Udayan Mukherjee stood at the entrance of the studio impatiently checking the time on his Rolex watch. It was 30 past 12 O’clock. Shankar Sharma should be arriving at any moment now, Udayan thought as he wiped the sweat from his brow.
Shankar Sharma had a reputation of never being late for an appointment, no matter what the traffic condition. He was a perfectionist and did not like making excuses.
Mitali Mukherjee was the first to spot the gleaming BMW X-5 as it snaked its way across the driveway. “There he is” she said in her sweet-as-dulcet voice.
Mitali had a secret crush on Shankar. She liked his rugged and ruffled cowboy look. His deep baritone made her go weak in the knees though she was careful not to let Udayan get wind of her feelings for Shankar.
The BMW glided to a smooth stop next to Udayan and Mitali. Shankar stepped out, looking dapper in his Savile Row suit and polished Gucci shoes. Mitali’s heart skipped a beat as Shankar’s eyes made brief contact with hers.
In the studio, Mukeshbhai and Jigneshbhai, ardent admirers of Shankar Sharma, were squatting in the first row. They had come early so as not to miss out being in the front row. As was customary with them, they had brought their arsenal of Gutka to combat the nervousness that Shankar’s presence always brought.
Today, however, Shankar Sharma was in a relatively benign mood. He knew that the public had started to take some notice of his predictions though things hadn’t quite worked out as hoped.
Shankar permitted himself a half-smile as he remembered the events of August. Thanks to the Fed’s QE tapering plans, there was a flight of billions of dollars from India. The rupee had depreciated to 69/USD and the Nifty had slumped to a 52 week low of 5285. Everyone was running around helter skelter in panic. Even Ridham Desai, who had earlier predicted a great Bull market, had thrown in the towel and turned bearish.
Things couldn’t get better than that. Then, as luck would have it, the accursed Ben Bernacke deferred the QE taper, resulting in a total reversal of the sentiment. The Nifty surged 20% to an all-time high of 6317, wiping out all fears of the doomsday that Shankar had carefully cultivated.
Now, Shankar had to start all over again.
“Anybody now walking into the party will be paying the bill and not having drinks on the house” Shankar began, hoping the public would get the drift.
However, the effort was wasted. Mukeshbhai and Jigneshbhai stared at him blankly, not comprehending.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that the rally has been extremely narrow, driven by a handful of stocks and sectors, and that almost never portends good things out into the future” he continued.
“There is no upside to the market anymore, which means that there is a lot of downside out there because the markets’ rarely do nothing for an extended period of time. They do that for a little bit of time but by and large they have some kind of momentum on the upside or their downside. So, if you don’t have upside momentum then you are going to have definitely a lot of sharp downside momentum” Shankar said with an unmistakable chill in his voice. This sent a shiver up the spine of Mukeshbhai and Jigneshbhai.
Mukeshbhai was itching to ask a question. When Shankar paused to take a sip of water, Mukeshbhai blurted out “Shankarbhai, Is this the last innings of the bear market?”
Shankar normally does not tolerate interruptions. However, today he was in a good mood and so replied “We have a problem looming up in May (election), so that is a huge uncertainty out there. I think the markets will discount that uncertainty by remaining flat or down rather than rallying as people might have been expecting. The election outcome which is now on us in the next five-six months time will weigh up on the markets”.
“So, sell your stocks and make my day losers” Shankar muttered under his breath as drove off in his BMW.