Tag Archives: Market Trends

Equity Market Dynamics

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            Apologies for the long silence (excluding the folks for whom it might have been a bliss) – Some investors even asked me if I had stopped writing Blogs. Income Tax Filing and GST Registration took a toll on my time – Need some excuse, right?

I have realized that starting a new habit like walking, running, swimming, meditation is easy. But, sustaining it for a long period of time is extremely difficult. I am telling this in the context of publishing blogs on a periodic basis rather than adhoc.       

  • ‘Invest cautiously through dynamic asset allocation funds’
  • ‘Move from mid-caps to large cap’
  • ‘Lower your return expectations’
  • ‘Earnings continue to be muted’
  • ‘Cash holding and arbitrage positions have increased’
  • ‘Risk-Reward is unfavourable for Equities’
  • ‘GDP growth takes a hit’
  • ‘Foreign Money is chasing India’s Reform Story’


The above statements were made by key fund managers and analysts, both Indian and International, in the recent weeks. Has our reform story taken off or yet to take-off? Statements like price to earnings P/E is more than 10-year average; 1 to 15 is considered cheap, 16-20 is considered fair and greater than 20 is considered as expensive may not be relevant in the current context. Currently Nifty and Sensex are trading at close to 24 P/E. I would tend to argue that there are major changes to the investment pattern which will change the contour of equity investments and following are some of the points why I think so.

  • Retail Investor participation in markets through MFs and ULIPs is at all time high with inflows increasing month over month. Equity MFs had an all-time high net-inflow of Rs. 21,875 Crores in Aug 2017. How was it before? Equity MFs had an all-time high net-inflow of Rs. 14,480 Crores in July 2017. This highlights the appetite of Indian Retail Investors which was not the case earlier.
  • Other than MF Equity route, inflows are high from sources like National Pension Scheme, Provident Fund, ULIPs.
  • The reason attributed to this heavy inflow is not that Investors have started embracing equity but also due to stagnant Real Estate Sector, Gold still struggling to cross 2012 levels and lowering of Bank/Post Office/Company Fixed deposit rates.
  • Instead of yearly dividend payments which was the norm until a few years ago, Quarterly and Monthly dividends in Equity Funds are being paid to attract gullible investors.
  • Some Wealth Management firms and independent practitioners, enticed by the volume and immediate benefits, invest huge lump-sums of their clients, running into crores, even in the current market.
  • The argument of average 10-year Price Earning is something that I don’t subscribe as there will be demand-supply mismatches which inflates the PE of a good stocks with earnings visibility

So, as sensible investors, what is that we can do in this frenzied Bull Run:

  1. Investors who embark on direct equity in this period need to know that, during bull runs, even the worst of stocks do well. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha and considered as the god of equity investing quoted ‘Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked’.
  2. Do not go for Lump-Sum investments and invest through systematic plans – SIP and STP – Almost all Chief Investment Officers and Fund Managers of Fund houses are unanimous with this message.
  3. Medium and Small Company stocks have become overvalued and the hit will be heavier during correction. Advice is to stick with Large Company Stocks or move allocation from Small and Mid to Large. This is also a unanimous message
  4. The Equity markets would have changed the asset allocation pattern – skewed towards Equity than Debt and this needs to be rebalanced.
  5. Cashing out of Equity, especially MFs, is not a good idea as it is extremely difficult to predict when the correction will happen and when the market will go back to the original high. I remember atleast 3 popular fund houses, that took cash calls during the 2008-9 global crisis and for a short period those funds were doing better as they contained losses. But the celebration for those funds was short lived as the markets turned around sharply, not allowing the funds to re-deploy the cash. Some of these funds are still languishing.
  6. Even if there is a 10 to 20% correction, the macro factors for India is good which will life the markets – Inflation down, GST Implementation, Current Account and Fiscal deficit, Government gaining due to low Crude Prices – The only reason to be cautious is if we get another shock like Demon. or Beef ban or unrest with neighbours


<Blog # PenguWIN 1055 – Equity Market Dynamics>

Investing in the Current Market

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Dear Friends,

                   The RBI witnessed the end of an Era on the 4th Sep 2016 with Dr. Rajan exciting as the Governor. Technical Prowess and ability to communicate, both are required for the central bank governor role. Dr. Rajan’s major plus point was his effective communication which none of the earlier governors could match. At times, being candid leads you to problems and the governor was no exception. He is Raghuram Rajan and he does what he does! The pensioners across India were worried as the Postal and Bank deposits were getting reduced and the governor used multiple messages including his ‘Dosa’ story to drive the point of real returns vs nominal returns and the effects of Inflation. No wonder he was referred as a Rock Star Governor and many erudite people across the globe, currently (till Sep first week to be precise), refer him as the best Central Banker in the world.

Dr. Urjit Patel, the current RBI Governor who was working closely with Dr. Rajan also has impeccable credentials and even a better hold of Economics than Rajan, going by his academics. But the challenge he would face is to reach out to the people and communicate, which Dr. Rajan was extremely good at and Urjit might fall short, give his personality

The market indices (Sensex, Nifty, Mid Cap, Small Cap, Sectoral – All Caps), seem to be going up day by day and investors who invested significant money during the  23k to 25k phase  of Sensex, a few months back, would have made fantastic returns in a short span of time. All our clients are extremely happy now looking at the returns, their portfolio has generated. But, please remember that the gains are only on paper similar to the earlier period when losses were only in paper. You pull out money from Equity funds whenever your goal is approaching or in case of emergencies when you are unable to liquidate other assets. This is akin to people buying a home and feeling happy when they hear that the prices in that area goes up or feel a little low if the prices go down. Actually, this makes no difference as you cannot move out of your home to book profits or losses (i.e the reason why some advisors do not include the home we live as part of Networth computation). It’s purely a feel good (bad) factor.

I hope you have heard of the Jargon price to earnings ratio or PE ratio. This is one of the most important measures used for individual stock valuation or index (Sensex, Nifty valuation). PE ratio refers to the current price of the stock (as traded in Sensex/Nifty etc.) or index value divided by the earnings of the company or cumulative earnings of index companies per share. Going a step further, EPS is basically the profit that a company makes divided by the number of outstanding shares. Analysts have benchmarks for PE ratio depending on the sector, company performance and if the current PE ratio is lower than the benchmark then a stock is attractive. Similarly based on the PE of the index   (Sensex/Nifty), the valuation is said to be high/low. Let me not go into too much technical details of trailing PE, Forward PE etc.

When the Sensex has crossed 29,000 (swings around 29k) analysts have started claiming that the valuation is high and a another set says India is the only growing economy in the world currently, inflation is in control now, the reforms undertaken by the Modi government has started yielding results, till date there is no sign of big corruption, GST is going to be become a reality and so on, justifying the premium valuation. So, how should the investor behaviour be in a situation and what should be the return expectations?

  1. One could argue that booking some profit (though not selling everything and getting out) when the market is high should be the approach. But this holds good only for direct stock investment. When you have invested in Mutual Funds which are supposedly managed by professionals, we have nothing to worry and can invest either through SIP or Lumpsum and the Fund Managers will take care of the portfolio. Typically, flows into MFs are high when the markets go up because of the investment behaviour, including the new SIPs.


       Sir Isaac Newton, supposedly one of the Genius of all times with numerous inventions to his credit, lost heavily investing in a company called South China Sea. He quoted “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people” 

       So, if you thought that Mutual Fund managers will be able to hold on to cash when huge investments come in and time the reinvestment perfectly in the lowest point, you are wrong. A few star fund managers and even the fund houses (typically the overall direction for investing is given by the CIO (Chief Investment Officer) made this mistake during the 2008 crash and retrace the earlier peak in a few months, the funds holding cash lost the opportunity to invest and some marque funds (till then) were unable to recover for years together. These funds protected the downside better but lost in the upside. But unlike direct equity investing, going through the mutual fund route definitely provides better downside protection, in most cases, as a result of their superior management skills

  1. Take a safe approach and continue with SIPs alone or even stop it and sit on the side-lines. But sitting in the side-lines and waiting for market to come down to 23-24k level might become a foolish idea. Gold crossed 2000/- per gram, few years back which, at time, was the highest price ever. Subsequently once it climbed to the point from which it has never dropped below 2000, if people had waited for Gold to come down below 2000, they would have been just be sitting and gazing at the sun and moon. In Indian Equity market there was point when Sensex breached 16,000 and many thought that they need to capitalize the moment and started selling and exiting the market (I was also one of them). There were analysts and large investors like Rakesh Jhunjunwala (referred as the Warren Buffet of India) who said that Sensex will touch 25000, 50000 and even 1 lakh. I am not sure how many bought his idea and most mocked at him. But his first target of 25,000, has already been breached.


  1. If we make Lump Sum investments when the market is high, what is the consequence? Going back to the Sensex targets, as long as companies continue to do well and earnings keeps growing, the valuations have to go up. The chances of making negative returns is there only in the short term but from a long term perspective you will make handsome gains. The difference would be in Return on Investment which would be higher if you had invested when the market was at 23-24 vs 29k. If you get only 8% ROI when you invested at 29k and not the typical number of 15 or 16%, then people think that they had done a mistake. However, I would argue that this is not true as you need to consider the opportunity cost. Instead of getting 8% tax free (after a year), If you wait for a year holding the money in a bank FD resulting in a negative return of 1% (net of Inflation (6%) and Taxes (10L+)), you are better off with 8% or +2% (net of Inflation). I had mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that I had invested Lumpsum money when the Sensex corrected and came down to 26/27 k after touching 30k, and was left with no money to capitalize on the situation when the market came down to 23k at one point of time, I did feel a little low. But now my ROI is positive and was there any other opportunity that could have given me more returns, I would say “No” atleast in my case. The earnings growth of the companies will continue and the percentage of growth might slow down. Revenue increasing from 10 Cr to 20 Crs (100% growth) is relatively easier than growing from 100 to 200 crores in a year.


  1. Investors are made to think that Systematic Investing is the panacea for investing in equity. Once you understand the nuances of investing you will find that this is not always true. SIP will not help in a continuously raising market – your averaging will go up. SIP/STP is a solution best suited for people who have only smaller amounts to invest on a monthly basis. For someone who wants to deploy a corpus of say 10L, if he does a 25k/month of systematic investment, then the deployment alone will take 40 months. So, even if you had deployed 10L and sitting with a ROI of 8%, it is still better than getting a SIP return of double digits where the amount is idling in a low return yielding SB or FD or a liquid fund


Typically if an investor wants to deploy a huge sum it’s better to take a mixed approach i.e. do a systematic investments over a 1 year time frame and if the instalments are smaller, deploy additional amounts whenever there are opportunities of huge dips in the market

 <Blog # PenguWIN 1041 – Investing in the Current Market>

Historical Returns of Stocks, Gold, and Fixed Deposits in India

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Returns of Stock, Gold, Fixed Deposits

Dear Friends,

I have been hunting for an interesting topic and I saw an email from my friend and well-wisher Muthu, which made me chose this topic of returns from various asset classes.

While it’s a universal truth that returns from Equity beats all other asset classes in the long run, I have had innumerable discussions with people on the volatility that is inherent to equity investing and returns that we can make for anxiety that it causes to some. One thing that is clearly evident is that there is “No Gain without Pain” and returns are proportional to the risks that we take.

I want to quote what our “Ulaganayanan” Kamal Hasan mentioned in one of his interviews that I happened to tune into. It goes something like this:

“When you start body building by going to a gym, the body starts paining a lot and quite a number of people drop the idea unable to bear it. It’s not just the pain associated with body building but the priorities also keep changing and we tend to discontinue the process. For people who have not hit the gym, walking for a long time, and climbing hills as a one off case will also result in body discomfort and the leg muscles pain for a few days.   The reason why the body pains is that, the muscles get toned but we need to continue exercising meticulously to get to a good physique – No Pain No Gain”

Likewise, Equity investing might cause some anxious moments in the short term but the wealth creating ability of equities is too good to ignore.

I have presented some interesting facts that are sourced from various websites and research papers including RBI, BSE, and Money Control.

The graph below depicts the effect of Inflation in the long run.  The value of Rs. 1 lakh in 1981-82 has become Rs. 8,819/- i.e. Rupee lost its value by 92% due to inflation.


I have chosen the period of observation from FY 1982 when government started publishing the cost inflation index (CII – This is the figure that we use for indexation benefits). CII value was 100 for FY 1982 and has gone up to 939 for FY 2014 – a whopping 939% in 32 years, approx. 7.3% on an Annualized basis. The yearly numbers vary from as low as 3.54% in FY 2006 to as high as 12.5% in FY2011 (NDA 2 period when Inflation was skyrocketing). The value CII value is 939 for FY 2014 and the percentage increase over previous year i.e. FY 2014 over FY 2013 is 10.21%.

Cost Inflation Index

The following are some of the questions that keep cropping up on a regular basis from various investors:

  1. Is Equity Investing a gamble?
  2. Will I make money investing in stock markets?
  3. I don’t want to take any risk and invest in safe assets like Bank and Post Office deposits
  4. How much of returns can I expect from Stock Markets, Gold and Real Estate?

While I am not getting into answering the above questions (some are already addressed in the PenguWIN Website https://penguwin.com/ask-penguwin), I want to present my views based on the comparison chart below that addresses these questions.


  • Equity and Real Estate are the asset classes that can give real returns in the long term. If the inflation is 8% and if the nominal return from an asset class is 10%, then Real return would be 1.85%: ((1+Nominal Return)/(1+Inflation) – 1))
  •  Returns from Bank and Postal Deposits, Gold (Gold had a tremendous run for some time), company deposits etc. barely manage to cope up with inflation or even less most of the time resulting in investment value going down.  You can see that the cost inflation index, fixed deposits, gold are almost even.

Asset Class

Investment in 1982

Value on 31Mar’14

% Returns

Equity (Sensex)




Bank Fixed Deposit








  • Only Equity has been successful in withstanding the onslaught of Inflation and has given a real return of over 10%, adjusted for inflation. 1 lakh invested in Indian Equity in FY 1982 is worth Rs. 2,23,86,000/- (2.24 Crores). Please note that these are just returns from Sensex and our active mutual fund managers generate a handsome alpha over and above this in the rage of 5+% compared to Sensex.

Does this mean that all our money has to go into equity? No, the point is that equity has to be an integral part of the portfolio to ensure that the overall portfolio return is able to beat inflation. The stability that the Fixed Income provides is very essential and that is the secret sauce of asset allocation that is widely talked about.

Please do send me your comments to sendhil@penguwin.com and share your views on my blog. I would also request you to send me some interesting topics that you want me to blog on and if it’s an area of my expertise, I will definitely take it up.

Blog #PenguWIN 1002 – Historical returns of Stocks, Gold, and Fixed Deposit Assets compared to Inflation in India