World stock markets endured another volatile session on Wednesday with fresh losses in Asian and European equities, and foreign funds continued to pull money out of emerging market (EM) stocks after China’s efforts to shore up its economy failed to halt a rout in equity markets. However, futures market indicated a rebound in US shares, and the Dow opened with a 600-point gain.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net sold $355 million of equity in the cash segment, the sixth consecutive session of selling, provisional stock exchange data showed. Foreign funds have pulled out $2 billion so far this month, the worst month of foreign money flows in four years. In August 2011, FPIs had sold $2.16 billion of Indian equities.
Once again, Indian markets witnessed selling pressure in the last one hour of trade, losing more than 200 points.
The Sensex subsequently settled down 317.72 points or 1.22% at 2,5714.66. The Nifty ended below its crucial psychological level of 7,800. The 50-share benchmark lost 88.85 points or 1.13% to end at 7,791.85.
Bloomberg data showed about 350 stocks in the BSE 500 universe fell below their 200-day daily moving average (DMA), a measure to gauge the strength of the long-term trend. Stocks like Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, ITC, Coal India, Sun Pharma, SBI and HUL, among many others, have fallen below their long-term moving trends. Also, 149 stocks hit fresh 52-week lows in the last three sessions, including Tata Motors, ONGC, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank and NTPC.
The rupee below the 66 to the dollar mark with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reportedly absent from the market.
The Indian unit ended at 66.1438 against Tuesday’s close of 66.10.
A note from Nomura Financial Advisories & Securities researchers led by Prabhat Awasthi said the severe bout of global risk aversion, triggered by the yuan’s devaluation a couple of weeks ago, has significantly affected global commodity prices, equities and EM currencies, and India has not been an exception.
“While it can be argued that markets are responding to renewed global growth concerns, the fall in markets has been rather indiscriminate across sectors,” observed Awasthi in his note to investors on Wednesday morning, adding that the steep fall in the markets provides an opportunity to invest in stocks that appear attractive.
“We note that following recent price correction, the Sensex P/E multiple has corrected to 14.8x one-year forward earnings, which is at a 10% discount to its five-year average,” Awasthi added.
On the other hand, many other market participants continue to remain cautious and are suggesting investors hold on to cash, and alternatively invest in hybrid products instead of bottom fishing.
Experts said the situation in China lacks clarity and while India remains a relative outperfomer to its peers, the relative trade will not hold importance if China’s problems balloons into a global crises of sort.
Andrew Holland, CEO, Ambit Investment Advisory, said the world has been ignoring the impact of China’s fall. “It has already played out in commodities markets and now its the turn of equity markets,” Holland said.
The Sensex has lost more than 11% so far this month. In contrast, the Shanghai Composite has lost 22%, while stock indices in commodity-dependent economies like Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia have declined 16-18%.
Yet again, market breadth remained weak. Eighteen out of 30 Sensex companies ended in the red. In the broader markets, 1368 stocks declined against 1,297 advances. Nine of 11 sectoral averages ended negative with banking, healthcare and technology shares among top losers.
Dhiraj Relli, MD and CEO, HDFC Securities, said the street continues to raise question marks on the rebound in equity markets even as China’s rate cut late on Tuesday induced initial gains. “Theoretically speaking, a hard landing of the Chinese economy should not impact the US as much. But there is no arguing with the markets. The markets perhaps believe that the Chinese slowdown will impact the rest of the world so much that it would indirectly affect the US economy much more than what is apparent on the surface,” said Relli.