The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Last Week

The market lost 130 points last week. Stocks fell every day of the week. It closed at the week’s low and the lowest level since November 25. Year-end rally, budget rally, FII rally and sundry other rallies got washed away by just a week’s fall.

On the budget day, the sensex had touched 3316. Six sessions later the sensex hit 3142. Regular readers of this column would not be surprised by the waterfall decline. As I had said, the market had become top heavy through February and was weak inside.

I am once again surprised though — by what the entire Buy Industry of analysts, market commentators, media and fund managers had unleashed on us for the past few months. Buy, buy, buy. The market is extremely attractive. Interest rates are low. Equities are the best kind of investment.

Tired old commentator shave been belting out their facile recommendations and breezy conclusions that have once again turned out to be worse than snake oil. The only thing to remember is that their advice came to you free, so you can hardly complain.

There are simply no free lunches in life or markets. But, of course, they neither have to invest their own money nor have to be answerable to readers/viewers for their advice. I mean what difference would it make to a pink paper to quote a Samir Arora’s Think Bullish mantra or Bubblevision (also known as CNBC) to let P. N. Vijay hold forth on how you should be buying stocks NOW and then see the market crash'

They are doing a business, just as fund managers are doing their business of picking your pocket, or brokers to peddle this stock or that stock. Puneet Jain of The Economic Times, who is never bearish, even argued that since the market always rallied before the budget (this is false, as I had pointed out earlier) and since it did not this time, we will get a rally after the budget. How convenient.

The market duly blew a big hole through this argument. The paper will now say that stocks are oversold and due for a rally. Sure, they cannot be going down forever. They will rally sometime.

In no other profession would quacks be permitted to inflict their harmful ignorance on the general public. Now that the market has begun its decline how far do we go' The sensex can decline to 3050 level, though after a bit of bounce along the way. I won’t be surprised if it breaks that level too.

But we will know soon when we get there. Early April should see a flurry of results led by the software companies. The results will be nothing to get excited about. On the other hand, a global rally after a short Iraq war will bring some cheer here too.

Tailpiece: The bubblevision, say some market wags, has a stunning record. The majority of its commentators are laggards and also-rans — and about to go out of business. The latest is a broker who has been a regular fixture in CNBC. He is shutting shop after running up a huge default.

Movement of Indices

       Sensex       BSE 200       BSE 500       S&P CNX Nifty       S&P CNX 500

One year ago       3690.27       404.95       1193.16       1193.05       806.85

One month ago       3278.13       386.87       1156.45       1054.80       757.10

One week ago       3283.66       389.27       1161.63       1063.40       762.00

Mar 3       3322.77       389.31       1162.38       1058.85       761.65

Mar 4       3244.80       385.09       1149.24       1046.60       752.85

Mar 5       3226.10       383.08       1143.01       1040.70       747.95

Mar 6       3190.35       378.89       1130.51       1031.25       741.20

Mar 7       3153.06       373.75       1114.27       1017.10       729.75

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