Indian Small Cap and Mid Cap Stocks got massacred today even as the rest of the global markets were up.There was no specific catalysts for the sharp sell off in the small cap space which was down more than 5% with a large number of stocks hitting circuit filters on their way down.FII and brokerage favorite mid cap stocks were the worst off declining by anywhere between 10-20%.Note India has seen a huge wave of scandals hitting the political and business spheres in the past couple of months.While Corruption is nothing new to India with India’s Supreme Court calling “Corruption a Way of Life” ,the rising frequency has unnerved the investors.The Stock Market has also seen a number of scams hitting the news with well regarded stocks tanking by more than 50% in less than a week.Since its hard to explain all the scams that have been hitting India,I am listing out the blog posts explaining the scams here.

Punjab and Sind Bank is a National PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) which is coming with a Rs 480 crore IPO by selling 4 crore shares at around Rs 113-120.The Company is offering 18% of its equity in the offering which would give it a market capitalization of roughly Rs 2500 crore ($550 million) at the upper end of the price band.Note there are a large number of mid cap and large cap PSU banks listed on the Indian markets.Note most of the PSU banks have seen a very good bull run in the last year and a half significantly outperforming the rest of the market.However the last 3-4 months have been tough with a LIC Housing Finance Scandal implicating top PSU Bank Officials for taking Bribes for Loans.The rise in deposit rates and tight liquidity has also hurt the sentiment for PSU Bank stocks.However,Banking remains one of the best ways to play the Indian growth story as financial inclusion remains very low.PSU Banks in general trade at low valuations compared to the private bank peers and mid cap PSU banks at lower multiples than larger ones like SBI,Bank of Baroda and PNB.
Summary

Punjab and Sind Bank seems a no brainer due to its significant discount on its fair valuation.At 5x P/E and around 1.2x P/B ,Punjab and Sind Bank is being sold at a substantial discount to the rest of PSU banks which are lower quality in terms of growth and margins.There are some mitigating factors like the low NIM ratio however the valuation more than covers for that up.The only problem in case of the Punjab and Sind Bank IPO is going to be oversubscription.Like MOIL IPO which saw 55-60 times oversubscription,same thing could happen here also.

India’s Banking Sector is highly profitable earnings very high Lending Deposit Spreads.India’s Central Bank RBI has said that this spread (NIM) needs to come down in order for India to grow by double digits.However the Banks are in no mood to change their highly profitable business model.With India’s Economy growing at a rapid pace the banks are seeing high credit growth and net interest income as well.They are opposed to any change in the status quo which allows them to make supernormal profits in the highly regulated banking sector.Note I am calling the Financial Sector as an Oligopoly because the Central Bank strictly controls the entry of new players in the Banking Sector.RBI has recently proposed giving new banking licenses to some more companies but it won’t change the structure of the industry.

India’s Stock Market Regulator has been hardly proactive in cracking down on stock market manipulation except for some inefficient scolding.It has banned some companies and a stock market operator for artificially rigging up stock prices through a nefarious scheme so that the stock could placed through QIBs at higher prices.Recently GMO,Goldman,Morgan and Fidilety got conned by a fly by night Indian financier who managed to place $100 million of his company’s shares a hugely inflated price.A cursory due diligence by these high flying financial institutions would have shown his business model to a sham.Realty Investing in India is always a dangerous game with real estate firms involved in all sorts of corruption scandals.Akruti City whose shares had seen a massive rise some months ago has been implicated by SEBI for rigging up its share price with the help of a “stock market operator” Dangi.Some other firms like Murli Industries,Welspun Corp have been found to be part of this corruption game as well.Broking Firms like Ashika and Anand Rathi were broking for the Operator.Note SEBI has not done much except banning these firms.I would have though that these white collar crimes should be punished more stringently.Banning some entities without any jail time will lead to more and more of these stock rigging in the future.

The number of advertisements by Foreign Exchange Retail Trading Companies have increased dramatically in most of the popular Internet websites in India.These Websites try to lure potential retail suckers by showing pictures of ordinary people making regular monthly income by trading in Foreign Exchange.These ads are total misinformation as hardly any retail investor makes money from FX activity.FX trading is a complex activity at which even professional investors from bulge bracket financial institutions have a hard time in making money.Retail investors almost always lose money in FX trading particularly as Foreign Exchange Trading is a zero sum game compared to equities.Huge amount of leverage makes attracting gullible investors even more easy.The FX retail trading platforms have proliferated in recent days with Retail Trading having multiplied by 900% in the last 10 years to around $100 billion daily.FXCM.com one of the popular trading platforms is coming out with an IPO in the US.These companies have benefited hugely on the back of suckering retail investors.Note these firms need a constant supply of new suckers (sorry customers) in order to run their companies.Here is a article from FT which describes the modus operandi of these firms taken right out of their handbook (IPO prospectus ).

India’s new Corruption Scandal involving a Housing Loan Scam involving Bribes paid to India’s top public bank officials has ensnared top notch financial institutions in the West as well.The whos-who of Wall Street got dazed by spectacular growth and profits of a 3 year old financial outfit in India which had been built on a foundation of lies and bribers.This Corruption Scam was started by a Financial Outfit called Money Matter Financial Services which started as a 2 person outfit.However through arranging of debt to big corporate houses by paying bribes to top officials of India’s large government owned institutions such as Bank of Indian,PNB and others,the outfit saw its share price increase by 7 times.