25 June, 2021

15000 Penny Punters

Small investors with wily strategies brave the vagaries of the stockmarket

Dinesh Parab
15000 Penny Punters
Just over four years ago, at a sports club in Delhi, a few young table-tennis players were talking about their investments in the shares of state-owned oil PSUs. They were excited about the possible profits as the then disinvestment minister, Arun Shourie, was set on selling the government's stakes in these entities. Almost a year later, they admitted they had sold their holdings in the oil firms at a loss after the current government said it would not disinvest from profit-making PSUs.

About 10 days ago, when the Sensex crossed the 15000 mark, they were cursing their luck. If only they had held on to those shares, they would have made a killing. Each of them calculated their possible paper profits—Rs 5 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, Rs 2.5 lakh. It is a common perception that the common (retail) investors rarely make money in any bull run. In fact, they are the ones who are left holding the dud scrips when stockmarkets correct viciously. For example, in May 2006, they incurred huge losses when the Sensex went into a free fall from 14000 points to...

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