Budget measures on bonus and dividend stripping may impact a class of investors

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The budget has tried to plug the incentives for bonus and dividend stripping. This can change the behaviour of a certain class of investors.

Union Budget 2022-23 figures pose ambiguities and asymmetric financial market reactions, Anand Rathi Share and Stock Brokers said in a report.

The report said measures such as re-casting of off- and on-budget items and changes in the mechanism for resource transfer to states created ambiguities by making strict comparison of budget data for FY23 difficult with past years.

These tend to overstate government spending and, coupled with conservative receipt figures on tax, non-tax and non-debt capital ballooned fiscal deficit and market borrowings. This led to a marked spike in bond yields though lack of ‘populist’ measures and focus on growth positively impacted equities on the budget day.

There seems to be distinct conservatism in the budget in terms of receipts, the report said. At the same time, for capital outlay, while the budget outlay has been increased impressively, there has been a significant reduction in extra budgetary allocations. Consequently, the overall allocation for capital spending is far less impressive, the report said.

“Yet, bringing in off-budget items into budget has optically increased the fiscal deficit”, it added.

The hardening of bond yields can have a significant negative impact on the Indian equity market. Yet, the equity market closed positive on budget day despite the hardening of bond yields. The pro-growth, pro-investment, pro-infrastructure stance of the budget seems to have lifted equity market sentiment. This, however, can reverse if bond yields continue to harden.

The policies of the government since late 2019 have favoured investment over consumption. The current budget announcements continue with the same stance. The impact of the budget is likely to be positive on sectors such as infrastructure, construction, cement, logistics, and green energy. The ambitious plan to boost private investment is also positive for banks. In contrast, the budget provides little positive news for consumption-oriented sectors, it added.

(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at sanjeev.s@ians.in)

20220202-142602

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