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Congratulations India! That a billion vaccination doses have been administered in nine months is commendable. With this, about 30 per cent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated with two doses and about 70 per cent has got the first jab.
But it is still a long journey to safe terrain. Experts say that at least 60 percent of the population will need to receive both doses to stop the third wave. There is a huge gap between those who have got one jab only and those who have got the second one. Of course, children and adolescents are yet to come on the radar.
Meanwhile, a pick-up in the pace of vaccinations has already made industry and corporates optimistic. Apart from improved consumption, the last quarter saw a sharp rebound in economic activity, led by infrastructure projects, real estate and some other core sectors. The country’s largest pan-India cement maker UltraTech Cement Ltd and Heidelberg Cement Ltd have not only managed to increase cement prices in the past few weeks, but also got more confident of more price hikes, if need be, to pass on the impact of spiralling energy and fuel costs.
Of course, as is usually the case, the equity markets have been early to spot these trends and discount the same. Optimism about a recovery has been in the air for some months now and fired up a sharp rally as recent as last week. Both the BSE Sensex and the Nifty crossed all-time highs of 60K and 18K mark, respectively. But they have since turned wobbly. Even today’s news of a billion jabs has failed to push the markets into the green. Are corporate earnings making investors cautious, as inflation makes its presence felt? Or, are taper fears coming to the fore?
This is not the first time that markets have turned dull in a week, only to bounce back later. Will this time be different? Meanwhile, retail investors are facing the heat. A precipitous 30 per cent drop in IRCTC Ltd’s share price in a single trading session (on October 20), after surging over three times in the last three months, has left late entrants with a deep hole in their pockets. A new breed of retail investors/traders have entered the market and could get their hands burnt if they are not careful with their capital. Read our in-depth analysis here on what caused IRCTC shares to derail, the role of the F&O markets and we wonder if this is an aberration or a sign of things to come.
Our research team has also written the following notes rich with investing insights:
What else are we reading today?
Investors flee gold for cryptocurrencies as inflation worries perk up (republished from FT specially available for MC Pro subscribers)
Vatsala KamatMoneycontrol ProInternet Explorer Channel Network