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The valuations have come off from the recent highs which makes largecaps a preferred play, and midcaps after witnessing correction are still trading at a valuations higher than largecaps so we do not rule out further correction in this space, Sandeep Chordia, Executive Vice-President - Strategy, Kotak Securities, said in an interview to Moneycontrol's Kshitij Anand.
Talking about personal finance, he said that an investor in late thirties should allocate at least 70-75 percent of his portfolio into equities/MFs if investing for long run. Edited excerpt:
Q) Market is still down by 8 percent from record highs despite a pullback rally seen earlier in the week. Do you see bears gaining a hold on D-Street in March? The large part of the pullback was led by largecap and not midcaps. Do you see this largecap theme picking momentum in 2018?
A) The valuations have come off from the recent highs which makes largecaps a preferred play. Mid-caps after witnessing correction are still trading at higher valuations than large caps so we do not rule out further correction if earnings falter in the coming quarters.
Broader macros have deteriorated a bit due to rising crude prices and higher fiscal and trade deficit. Global rising bond yields is also putting pressure on global equities.
Keeping the broader perspective in mind there will be headwinds to Indian equities in future and hence it could remain a sell on rise kind of market at least in the near term.
Q) What are the global cues suggesting? Do you see rising bond yields will impact flows?
A) US yields had spiked to 2.92 percent during the last month while domestic 10-year yield moved up to 7.746 percent and the spread has remained in the range of 4.5-4.8 percent.
So far, the spread has been protected as both the Indian and US interest rates have gone up. Thus, it is not likely to impact FPI flows adversely for the domestic markets.
However, from a sentiment point of view, rising yields usually have a negative impact on equities. To that extent equities in emerging markets will be under pressure from FPIs.
Q) What should be the right strategy for investors right now? Buy on dips or sell on rallies?
A) In terms of valuations, benchmark indices are currently trading at 17.9x /15.2x on FY19E/20E. The volatility may continue to remain high throughout the year on concerns related to higher oil prices, the impact of higher MSPs as well as impending elections in two big (BJP ruled) states.
However, sharp earnings revival, pre-election spend, demand revival as well as infrastructure spending are likely to be positive triggers for the market. One should have a systematic approach to investments with a current focus towards largecaps.
Q) What is your advice to an investor who want to put Rs 10 lakh into markets? He is in the age bracket of 35-40 years. He/she is looking at forming a portfolio with direct equities, MFs, a part of fixed income as well?
A) Investors should be guided by their goals because if you are investing for the long run, equity still remains the top priority. At the same time, allocating a small part to fixed income is always justified for a variety of reasons.
We believe, that an investor in the age bracket of 35-40 years should allocate at least 70-75 percent of his portfolio into equities/MFs, 20-25 percent in fixed income and the balance should be in cash.
For first time investors with a corpus of Rs 10 lakh, it is advisable to invest larger share in mutual funds (i.e. 66 percent to 75 percent).
For financially savvy investors, we would suggest the person has a 50:50 mix between direct equities and mutual funds.
Q) What should be the ideal strategy for investors in terms of sectors? Do you think PSU banks are a good buy at current levels? What are the sector which you think are likely to show momentum in the year 2018?
A) Our preference would be for companies focused on infrastructure spending (Road, railways, defense), e-way bill implementation (Logistics, Auto, Building material etc.), consumption revival & Financialisation of savings (to benefit insurance companies, mutual funds, and broking firms).
We also see a lot of traction in sectors linked to rural consumption as the government is focused on increasing the incomes of rural people. Agro chemical stocks can do very well in 2018.
Metal stocks can also do well in 2018 on the back of stricter emission norms in China and Indian government’s anti-dumping stance.
It is better to avoid PSU banks as the amount of provisioning on NPAs is not clear. Giving a choice, within the PSU banking space, we would prefer SBI as it has already gone to 50-55 percent provisioning and is better in terms of capital adequacy.
Q) Any top five value buys even after a decline which investors can look at for the next 2-3 years (with rationale)?
A) Indo Count Industries:
Among the home textile companies which are mainly exporters of bed linen and terry towels like Indo Count should do well in the next 2-3 years as the destocking by large retailers in the US is coming to an end and as they start restocking growth should come back. Indo Count is trading at 10x FY19E for a 10 percent RoE profile.
Cochin Shipyard has been performing poorly because of the physiological linkage to the shipping industry. It does a large amount of shipbuilding work for the Navy and Coast Guard.
The order book is healthy providing visibility for next 4 years. If one removes the cash and other income then operational RoE goes to 25 percent compared to 11 percent reported in FY18E.
Agrochemical stocks which have corrected a lot are also contra buys. We like UPL Ltd. in this space as it is the largest player in the industry and its earnings this year is expected to be nearly 5x higher than its second largest peer, PI Industries.
The sector has companies which have a RoE profile of 20 percent and trades at ~20x one Forward PE basis. UPL for a 24 percent RoE profile and trades at 15x on Fw PE basis.
DB Corp could be a good contra play in the media space. People have a very negative sentiment towards print media companies.
The worst seems to be behind in FY18 and numbers should improve from FY19E onwards. Due to the favourable election cycle, the print advertisement should pick up in FY19. For more than 25 percent EBITDA margin, more than 20 percent RoE and a dividend yield of over 3 percent the stock trades cheap at around 13x FY19E.
Tata Motors could be a good contra play in the automobile space. Past few quarters have disappointed investors due to volatile margins and forex hedging losses. Going forward as Hedging losses unwind we expect JLR EBITDA margins to improve.
Based on the anticipated improvement in EBITDA margins and earnings the stocks look cheap. There could be a positive surprise from Indian operations, mainly CV business.
State Bank of India:
The SBI stock has corrected 21 percent from its recent high. However, the stock can be a good contrarian play as lower slippages in FY2019E over FY2018E, improving loan growth and resolutions of IBC accounts are expected to improve margins in the near term.
CASA growth has remained strong in recent quarters led by strong growth in savings accounts and this will provide some relief to incremental borrowings cost.
Q) What will happen in the banking space given the fact that the cost of borrowing is inching higher. The RBI might keep rates on hold in its next policy but may raise rates in 2018?
A) With the uptick in economic growth as reflected by the latest auto numbers and GDP numbers, we believe that the demand for credit will also start looking up. In fact, it has already started.
However, we would prefer to be in the space of private sector banks as they are gaining market share at the cost of the public sector banks. As CP and CD rates rise, the arbitrage of borrowing in the secondary market will shrink and hence some credit demand might come back to the banking sector.
Strong global growth and government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’ should also help in sustaining higher credit offtake from private sector banks as PSU bank’s lending ability has been affected due to recent scams
Q) Where do you see rupee headed in the near term?
A) We see USD-INR trading within a range of 64.30 to 65.50 for the next 6 months. A major factor for Rupee’s depreciation since early February is the stress in the trade finance market, where post-PNB scam, rolling over existing LOUs have become an issue.
Due to which demand for dollars in the spot has risen. However, we believe, the disruption will be temporary, till the time Banks conduct a quality check of their existing LOUs (Letter of Undertaking) issued.
Once the situation normalise, rupee can see some amount of appreciation. The global trend of USD would remain downward as strong global growth would continue to drive fund flow away from safe assets towards risky assets like from USD and US Treasuries towards EM equities, commodities and EM currencies.
As a result, we do not anticipate large depreciation of Rupee. If rupee depreciates, the export-oriented sectors like Infotech and Pharma would be the key beneficiaries of any depreciation in the rupee.
Export-oriented companies in the textile and engineering could also turn out to be major beneficiaries. Infosys, Tech Mahindra, and Cipla are some of the stocks which look good at this point in time.