

Vikram: And here we thought it is mostly water that freezes in winters! Jokes apart, a policy paralysis like this could slow down foreign investments into India. Did you know CLSA has lowered its 12-month Sensex target to 17,000 from 18,200?

Aditi: That reminds me, Credit Suisse has downgraded some of the telecom blue chips… but those stocks were anyways down in the dumps, plagued by tough competition and the gaft scandal.

Vikram: Let's see what happens next week. There's a line up of some key announcements - industrial production numbers, inflation data and RBI's review of the monetary policy. Wonder what the RBI will do?

Aditi: Well, for what it's worth, at least the food inflation dropped to a three-and-a-half year low of 6.6 per cent. Though markets would like to see a decrease in rates, what the RBI will do remains to be seen.

Vikram: Ha… you are toning your opinion down… Don't worry, Kapil Sibal's trying to censor social media only! In his effort to tame the internet he has so far managed to ruffle almost every other feather. To imagine, he wants internet companies to become the thought police.

Aditi: Yeah. I agree that India should try to emulate China in its infrastructure, burgeoning forex reserves and even its FDI policy but to take inspiration from its internet policy? That's taking it a bit too far… it truly is going from Chandi Chowk to China!

Vikram: Well, it's at least taken the focus away from the retail FDI imbroglio so to speak… Sibal's comments have unleashed a firestorm of criticism by Internet advocacy groups and experts… including Tweeple, and bloggers. Wonder why this kolaveri?

Aditi: Indians however wouldn't question Sehwag's kolaveri… His 219 off just 149 balls in the fourth one-dayer against the West Indies has surpassed even Tendulkar's unbeaten 200.



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