Lower inflation will cap income from debt investments

India’s developments have become visible in all areas of economic activity. For a very long time, I remember in my school days, teachers used to say that, inflation in our country is high which posses a big challenge to save money. Slowly this challenge is becoming a myth, we have successfully brought down the inflation rates to below 4% levels.

When Raghuram Rajan talked about this a couple of years back, media brushed aside saying that, it is not going to be easy. Now, as we have reached the goal and beyond, we are looking at a newer challenge. When inflation is low and bank rates are high, real return in the economy is also high. This brings the challenge of having to pay higher taxes on income earned from debt investments which qualify for indexation benefits as well as assets like Real Estate.

In 2014, the debt returns were at 8.7% and tax payable was NIL after indexation. In 2017, the returns is almost the same, where the taxable portion of the income has moved up to ₹15742. Which means more than 50% of the returns will be taxed at 20%, thereby bringing down the net returns by more than 10%.

It is interesting to note how new challenges are coming up in life. If inflation stays low and the bank rate does not come down, taxes on debt fund returns will go up making the net gains reasonably lower. Investors in debt funds will have to re-think their investments.

They will also look to Equity funds which is already getting over crowded. Presently running at about 6 lakh crores and with expectations that there is going to be big inflows due to poor FD returns. Fund managers will now have a bigger challenge on stock selection and allocation of funds.

As it is MF’s are holding cash to the maximum permissible limits, presently a scheme can hold 10% cash. When holding cash in anticipation of a correction, if the market keeps moving higher, all these funds or schemes will have under performance against the broad markets. To avoid investors wrath, fund managers will be forced to invest into stocks that are fundamentally poor, thereby attracting very high risk on the investments.

If markets change course, the retail money that has flocked the Indian Mutual Fund industry will begin to move out, again giving the next challenge of meeting redemption pressures.

As the returns from debt funds are going to become lower due to taxes, what can be the next best alternative. Arbitrage funds will be the next place where we will see high inflows. Arbitrage funds are giving returns that are about equal to the prevailing bank rates for Fixed maturities, the biggest advantage they have is the tax free status or Equity taxation status.

Whereas, Arbitrage cannot absorb big flows as the edge to get returns will move away with huge capital chasing the same instruments in the market, which will bring down returns. As every other door to big returns will get locked as an automatic process, investors will be facing a situation of having surplus liquidity and not knowing what to do with it.

Bank rates coming down or inflation moving up is a requirement to keep things as they are, even this condition will require that, the fund flows into the mutual fund market requires a slowdown. All of a sudden the whole country put all their savings into one asset class will for sure ensure that the asset collapses on its own weight. Beyond our inflows, foreign money is also chasing Indian markets big time. FPI limit of 51b$ has got exhausted as I write this article and RBI is thinking to open another 2b$ for FPI’s.

One more change that could come is the returns on debt funds will begin to decline, which is inevitable & get self adjusted.

Investors beware, quality of your investment needs to looked at on highest priority. Just going to a website and selecting the top ranked fund will no more give the best returns. People need to take help of advisers while doing their investments. soon, we will have analysts who will research and find good Mutual Fund Schemes for investments.

Performance report for July 2016

Markets have been doing well and there are media reports that there can be some correction. Which is true? Fundamentally on a broader perspective there is not much change seen in the earnings of companies. Then, why did the market take off post budget? Foreign Portfolio Investors who moved out of our markets post China crisis have returned back. FPI’s have poured more than $1 Billion into our markets.

Perf.31.07.16

When such high amount of money comes in, it will move the whole markets and that is what has happened. Businesses that were fundamentally strong, though there were very few, began to

Following BREXIT, markets have taken off well due to FPI inflows. More than a billion dollars have been invested in our markets in the last one month, which has helped in markets giving a good growth.

Metals & Infrastructure sectors were leaders in returns as they are moving up from the bottom, while on the fundamental side, the companies in these sectors are yet to show strength.

BREXIT and saturation in the BFSI segment which was contributing to growth in the Technology sector has turned the sector into the weakest in the prevailing markets.

SENSEX gained above 4% in the month of July, in line with our performance which stood at 4.20% for the month of July.

Our Exposure:

Being exposed to the right sectors that have the potential to get the best growth in the prevailing markets gives us an edge in performance. Our systems have ensured that we are invested in the right sectors. Presently, we are overweight on Financials, Cement, infrastructure, Sugar& Paper. NBFC businesses have got into an advantage position against the traditional banks. NPA’s position of NBFC’s has been fairly low when compared to the PSU peers. They are also placed well in the rural markets where the next thrust on the business growth is expected to happen. Likely boost in the consumption pattern after the 7th pay commission is getting factored into the market.

Financial sector has above 12% exposure in our portfolio. Bajaj Finance & Bharath Financial has been consistent performers following their robust result announcements.

PRS.Sector.31.07.16

We have had increased exposure into the Basic Materials sector comprising Metals and Chemicals, the sector that was down in the last year. After a good base formation there are some green shoots visible in this sector. Exposure was reduced in the Technology sector following weak performance numbers from the businesses in this sector.

Merger of Oil Marketing Companies into a single company was good news which helped the leader of this sector HPCL have good gains.

Result season though not very good on the broad perspective, it has pretty well on specific stocks. Stocks like Bajaj Finance, Bharat Financial, etc., have given phenomenal gains following result announcement. Good monsoon and subsequent rural demand have been helping in companies that have good rural presence gain momentum in the markets.

GST becoming a reality soon is also helping service sector businesses to gain as they are the biggest beneficiaries of this move. Following no new stimulants that have uncertainty in them, which can drive the markets from here, we are having small corrections and this correction is required often the markets to move out of weaker holdings and add new stocks into a portfolio.

After Ghostly October its December pain now…..

IWaiting GirlOctober was perceived to be a weak month for the markets based on past records, while it went on to be a fairly good month. Whereas November took a marginal hit & now comes the December pain. In the last 5 years, 2 years in December was negative. So, will this year turn out to be a weak one for our markets?
Now the dynamics have taken a different shape. December has a lot of events which will make the markets swing on both directions. Some important news flow are expected on the implementation of GST and FED interest rate hike and it is most likely that in December the markets are going to be volatile. SENSEX should re-test the 25100 levels reached in August to gain strength before any rally can happen, which has a fairly good chance to occur in December.
After the Bihar election results, the government at the center has an urgent need to bring some reforms into action, while the support at the Rajya Sabha to do that, will not let it happen smoothly. So, GST may or may not happen in the winter session of the parliament. This can be tricky on the markets.
Raguram Rajan has cleared that there is not going to be any positive surprise from his side in the December policy review, which is now confirmed that there is not going to be any good news to the markets from this front.
Gold Bonds, the brainchild of Rajan, did see some good take off with about ₹917 crores on investment coming in, over a period this product will gain some market share which is a very good change for our country as we need not import Gold and that much of FOREX is saved, boosting the Current Account Deficit numbers.
Again the FED issue is getting into limelight, with the jobs data in the US markets showing strength, there are fairly good chances that the FED will hike interest rates. As of now FII’s are on the side-lines having the positive expectation on the FED meet, which if interest rates are increased, though will not cause a bigger impact to our markets as the FII’s have already sold off. While on the other hand if the decision gets postponed or has come confirmation that it is going to be delayed, then, we should look at some inflows from the Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI’s). With the domestic institutions already having a strong hand on the markets, any support from the FPI front will give an additional strength to the markets.
So, it is confirmed that there is a lot of confusion prevailing at the moment and the line of resistance in on the down side. If it so happens, which has a fairly good chance, it is good for the markets as it will build the strength required and move up. And this base building will not happen in a hurry; it will take its own time which, in the process will kill patience of traders and investors, who got into the market in the later part of the 2014-15 rallies.
Weaker hands in the market should get moved out to have a strong rally.

With such confusion prevailing what can happen to investments?
Our market is in a clear bull market trend, so all the corrections and consolidations are an advantage to accumulate on the investments, while it will require smart decisions. There are a good number of businesses which are very attractive based on their earnings, these stocks will move up and give opportunities to profit.
Pharma, NBFC, Textiles and some select technology stocks will have good runs in the coming month. Whereas the large cap stocks that form the broader indices like the SENSEX and NIFTY will have pressure. Banking is weak and is not in a hurry to run up. Metals are still weak, which might see some more consolidation and down ward pressure.
Stock investments are going to be volatile in performance; even the Equity Mutual Funds will have pressure on their performance. Baring few schemes like the ICICI Prudential Exports, which has a very dynamic portfolio, holding on to the best stocks.

Results of the September quarter was muted, sales growth was sluggish which did not bring out any businesses worthy of investment, some existing ones that were in the growth phase continue to hold on to their performance, while some prominent ones like Eicher Motors, Page Industries which had been commanding a major share of long term investment portfolios have moved out following slowdown in their business growth. These are stocks that have given its investors more than 1000 percent profits in the last 5 to 6 years and now it is correction time for them.
In the Pharma sector, front line stocks have taken a very big hit following USFDA issues, Dr. Reddy’s has lost more than 35% of its value in 2 weeks from the time the US authorities began questioning them. While bigger players have been losing the mid-caps in this segment are doing well. Stocks like Alembic Pharma, Aurobindo Pharma, Cadila etc., are getting more exposure in portfolios.

How is 2015 likely to end for the Indian Stock markets?
So far from January 2015, the major indices like the SENSEX are down about 4% and with no big booster dose available in the month of December, SENSEX is likely to close negative for 2015. After a gain of 40+ percentage in 2014, the very next year getting into Red is of a concern to the long term trend of our country.
One good advantage with a prolonged correction or consolidation as it should be fairly called, since the markets have begun to consolidate after a pretty strong rally is that the break out from the consolidation will have a higher chance of going into another very strong rally. With the prevailing economic conditions and the way India is positioned among the global markets, we will have some more super strong growth years to experience.

How is BTT portfolio placed in the markets now?
Before the markets began to consolidate, the SENSEX reached its peak in April 2015, while our portfolio held on to its strength, reached a new peak in August, just before the Chinese market crisis, which showed that our portfolio was stronger than the SENSEX. As soon as the correction set in, we had a slew of exits from the investments which had given substantial gains and have begun to get slow on their growth, in our portfolio which brought down our exposure in the markets by 25%. Our performance for 2015 has mimicked the SENSEX.
Now, there is a question, with a strong portfolio and reduced exposure, why are we not outperforming the indices?
The stocks that form our portfolio are super strong on their fundamental strength, due to which the price increase was very high. We have stocks that have generated triple digit growths on their stock prices within 2-3 months from the date of our investment. Such high growth in price have the tendency to correct faster too when the whole market gets subdued, due to which the impact on the performance is high. This impact should have normally caused under perform to under perform the broader markets, while it was not. The reason that we are at par with the index in performance was due to the reduction in exposure.
September results did not bring out new investment opportunities and with the subdued sentiment in the markets even in the festive season, January results are also not likely to show any big surprises. We will be adding new investments only when the companies begin to report good numbers and until then, we will be light on exposure giving the best possible safety to the capital invested.

When will the market go up?

ConsolidatePost China crisis, our stock markets have moved into correction mode. There were continuous challenges in the form of disturbances like the Volkswagen scandal, Bihar election results, attack on Paris along with the regular nuances like the FED rate hike and the selling by the Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) in our markets, which has almost become like a monthly issue.

In October, there was the fear of the FED hiking interest rates which got postponed to December, now the fear has come back again on the thoughts that, whether there will be a re-thinking by Yellen. And every time there is this news about the interest rate hike, it gets followed by the withdrawal of the FPI’s from our market. We have been so much at the mercy of foreign investors to support our market; a small change in their thought itself creates a downturn in our markets. As an emerging market, we have got used to this foreign investment to support our markets.

While in reality, the present situation in our markets has taken a different direction. Dependency on foreign money to move our markets are slowly coming to an end. From the data that is available it is clearly visible that the foreign support is no more required for our markets. In the April to October period, domestic institutions and retail investors have bought stocks worth 51000 Crores, on an average the domestic funds are buying stocks worth 6638 Crores or just about $1 billion, every month since May 2014 as against the FPI contribution of $787 million in the same period.

These figures show that any kind of selling by FPI’s is getting absorbed by the domestic purchase. The investment dynamics of the Indian public have had a dramatic change; SIP’s used to be about 1000 crores per month before 2014, which has now got increased to 2500 Crores per month. The beauty here is that, all this money is going into the midcaps and not the large caps. When we talk about so much inflows and the market is still weak, doubts arise as to why it is so?

The FPI’s are mostly invested in the large cap stocks, which they are liquidating, apart from the fact that the reduced interest rates will become attractive for these investors to be invested in their economies; they are realizing the mistake of wrong investments. Large cap stocks have become poor performers in the present market. The SENSEX dropped 1.48% on 18th November 2015, while the mid cap index dropped only 0.68%, the reason was FPI selling in large caps. Stocks like Larsen & Toubro, ONGC, TATA Steel etc., have been losing heavily, while their mid cap counter parts like Eicher, Page etc., are gaining big time. In the last week alone Dr. Reddy’s lost more than 25%, along with it all the frontline Pharma companies losing a large portion of their value, while stocks like Aurobindo Pharma, Cadilla, Glenmark etc., did not lose much.

Pressure of the USFDA investigations have brought down the stock prices of most of the big names in the Parma Sector. Again, this USFDA is one another issue that has been haunting our markets often. There is too much of dependency by our frontline Pharma companies for their sales from the US markets and the US is commanding, this situation will change soon. Our companies will realize that there is a similar market available in the rest of the world and with the medical facilities getting improved in India, one of the biggest economies by population, India sales itself will have a bigger contribution in the years to come.

In the first 20 days in November, FI’s have sold in our markets to the extent of 7200 Crores while the domestic institutions have bought for 17360 crores. It is close to 150% more than the sales that have happened. Most of the selling was in the frontline stocks and the buying was in the mid cap space. To some extent the selling pressure is getting absorbed by the local institutions and that is the reason we have the markets going up and down in short periods. It is like a sort of confusion and will result in a prolonged consolidation.

FPI’s are forced to re-align their portfolio if they have to make money from our markets, hence the selling pressure. Whereas the domestic funds are already loaded into mid-caps which have had a very good run and are also adding to their portfolio taking advantage of the correction in the market. Our markets witnessed an above 40% straight rally after the new government got elected, from such a steep rise, it has to get re-adjusted before it takes off again and this readjustment will take a little more time. The way the charts are formed, the bullish sentiment is pretty strong. If the next round of bullish move has to be even stronger, like the experience we had in the 2003-2008 bull market, the markets have to consolidate and re-shuffle leadership.

happy-investorsLast year Automobile stocks had a great run supported by good earnings from the companies, while this year, they have a kind of taken back seat. Most of them have completed their dream runs. Now the leadership position is slowly getting shifted to Pharma and NBFC stocks. September quarter results were muted, the average sales growth has been around 1.50% while the earnings growth is at 7%, which shows that companies are cutting down costs to increase profits and this cannot continue for long. Soon, we will have sales numbers showing up.

This change in leadership is going to take some time to get aligned, maybe till the 3rd quarter results are out, in which there can be some positive surprises. Till that time, the markets will not turn bearish; it will consolidate at the present levels and then break out. The longer the consolidation, so much stronger will be the next rally, while in the consolidation period; it will kill the patience of anxious investors. For those who stay with patience, the next rally will be a bigger reward. The same happened in 2014, before the 45% rally we had between March 2014 and April 2015, the markets consolidated for a full long year staying within a 15% range in 2013.

With Money BagsPresently the consolidation is again at 15%, the more it gets stretched, and the chances of another 45% rally are higher. In such a scenario the SENSEX should be at 43500 and the NIFTY at 13150. At present these numbers look a little too over optimistic, while it was the same when there were talks of SENSEX to reach 30000, in early 2014, hard to believe, while it did happen. The SENSEX breached 30000 in March 2015.

As I complete this writing, I myself am getting euphoric, how throwing a little light on the hindsight has given a very beautiful picture to look at in the future. For those who have missed the 2014 opportunity, there is one more chance waiting to happen, take advantage and grow your savings faster.