Cautious Sentiments Led To Rangebound Market

Updated: Oct 20 2002, 05:30am hrs
Profit booking has been the name of the game in the stock market during the week. Some days, the market opened on strong note followed by the selling pressure towards the close. While on other days, weak opening was followed by the buying pressure towards close. Hence as mentioned in the column last week, the market remained extremely range bound.

The S&P CNX Nifty index closed flat at 971.65 level on Friday. L&T, Satyam, Zee Telefilms, HLL and ACC were the major gainers among the topline shares while Cipla, Dr Reddys, MTNL, ICICI Bank and Glaxo lost substantially during the week. Out of the 50 shares in Nifty index, 28 registered decline that indicates the negative market breadth.

The derivative market registered substantial volumes despite the fact that trading took place on four days as the market remained closed on Tuesday on account of Dussehra.

The average daily turnover was in excess of Rs 1,650 crore during the week with the turnover crossing Rs 1,700 crore mark on Thursday and Friday. The intra-day volatility on both stock options and stock futures rose on selected shares during the week.

Index Futures
A total of 24,051 contracts were traded during the week with trading interest witnessing rising trend in Nifty futures. The outstanding positions also rose consistently during the week. The volatility rose in October expiry contracts and for the first time in the recent past the price sensitivity in Nifty futures was found to be higher as compared to the Nifty index. This indicates high risk for investors.

Further, the cost of carry moved into positive territory after remaining negative during the first two trading days of the week. It indicates that investors are looking forward to better times and the same is getting reflected in the cost of carry. Therefore, developments in Nifty futures segment are hinting towards an uptrend in the coming week.

Index Options
This segment also experienced reasonably good volumes with uneven distribution of trading across the weekdays. The put-call ratio witnessed declining trend that indicates an optimistic outlook for future. However, the outstanding positions and trading interest are scattered in the range 960 to 1000 for Nifty calls and 940 to 980 for Nifty puts. This reflects the confused state of mind of investors and is responsible for the rangebound movement witnessed in the market.

The implied volatility for Nifty call options rose to around 12 per cent while the same for Nifty put options remained flat at around 15 per cent during the week. This, coupled with low put-call ratio is an indication of buying interest in Nifty calls which means that investors are acquiring right to buy at present moment.

This is a positive indication for the market.

Options On Individual Shares
Satyam, Infosys, HPCL, BPCL and SBI are among the stock options that witnessed high trading interest during the week. Some of the trading interest was guided by the expectations of quarterly numbers. Among the top traded options, Infosys and Satyam witnessed rise in put-call ratio as investors acquired right to sell to safeguard themselves against the fall in prices. The concern has risen among investors following the sharp increase in the share prices of these companies. It seems that the option market would take some more time to share the optimism prevailing among cash market investors.

As opposed to this, BPCL and Reliance witnessed low put-call ratio as their share prices have seen a battering in the recent past. For Reliance specially, the implied volatility rose to 40 per cent on put options on Friday that indicates the bearish outlook on this share.

Futures On Individual Shares
In addition to the high volumes, the trading remained highly concentrated among few shares in this segment. Satyam alone notched up one-third of the total volume while the top five shares contributed to 73 per cent of the total trading.

The volatility in this segment was high for most of the contracts that may be considered as the starting point for any sacred trend.

The cost of carry on Satyam, Reliance and Infosys was found to be negative at the close of the week that indicates caution exercised by the investors. In case of Infosys, the interim dividend of Rs 12.50 announced by the company has led to this disparity. Otherwise, investors were found covering their cash market exposure through these contracts.

Outlook For Future
The positive side of this weeks trading is that investors have not resorted to an indiscriminate selling.

The foreign institutional investors remained the net buyers, though marginally, during the week. On the other hand, mutual funds turned net sellers though they have invested heavily in the last week.

The coming week would witness a number of quarterly results namely, VSNL, Tata Power, Satyam, Bajaj Auto and Dr Reddys among others. The expectations from these companies would drive the market sentiments.

Anything negative on this front would hamper the uptrend and will lead to selling pressure in the market. Further, fence sitters would pitch in to book profit when the market moves either way.

Therefore, this week is crucial for deciphering future market trend and investors may start taking positions in shares or stock futures or options from the medium term perspective.

(The writer is a faculty member at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi and can be contacted at sandeep1973@hotmail.com)