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Covid-19 Shakeup

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Greetings from PenguWIN,

The continuous fall in the equity markets has spooked almost every investor. While 2008 was a major crash in value terms, the Corona Virus impact has caused one of the fastest crashes that the stock markets have witnessed – i.e. about 33% down in less than 2 months (Sensex reached 42,273 on 20th Jan 2020) and 31.3% down from 20th Feb which is less than a month.

The question that everyone has in their mind and some people have asked me is when will we reach a bottom and turnaround. While no one can give a correct answer, which is how the stock market works, I wanted to share my opinion as an investor in the Indian Equity market for over 18 years now.

Whenever markets have gone down it has always come back strongly and breached the previous high. It’s a question of time and that could happen in a matter of few weeks or months.

The big impact to markets in the past were factors including scams, dotcom, financial crisis and the impact of SARS, Swine Flu, Ebola which are considered more dangerous than Covid 19 was negligible. However, with the power of social media, today, the spread of news and events is extremely high and gets exaggerated. The moment the Virus gets controlled like what we hear about China, markets will turnaround extremely fast. So, please do not keep looking at market information which is the best thing to do in situations like this

The number and volume of investments in Indian Equity markets by Indian investors has become significantly high including provident fund investments, insurance companies and the steady flow of SIPs which was not the case earlier, where retail investors were very limited.

The one-year FD rate offered by SBI is 5.9%. Assuming the investor has an income of 10L plus the post-tax return will work out to about 3.9%. Equities on a long term will definitely be able to provide about 11-12% and post-tax return would be about 10%. Even if we assume that the post-tax return is only 9%, the differential return will definitely be 5%+ and hence equity markets that shakes us like this, at times, cannot be ignored.

While no one can deny the fact that the experience we are undergoing is unpleasant, without pain there is no gain. Please remember that we are in a situation today were bank depositors are put in moratorium (limits on operating the account) and other than sovereign instruments (Small savings, Provident fund), nothing is absolutely safe.

<Blog # PenguWIN 1075 – Covid-19 Shakeup>

Category: Mutual Funds

Markets on Fire Sale

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Greetings from PenguWIN

A fire sale is a sale of assets at heavily discounted prices. Here, I am referring to the sale of stocks in the market as though all businesses are closing down. Initial reports from the World Health Organization said that the death rate is between 3 to 4%, the rate being higher for 60+. Older people and those with respiratory problems, heart disease or diabetes are at greater risk. There are other sources from websites to news channels quoting death rates as low as 1%. Immunity among healthy young people seems to be high.

The impact of this Corona Virus pandemic seems to be accentuated by today’s social media like never before, with people overreacting by buying too much retail household stuff, thereby creating shortage and panic.

I am sure many of you who have invested in equity funds would be going through anxiety. However, this is a black swan event that no one can predict. We have had such events in the past including the Dotcom bubble, Ketan Parekh scam, 2008 financial crisis and every time the market has bounced back sharply and reached greater heights. These events have occurred in the past and will continue to occur in the future too. It’s just that we will not be able to predict when and the magnitude of it.

My request to you is that you stay away from monitoring the portfolio during tough times like these. The dip in your portfolios is ephemeral and will not affect your long-term goals unless you have invested money required in the near term in Equity Funds. Another blunder that people commit is to panic and sell their funds. If you have the conviction, this is the best time to be greedy and invest more (rather than sell and incur a loss). Personally, I have done this in the past and doing it now too. This does not work for all investors, especially people who have never faced a crash like this.

If you have any specific questions on your portfolio, please write to me or call me and I will be glad to assist. Both humanity and markets have withstood a lot of calamities and have seen that problems are temporary and progress is permanent

<Blog # PenguWIN 1074 – Markets on Fire Sale>

Budget 2020

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POV 1 – Propensity to Spend

Experts were of the opinion that the demand slowdown can be countered by putting more money in the hands of the consumers, so that they can spend. The expectation was that the budget will cut taxes. The budget team came up with the innovative solution of cutting the taxes for consumers, if the deductions can be foregone. The savings rate that was already on a downward spiral, as the young consumers wanted to enjoy today rather than save, will be further accentuated. Whatever little savings that the young folks were doing by investing in NPS, ELSS, PPF et.al. to save on taxes will also go for a toss.