|»5 Minute Wrap Up by Equitymaster|
On This Day - 9 FEBRUARY 2015
Are you gearing up for 'post Budget' investing?
In this issue:
Now, what seems most amusing to us is the fact that investors are actually gearing up for 'post Budget investing'. Based on the expected 'break through reforms', they are readying themselves to pour their entire allocable surplus into stocks. The media and business papers are playing no small role in whetting the appetite for news based investing. And the Budget day i.e. 28th of February 2015 is being projected as the all important day for Indian investors.
Well, good intentions apart, we certainly doubt if it is possible for the government to deliver on all its promises through the Budget. And reforms, if any, will not be temporary. Even if they do offer a meaningful upside to the earnings estimates of Indian companies, the same will pan out over a period of time. Hence investors should get enough time to take calibrated decisions on their stock portfolio.
So, it is certainly a good idea to book some profits on stocks that have ripe valuations or have a good reason to be sold. No doubt that if the Budget is indeed what it is expected to be, stocks in India could certainly get attractive. But investing post Budget cannot be about doing so in a day or week. Nor should it be about timing the markets. Just as there is no reason for you to ignore solid and attractive stocks pre Budget, post Budget investing decisions cannot be based solely on policy upsides. Do not overlook the fact that you will need to be careful about valuations. In addition, companies expected to benefit from policy upside should also have robust business models and good management.
So do not pay too much attention to the media hype about post budget investing. Continue looking for safe and value stocks even in the days preceding the event. And whether or not the Budget turns out to be a blockbuster event, do not panic. Good companies will continue to be resilient even if the Budget fails to meet expectations. And a sharp up move in valuations of companies benefitting from reforms, will not mean that investing opportunities are lost for good.
Most importantly you should not lose sight of asset allocation. Investing in the post Budget scenario, however appetizing, cannot be a reason to subject your portfolio to undue risks.
Now, corporate governance apart, we believe companies should disclose adequate information about their performance to the investing community at large. The practice of companies divulging information selectively to top analysts is against the interest of minority shareholders. And with the sole intent of getting the next quarter's EPS right, the analysts do no favour to long term investors, even with heaps of information. So we completely agree with Buffett that relevant information, necessary for long term investing, given out publicly, serves investors best. And the analysts who believe otherwise could continue speculating about quarterly earnings.
One look at the data (as per Mint) suggests that AIFs have been a big hit. Investments made into AIFs in 2014 were nearly Rs 7.8 bn. This is a huge jump from the 2013 figure of about Rs 2.9 bn. Clearly, stocks and real estate are not the only games in town as far as the rich are concerned. We won't be surprised if this sort of exponential growth were to continue in the short term. However, we would also add a word of caution here. A lot of this money has been made its way into small un-listed firms. These could become IPO candidates in the coming years. At that time investors would do well to stay away from issues that are offered to the general public at sky high valuations.
We don't have high hopes of this gigantic stash being accounted for any time soon. Even if it has found its way back to India via 'round-tripping', it is next to impossible to measure and track it with accuracy. What compounds the problem is our obsession with Switzerland. Experts in this field have long argued that illicit funds are held in various tax havens around the world and a large part of it has already found its way back to India. Thus, we believe without the necessary political will, there is no chance of getting back the black money abroad or at home.
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