There seems to be a strange connection between Friday and the stock markets. Over the last five weeks, markets have gained on every Friday and the trend reversed in the time in between. This Friday was the biggest of them all, and the markets gained a whopping 1,921 points on the BSE SENSEX and 570 points on NIFTY.
The weekly change was 629.93 points the on BSE SENSEX or 1.68 per cent, to close at 38,014.92 points. NIFTY gained 198.30 points, or 1.79 per cent, to close at 11,274.20 points. The broader markets saw BSE100, BSE200 and BSE500 gained 2.05 per cent, 2.12 per cent and 2.03 per cent, respectively. The BSE MIDCAP was up 3.33 per cent, while the BSE SMALLCAP gained 1.47 per cent.
Press conferences by the Finance Minister have been held typically post-market at 4 p.m. or 4.30 p.m. on Friday. This was the first time that it was held in the morning. It certainly should have rung a bell in the mind of the canny investor or trader.
Secondly, it was on the eve of the departure of the Prime Minister on his week-long trip to the United States, which includes the event 'Howdy Modi' and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting. This did not ring a bell in the market participants and bears were caught with their pants down.
The Finance Minister announced a cut in corporate tax to 22 per cent plus surcharge for those who did not take exemptions. This would make the peak rate at 25.17 per cent. It also reduced MAT (minimum alternate tax) to 15 per cent. The Minister also introduced a new tax rate of 15 per cent plus surcharge becoming effectively 17.01 per cent for new companies incorporated after October 1, 2019, and commencing production before March 31, 2023. Very clearly, this section is to induce American companies looking to find alternative places to relocate after Donald Trump has asked them to shut down China operations.
At this tax rate, India becomes competitive with its other South East Asian competitors. Earlier, the government had allowed 100 per cent FDI in contract manufacturing.
It is widely expected that generalised system of preferences (GSP), which was enjoyed by India and recently discontinued would be restored. This would help India enjoy preferential treatment in its foreign trade. Further some sort of agreements on energy security and American companies coming to India to set up manufacturing bases are expected. This would boost the Make in India program and help in kick-starting the Indian economy.
The GST council has also made changes in the GST applicable to hotel rooms, where, if the room tariff is upto Rs 1,000, there would be no GST. In the bracket of Rs 1,000 to Rs 7,500, it would be 12 per cent, and at 18 per cent for rooms above Rs 7,500. This would act as a boost for the tourism industry. Further, the GST on aerated drinks has been increased from 18 per cent to 28 per cent plus 12 per cent additional cess.
Coming to the Friday factor, one can see it all began with Friday, August 23, when the BSE SENSEX rallied from the low of the day to gain 598 points and 228 points on a closing basis. Similar values on NIFTY were 192 points intra-day and 88 points on closing basis. On Friday August 30 BSE SENSEX intra-day gained 503 points and 264 points on closing. Similarly, the NIFTY gained intra-day 149 points and on closing basis, 75 points.
On th September 6, the BSE SENSEX gained intra-day 254 points, and closing basis 337 points, while the NIFTY gained intra-day 136 points, and closing basis 156 points. On September 13, BSE SENSEX gained 384 points intra-day and 280 points on closing basis. NIFTY gained 130 points intra-day and 93 points on closing basis.
Friday, September 20, was the day when the markets went berserk. The intra-day gain on BSE SENSEX was 1,929 points while it was 1,921 points on closing basis. NIFTY gained 583 points intra day and 570 points on closing basis.
For those who are technically inclined, the low on September 20 was quite similar to the one on August 23 with the tow levels being 36,102.35 points (23/08) and 36,085.74 (20/09). Similarly, on NSE it was 10,637.15 points (23/08) and 10,691.00 points (20/09). With such strong support and momentum, it can now be said that an immediate-term bottom has been made.
The week ahead has September futures expiring on Thursday, September the 26. The present level of NIFTY at 11,274.20 points, is higher by 325.90 points or 2.98 per cent. Momentum is now with the bulls and with Prime Minister Narendra Modi having an action-packed week in the US, one can be sure that there will be plenty for the markets on a daily basis.
Elections have been announced for Maharashtra and Haryana to be held on Monday, October 21. The counting and declaration of results would take place on Thursday, October 24.
With so much at stake, all focus and action would take place in the US. After the 'Howdy Modi' and Modi's UNGA, the focus would be on which large infrastructure projects India could bag.
The change in tax rates would broadly see corporate India's performance improve by between 8-12 per cent as far as earnings go. While Friday saw a huge jump in indices, the negative bias in the markets still seems to continue. Expect short covering in the week ahead and a successful and profitable expiry for bulls. The breadth of the market is expected to increase significantly with midcap and small cap shares participating. Enjoy the rally, it sure has taken a very long time coming.
(Arun Kejriwal is the founder of Kejriwal Research and Investment Services. The views expressed are personal)