Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has proved his prowess lies not only in the equities market but also the debt segment as well. According to the market grapevine, Jhunjhunwala has made a handsome profit by trading in the interest rates futures market in December, when the benchmark 10-year government bonds remained very volatile and traded between 7.83 per cent and 8.06 per cent. A message seeking a reaction from Jhunjhunwala remained unanswered.
Markets open on Budget day?
Though the Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman, U K Sinha, has categorically said there is no relation between the Union Budget and the stock markets, market players believe the regulator might have to reconsider its belief. For a practical reason as well. With the monthly expiry on February 26, traders will be very edgy about rolling over their positions without any clarity on the event. Some fear a sharp correction due to this uncertainty.
"Even in the old days, when Budgets were announced in the evening to coincide with the UK afternoon timings, there would be a special stock market session to gauge the reaction. Since the market is a barometer of the economy, one fails to understand what has changed suddenly," says Arun Kejriwal, investment advisor.
New pitch for STT revamp
Requests to reduce the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) are a feature before every Budget. This year, one exchange has an innovative suggestion. It has suggested to the ministry could look to continue STT on top-traded stocks, which account for about 90 per cent of collections. The remainder could see an STT holiday. This would bring additional liquidity to smaller stocks without hitting government revenues, it has argued. It will be interesting to see if the mandarins in Delhi buy it.