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A trader takes a worm's eye view of 2007
Devangshu Datta in New Delhi
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December 24, 2007
January 2: Not a bad start. The Nifty flirted around 4,000. Volumes high considering that most firangis are still in Mauritius, or wherever, recovering from hangovers. Many punters in the trading room but most more interested in exchanging holiday anecdotes. Usual talking heads on TV - they do look hilarious, gulping away on mute.

Ajit, Praveen and Rashmi all have New Year resolutions. Ajit will buy only fundamentally sound stocks - he says this makes sense even if he's going to sell within 15 minutes.

Praveen will not commit the money set aside for his monthly alimony as margin. Rashmi will minimise domestic strife by only informing her "Mr" as she calls him, about winning trades. The losers will be amortised as wedding presents, kitty party expenses, new curtains, etc.

January 5: The firangis are selling. Must be dyspepsia from that all that champagne they consumed celebrating 2006 bonuses. RJ says it's a great buying opportunity. Vikas suggests that we short IT since the rupee is rising. On the other hand, the funds are buying IT stocks as contrarian plays. I'm confused.

February 20: The finance minister makes the usual upbeat noises. The firangis sell. Mandeep says, short SBI [Get Quote]. This may be connected with his quitting SBI on a badly-negotiated VRS. Several chaps jump on the "short SBI" bandwagon, hoping he has insider information.

February 28: Average Budget - FM's done weird things to cement excise rates. I lost money because he quoted Swami Vivekananda and I was betting on Thiruvalluvar.  The market is down 12-13 per cent from New Year. Rashmi's new trading technique is "see CEO,  go long". If a CEO is interviewed on market channels, she will buy the stock regardless.  Does "Mr" ever query the churn in designer bath-towels, I wonder?

April 5:  My favourite anchor has a new hairstyle. The firangis are buying. Somebody says India's fortunes are linked to the Dow. Somebody else says India is decoupled from the US. Isn't decoupling something you do with the Jhansi carriage of the Delhi-Bhopal Express? Sameer says Seoul is the trend-setter - where the Kospi goes, the Nifty follows.  

June 06: Sub-prime? Firangis lend money to anybody. If the borrower can't repay, they sell the bad loan to someone else. That somebody else cunningly resells to yet another idiot. I don't quite follow why this should affect UTI Bank's [Get Quote] price but it does. This may be an opportunity for Indian collection agencies to expand overseas on the marketing platform, "We cleaned up Y2K, we'll take care of sub-prime defaulters".  

July 18: Sensex still above 15K but tottering due to sub-prime. Ajit is long ONGC [Get Quote] because crude is up. He's also long Arvind Mills [Get Quote] since "Filhaal, logon pant to pahenga, na?" The Ambani brothers are both determined to become richer than the other one. This will surely drive prices up in both sets of group counters. The market collapses. RJ says this is a great buying opportunity.

August 20: Surya, who's a jyotishi by profession, says he's cracked the lunar cycle that affects stocks (or the people who trade them). Venus is occluding Pluto (or something equally occult) so the market's surely going up. 

September 18: Surya was right - the market's zoomed and so, we know occlusion works better than de-coupling. Pravin has not only paid off his "banshee" for this month, he's made enough to cover next month's alimony.

October 16: Oil narrowly misses a ton thus emulating Tendulkar. Colonel (retd.) Yadav says he will buy PSU refiners to show patriotic solidarity. Everyone else unabashedly unpatriotic. Bungling on the spectrum front equals short RCom and short Bharti

October 29: Good lord! The Sensex is above 20K. The channels are going ape. What's next? The TAs say 30K is going to be hit within the next 70 sessions.

November 19: Hurrah for Nandigram! Just the right trigger to short Nifty. Should collect a packet by settlement.  

December 17: Yet another mid-winter bath. Why does this keep happening? George Soros says it's reflexivity - that's a fancy name for a vicious cycle. Pravin's trying to persuade the banshee to accept a rapidly deflating stock portfolio in lieu of alimony. Rashmi has bought another set of fictitious curtains. RJ hails this as a great opportunity to buy. Same old same old - I'm off to Gulmarg for the skiing. See you in 2008.

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