Greetings from PenguWIN:
Over the past few weeks, I received questions from half a dozen investors on the performance of the Equity funds and wanted to know whether their portfolio needs to be rejigged. My answer is “please hold” as it’s a phenomenon across different categories of funds, pronounced in Small and MidCap funds. The Sensex and Nifty are at all-time high with returns of 2.57% and 4.87% over the past 6 months while the mid and small caps have been battered with negative returns of (11.42%) and (16.46%). Over 50% of Mid and Small Cap stocks listed in NSE have lost more than 25% of their value.
I am outlining some of the key reasons that has resulted in this poor performance.
- Huge valuation of Mid and Small Cap stocks. Typically, in the past Mid and Small Cap stocks have traded at a discount to LargeCap. However, in the recent run till 2017 end, Mid and Small Cap stocks were trading at more than 200% of Price to Earnings of LargeCap (Nifty and Sensex)
- SEBIs mandate on Categorization and Rationalization of MF Schemes in Oct 2017. Mutual Funds did not have clear definition of boundaries of Large, Mid and Small Caps and each fund house had its own definition. There were also multiple schemes of the same category, like 3 LargeCap funds in the same fund house. As a result of the SEBI mandate, fund houses have to merge/modify existing funds and also clean up the stocks that a scheme owns. Many funds, even Large Cap had sizeable allocation to Mid and SmallCap stocks forcing them to sell to adhere to SEBIs definition. When all fund houses tried to reduce their Mid and Small Cap stocks at the same time, there were not enough buyers resulting in steep valuation drop. Thus, MFs pressure to sell Mid and SmallCap stocks was a key driver
- Surveillance Measures. Mid and SmallCap stocks are happy playgrounds for speculators and valuations go sky high without any change to the company fundamentals. SEBI in coordination with the BSE and NSE stock exchanges had been subjecting speculative stocks to surveillance measures since 2017. This covers both the changes not attributed to the fundamentals of stocks and also high volatility. Some of the highly traded stocks came under the scanner resulting in steep falls in price.
- Governance Risks. Governance issues have surfaced among Mid and SmallCap companies where Auditors like Deloitte and PwC quit just before the results announcement citing inadequate disclosure. Auditors of over 30 listed companies have quit in 2018, till date, wherever they doubted the veracity of numbers. Both individual as well as institutional investors were caught unaware resulting in a selling spree bringing down the valuations to more than 50% in many stocks
Conclusion: While the Mid and Small Cap stocks correction might continue further, investors with higher risk appetite, investing systematically, will be rewarded handsomely. Just make sure that your asset allocation commensurate with your Risk Appetite and Risk Tolerance.
I believe the returns on investment in the poor are just as exciting as successes achieved in the business arena, and they are even more meaningful! - Bill Gates
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