The Nifty MidCap Index has given up 8.7% since January and three-fourths of its members are in the red; the steep fall comes on the back of a 15.4% plunge in 2018.
Stocks continued their downtrend for the fourth straight session on Tuesday with the Nifty 50 giving up 57.4 points to close at 10,831.4 points. The bears continued to hold sway with very few stocks notching up gains. The Nifty MidCap Index has given up 8.7% since January and three-fourths of its members are in the red; the steep fall comes on the back of a 15.4% plunge in 2018.
The Nifty Small Cap Index has plummeted 10% since January — on the back of a back-breaking 29% crash in 2018 — with 90% of its members losing value. The poor returns from equity mutual fund schemes have seen flows into equity schemes slow down. The inflows into liquidity and debt schemes too have been relatively small.
Corporate earnings for the December 2018 quarter have been poor with cash flows of companies being crimped. Moreover, the rising number of non-financial companies facing a liquidity crisis is causing concern and is expected to slow growth further.
Several NBFCs have resorted to selling pledged shares and are monetising smaller businesses to free up cash. Economists see the economy slowing as local liquidity remains limited and global growth slows. The subdued demand for consumer durables in the last festival season is evidence, they say, of the absence of purchasing power.
Since January, the Nifty has yielded a negative return of 1.6% in dollar terms, underperforming most markets. India’s market capitalisation has fallen 4.2% in dollar terms. In contrast, Chinese and Hong Kong equities have soared 8.6% and 8.3% respectively, Bloomberg data showed. The distress in the farm sector has also stymied demand.
At 36,153.62, the benchmark Sensex trades at a price-earnings(PE) multiple of 17.7 times to the estimated one-year forward earnings, against the long-term average PE of 16.5 times. This compares with 10.3 times for Kospi and 15.2 for Jakarta Composite. Russian equities were the cheapest in the emerging market with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 5.7, followed by Turkey 6.8, Bloomberg data showed.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPI) have bought equities worth $268.5 million so far in 2019 after remaining net sellers for most part of the year ago. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth $251 million after purchasing whopping $15.6 billion last year.