Painful First Quarter for World Financial Markets

Painful First Quarter for World Financial Markets

This quarter started with huge concern about housing bubble bust followed by subprime crises which all are talking US economy towards a recession. This will be long or short recession only time will tell but impact is getting visible in low consumer confidence and same store sales reports which are falling each month. US government and Federal Reserve is trying their best to pull economy out of this downturn by giving tax concessions and lending money to banks at very low and deferred interest terms. Bear Stearns was biggest causality of this quarter whose stock fell from $ 80 to $ 3 in matter of 5 days due to its losses in mortgage backed securities which got severely devalued due to subprime crisis.

Above all events resulted in one of the worst quarters for global stock markets. Dow fell by 20% off its historic high of 14280 to about 11500 and took world markets with it on rollercoaster ride. German DAX fell from 8150 to 6200 a net valuation loss of 24%. Similarly Australian Stock Market also took a dive with valuation depletion in vicinity of 27%. Among all these markets Indian markets took highest hit where benchmark index Nifty plunged 30% from its January highs of 6290 to 4448. Worst performing sector was banking which lost about 42% valuations. Also Nifty Junior and Nifty Midcap humbled by 45% and 43%.

Crude oil prices raise also contributed its part in slowdown fear in world markets. In this quarter crude per barrel increased from $ 89 to $ 110 due to one or other events in world and stubbornness of OPEC countries to increase oil production. Rapid industrial growth in India and China is major underlying fundamental factor in imbalance in demand and supply of crude oil. One thing positive is been seen from car sales report that small car sales are rapidly increasing all thanks to their excellent fuel efficiency as $ 3 a gallon is creating big hole in every ones pocket.

Food grains like wheat, Rice and pulses are showing highly bullish trend in world commodity markets. Thee year long drought conditions in Australia is also damping grain production from one of the biggest exported of wheat. In India due to less than favorable monsoon and overzealous exports of rice have created shortfall in strategic grain reserves, which resulted in export ban of rice and pulses. This will further instigate price rise in global grain market in coming quarter or two. Governments across the globe need to give serious heed to develop better yielding crops or picture is very grim for future availability for main food staple like wheat and rice, which may badly hit countries in Africa and Asia.

Precious metals like gold and silver has shown very wild swing this quarter due to continues fall in stock market and US Dollar value. Precious metals especially gold is preferred investment to which people resort to in events of economic turbulence as we have observed this quarter. Gold stared this quarter with $ 845 per ounce and reached its peak of 1030. Due to measures taken by government and fed to ease fear of recession gold fell by 26% in last two weeks touching low of $ 874 per ounce. Similarly silver started this quarter at $ 14.80 per ounce and peaked at $ 21.30 and now back to $ 16 per ounce. We expect precious metals will keep its uptrend in coming quarters and this pullback can be utilized as good accumulation point.

To summarize the analysis we expect that damage done to global economy especially stock markets in last quarter will keep showing its effects for two to three quarters and markets may see heavy volatility and wild swings. It is prudent in part of traders and investors not to be over zealous in either bull or bear side of markets and keep a neutral view to trade accordingly.

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