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Blood on D-Street

‘We are sure the govt and God will bail us out. So, we pray again’.

business Updated: Oct 10, 2008 21:21 IST

It took me three hours to fall asleep last night.

Until January, it used to be about 10-15 minutes from hitting the bed to snoring. I was not into the stock market then.

I came home late from office, switched the TV on, put my hands together and closed my eyes. The Fed had cut interest rates, and all governments, central banks, et al were trying whatever they could to stop the fall of the markets. “God, give me some green,” I muttered.

I opened my eyes to shut them tightly again. The Dow was down 300 points, and falling. When I woke up in the morning, I switched on the TV with trembling fingers. My nightmare had not ended. The Dow was below 9,000 for the first time in five years!

My phone started ringing. It was my friend who was just down Rs 50,000. I had told him to hang on, assuring him that the market would recover soon. (Brave words — I am down by Rs 5 lakh already, half of what I had invested ‘very smartly’ after the crashes in January, March and July.)

Well, the put-call ratio was below 0.8, the VIX was way above 50. We had discussed all the technical support levels and agreed that we were almost at the bottom of the bear market. We had also analysed FII holdings in large caps, the liquidity injection steps that central banks were taking and the housing and employment data that came out of the US during the week.

I’m not a finance guy. I work for an IT company and this friend is a small businessman. Another friend in a similar mess, is a vernacular journalist, stuck with futures contracts and getting marked-to-market every day. Yet another is a transporter. We all now know almost everything about the stock market — margin trading, F&O, bull spreads and bear strangles, the SGX Nifty.

In my office and my circle of friends, there were only two who did not invest in shares. The rest of us would call each other regularly and analyse technical charts and assure each other that the market — and the stocks we held — “have to” bounce back because RSI has dipped below 20.

Well, we have learnt all this at a great price. In fact, some of us have lost our shirts in this free-falling nightmare of a stock market. We were only hoping last night that we would not have to lose the rest of our attire.

But, that is looking increasingly probable now, with the Sensex down 1,000 points this morning.

We call each other every day now. Misery loves company.

Tonight, when we have our phone calls, we will all be further down into the hole. But we will resolve — as we have done for the past so many months — to ignore the doomsayers predicting the Nifty bottom at 2,600. We are sure the government and God will bail us out. So, hands clasped and eyes closed, we pray again.

The author is a senior project manager with a leading IT company who wishes to remain anonymous