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Volatile markets to remain rangebound

by Arun Kejriwal (Market veteran investor and Opinion Maker)
Feb 20, 2023
Volatile markets to remain rangebound, Market, KonexioNetwork.com

Markets are unable to make up their mind as to in which direction they want to go. They seem to be moving in no man’s land. They gain for a couple of days and then lose for a few days. The only thing of interest is the pattern of gaining and losing days. Last week, they lost on the first day of the week, gained on the next three and ended on the last day of the week with losses. BSESENSEX gained 319.87 points or 0.53% to close at 61,002.57 points, while NIFTY gained 87.70 points or 0.49% to close at 17,944.20 points. The broader markets saw BSE100 and BSE200 gain 0.33% and 0.01% while BSE500 lost 0.07%. BSEMIDCAP lost 0.82% while BSESMALLCAP was down 0.77%. 

The Indian Rupee lost 33 paisa or 0.29% to close at Rs 82.83 to the US Dollar. Dow Jones had yet another flattish week losing 42.58 points or 0.13% to close at 33,826.69 points. Dow gained on three of the five sessions and gains and losses were on alternate days. 

Time flies and the Russia – Ukraine war or confrontation would be witnessing its first anniversary on the 24th of February. Markets had reacted initially when the war did break out, but things have very much evened out and supply chain logistics are back to normal. Interestingly Europe is the worst affected in terms of gas and crude from Russia being affected, yet stock markets in Europe are trading at new highs currently. The FTSE (British), CAC (French) and DAX (German) indices are currently at new highs. Dow, which has witnessed unprecedented interest rate hikes, is down about 5% from its 52-week high. India saw new lifetime highs being made on the 1st of December and is currently down about 4%. Very clearly, the world is back to normal but for the two involved in the battle. 

Markets are moving in a trading zone and are seeking direction. What could lead to the same is not clear and not sure. Even hazarding a guess is difficult. Results for the October – December quarter are completed and they have been more or less on expected lines with not too many positive or negative surprises. The good part is the costs pressures have abated and supply chain issues resolved. Ocean freight which was a big hindrance with elevated rates has near normalised and comes as a relief to cross border trade. At the same time shipping companies have their hands full with demand for shipping space increasing. Markets are unclear which way they should move. 

It seems new age and e-commerce companies have a set of rules of their own. After the tweet last week from Deepinder Goyal of Zomato to Vijay Shekhar of Paytm on profitability and performance, it’s now the turn of Falguni Nayar the MD and CEO of the company that owns Nykaa. Commenting on the performance of the company after its Q3 and nine months results, she said “The performance has been especially good given the backdrop of eight fewer festive days in Q3 FY23 compared to Q3FY22” This was in response to the company posting revenues of Rs 1462 crs which were up 33%. What was conveniently not mentioned was the fact that gross margins, EBITDA and Net margins fell for the company. The company reported a net profit of Rs 8.5 crs which was down 71% from the earlier 29 crs. One wonders whether sales growth is all that a company looks for and doesn’t care about its margins. Not sure whether the festive days being lesser involves better margins or what?

Shares of Nykaa have been at the receiving end ever since the company announced a liberal bonus issue of five shares for every share held. The company had issued shares at Rs 1,125 and made a high within a month of listing of Rs 2,560. From there it has been a one-way street and after being adjusted for bonus, where the high would become Rs 426.66 and the issue price Rs 187.50, is now trading at Rs 139.45. The share has lost 25.63% against its issue price and 67.32% from its high. I believe all of us need to go back to school to learn what these modern P.E. funded promoters and management mean when they make comments. 

SEBI has announced through a circular new disclosures and details to be made public about fresh fund-raising norms for IPOs, Rights issues and OFS. The most important part is that the valuation details which were kept secret earlier and hid behind a number of shares will now become open in the document. Prospective investors will be aware of what amount the company proposes to raise through the issue. This will avoid the issues of valuation expectation not being met by either the prospective investors or the expectations of promoters failing. Great move by the regulator and Kudos to them. 

The week ahead sees February futures expire on Thursday the 23rd. The present value of NIFTY at 17,944.20 points is 52.25 points or 0.29% higher for the February series. With the kind of volatility and four trading sessions left, the series is up for grabs. It could go either way. The range for the series has been big between 17,353 – 18,134 points with the lows being made on budget day and the budget week being the one where markets were under pressure post the Adani Enterprises subscribed FPO being withdrawn. The good part is that markets gained post budget and the lows made were not breached again. In such a scenario, expect markets to remain range bound but volatile. 

Coming to the week ahead, expect markets to remain volatile but range bound. The immediate resistance, which is quite strong, continues to remain at 18,265 on NIFTY and at 61,400 on BSESENSEX. The level of BSESENSEX was breached upwards during the last week and the two indices, BSESENSEX and NIFTY have been moving at different speeds. However, the event lasted for just a day and could be taken as an aberration. On the downside, strong support exists at levels of 17,650-17,700 on NIFTY and at 59,900 – 60,050 on BSESENSEX. Sell on strong rallies and buy on sharp dips. Keep an eye on Dow as markets tend to move in similar directions.