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Things changed for the worse

Mumbai’s Dalal Street, the cradle of the average retail investor’s aspirations for years, had a broken bow as the Sensex dropped by 1,088 points during the day’s trade, report Saurabh Turakhia & Vyas Mohan.

business Updated: Oct 10, 2008 21:30 IST

All was fine for Dimesh Patel, a 28-year old retail investor, till January 2008. He made quite a fortune of a five-year long bull run. Things changed for the worse all of a sudden and Patel has managed to save only one-third of the Rs 5 lakh portfolio he had as on January 8, 2008.

“Investors need to realise that the market is bigger than what they think it is. No one can expect to make a fortune out of the markets,” said Patel.

As Patel looks to revive the fortunes of his own investment firm, Green Bull Investments, retail investors like him are struggling to find ways to protect their portfolios from the global equity meltdown.

Mumbai’s Dalal Street, the cradle of the average retail investor’s aspirations for years, had a broken bow on Friday — as the Sensex dropped by 1,088 points during the day’s trade.

During lunch time, about 1,000 retail investors from nearby offices gathered before the giant ticker outside the BSE building and silently watched their wealth melting away.

With this, investors are hoping for the worst now.

“The markets may even fall below 8,000 levels. The foreign institutional investors (FIIs) seem to be pulling out money ahead of US presidential elections and things will not improve until April next year,” said Antony Nadir, a management graduate working for an automobile company.

“I had started investing with Rs 50,000 over two years back. Today, the value is about Rs 15,000. Although I made money during the bull-run, in between, there were other expenditures along with the downward movement of the Sensex that has led to the diminished value of my portfolio,” said Abbas, branch manager of a retail showroom.

Spotting troubled times ahead, the investment community is battening down the hatches.

“I have taken short positions. In fact, I have been bearish since February 2008. I feel it will be June next year, by the time sentiments improve,” said Avadhut Sathe, a trader, who managed to dodge the turmoil.

The mood of foreign institutional investors, key drivers of the Indian equity markets, was no different.

Another investor, a doctor, is equally sad. “I had invested about Rs 1 lakh over a year back and today the value of my portfolio has fallen to Rs 63000. The Sensex is constantly falling and it is not at all a good scenario for retail investors,”said Dr Suresh R Bhat.

In the current year till date, they have sold shares worth a net Rs 40,554.80 crore. That means they have taken back more than half of the Rs 72,486.50 crore brought in last calendar year.