How to balance fear & greed when stocks are at their peak bonaz capital
The domestic equity market is on a roll with the benchmark indices currently hovering at all-time highs. The highlight of the current rally is undoubtedly the active participation of domestic institutional investors (DIIs), bonaz capital who, along with foreign investors, have collectively invested Rs 84,793 crore (year-to-date) in domestic stocks for the year till May 31, 2017.
Though it’s heartening to see retail investors embrace financial products, especially invest via the SIP route, now is the time to take a look at one’s portfolio.NSE India Historical pattern suggests whenever the market rallied on account of increased liquidity, it has always turned volatile in the short run.
From a valuation perspective too, the market is no longer cheap. For example: the trailing price-to-earnings (PE) multiple for the S&P BSE500 index is trending above its long-term average with more than 25 per cent of its constituents trading at 40 times their trailing 12-months earnings, which is the highest ever for these names.
In such interesting times, it is imperative for investors to revisit some of the investment fundamentals; the important one being striking the right balance between greed and fear while investing. It is always better to exercise caution than be sorry and regret later, particularly, when equity prices are soaring at an all-time high. This rally is happening especially at a time when earnings are yet to catch up.
Over the past three years, India Inc’s earnings growth has not lived up to expectations due to multiple factors. However, going forward, this landscape is likely to improve given the positive macro-economic factors and a steady recovery in the economy. Also, the positive effect of the recent government reforms is likely to further help the recovery process.
Once the earnings growth materialises, there is a possibility that valuations may get realigned with historical valuations.
As Charlie Munger, American investor, businessman, and well known philanthropist, aptly said, “All intelligent investing is value investing – acquiring more than you are paying for. You must value the business in order to value the stock.”
When the market has been on a roll, investors often tend to seek more gains from their investments. With the market inching upward to new all-time highs, investors generally tend to become greedy expecting further gains. This may not necessarily be the right move and calls for rebalancing of portfolio.
As the value of the equity component of your portfolio goes up, your original balance can get skewed. However, investors should always keep in mind that no asset class will move in one straight line, be it upward or downwards for a long time. This holds true, especially for financial assets, as the volatility is more pronounced in them.
At this point, a retail investor should ideally take a hard look at one’s portfolio. With the rise in the market, the portfolio value may have swelled and one may be tempted to make fresh investments to capture most of the opportunities offered by the market.
But this is the time one has to be cautious and fortify the gains. Given this objective, the right thing to do for retail investors would be to invest in dynamic asset allocation funds/ balanced advantage category of funds. These funds invest in equity or debt as per the attractiveness of that particular asset class and dynamically manage the same. When equities are cheap, the fund allocation towards equity increases in order to tap the available opportunities and vice-versa.
The construct of these funds ensures that an investor has exposure to both debt and equity asset classes within a single fund. The matrix used to arrive at the proportion is generally based on relative attractiveness of each of the asset class and, hence, these funds are dynamically managed.
While current market valuations do appear expensive from a short-term perspective, as the market has more or less factored in this year’s earnings growth, long-term investors can consider remaining invested as the economic growth rises to a robust 7 per cent plus, making India an attractive investment destination. Further, the bold economic reforms embarked upon by the government have set the stage right for good times for the Indian equity market.