Sensex, Nifty see worst July in 17 years; August may get worse for share market

Indian stocks just suffered their worst July in 17 years, and if history is to be believed, there is little hope that August will be much better.
The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 4.9% in the month that ended Wednesday, hurt by disappointment with the country’s new budget, muted corporate earnings and the ongoing credit crunch. The benchmark index has performed better in August than July in only five years since 2002, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“We are going into August with low expectations, rather no expectation at all,” said Rajiv Singh, chief executive officer of Mumbai-based Karvy Stock Broking Ltd. “Market should pick up the threads from here and hope it won’t get worse than this.”

The Sensex is down nearly 7% from its record high in early June after the release of the annual budget plan that raised taxes but offered little stimulus to revive growth. The Reserve Bank of India has been accommodative and is expected to deliver another rate cut this month, which may help boost consumer demand ahead of the holiday season which starts in September.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd., India’s largest consumer goods company, saw volumes fall to a seven-quarter low in the June quarter on account of weak rural sales. The nation’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. on Thursday reported a 33.5% slump in July sales from a year earlier.

“Business earnings continue to elude us and the commentary from consumer companies too don’t indicate that things might quickly mend in the coming quarters,” said Dharmesh Kant, head of retail research at Mumbai-based Indianivesh Securities Ltd. “If the slowdown persists into the festival season, FY20 too will have to be written off.”

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