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How Rakesh Jhunjhunwala got started

My father was also interested in stocks. When I was a young child, he and his friends would drink in the evening and discuss about the stock market. I would listen to them and one day I asked him why do these prices fluctuate.

He told me to check if there is a news item on Gwalior Rayon in the newspaper, and if there was Gwalior Rayon’s price would fluctuate the next day.

I found it very interesting and I got fascinated by stocks, I self-taught myself. My father told me to do whatever I wanted in life but at least get professionally qualified.

I was always a reasonably good student so I took up chartered accountancy. In January 1985, I completed my CA. I told my father I wanted to go to the stock market. My father reacted by telling me not to ask him or any of his friends for money. He, however, told me that I could live in the house in Mumbai and that if I did not do well in the market I could always earn my livelihood as chartered accountant. This sense of security really drove me in life.

Between 1986 and 1989 I must have earned Rs 20-25 lakhs. After 1986, the market went into a big depression for two three years but I put that money in Tata Power and the Tata Power stocks became about 1100-1200.

Now I was worth Rs 50-55 lakhs.

Sesa Goa had a big fall because there was a depression in the iron ore industry and then prices for the next year had been considerably raised about 20-25%. The stock was available abysmally cheap around Rs. 25-26. There was a projection of a very good growth in profitability in the next year but nobody seemed to believe it.

When I saw the facts, I wanted to invest but I did not have capital.

I bought 4 lakh shares of Sesa Goa in forward trading, worth Rs 1 crore. I sold about 2-2.5 lakh shares at Rs 60-65 and another 1 lakh at Rs 150-175. The prices then went up to Rs 2200 and I sold some shares. I did some other trading too. I had net worth of about Rs 2 – 2.5 crore.

-said Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

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