Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weekly Market Commentary - June 23, 2014 - June 27, 2014

Recent news events have brought back to my mind the quote from bible, which I am paraphrasing here for purpose of my article – “The Govt. giveth and the Govt. taketh away”. This week started with health ministry’s proposal to raise taxes on cigarettes which took its toll on ITC share. Then, Food ministry moved in to provide relief to mill owners and the farmers they owe money to (in tune of $1.3bn) by raising the import duty. The week ended with FM extending excise duty concessions to auto, capital goods and consumer sector. But the relief to the investors ended soon as govt. deferred the gas price hike by another three months.

As we all know, the next catalyst is new govt.’s budget on July 10. All eyes are on FM now. Investors are cautious as markets is looking at a pro-growth and reform budget. On July 10, it will be clear to everyone how new FM has managed between subsidies, taxation, inflation, rising crude oil prices, threat of weaker monsoon and El-Nino (read about it here).

Sensex and Nifty ended this week flat while Midcap up by 2.7%

Monday - Sensex down by 0.3%, Nifty down by 0.2%, Midcap up by 0.7%
Sensex and Nifty continue to trade lower led by ITC, which declined by more than 6% - most in ten months when health minister muted the idea of raising taxes on cigarettes. The worry over Iraq crisis has not abetted and Brent crude continue to hover around $115 a barrel. On the other hand, govt.’s move to raise import duty on imports from 15% to 40% led to rally in sugar stocks.

Tuesday - Sensex up by 1.3%, Nifty up by 1.2%, Midcap up by 1.6%
Sensex and Nifty continue to trade lower led by ITC, which declined by more than 6% - most in ten months after health minister muted the idea of raising taxes on cigarettes. The worry over Iraq crisis has not abetted and Brent crude continue to hover around $115 a barrel. Govt.’s move to raise import duty on imports from 15% to 40% led to rally in sugar stocks.

Wednesday - Sensex down by 0.2%, Nifty down by 0.1%, Midcap up by 0.4%
Sensex and Nifty fell again as rising crude oil worries, deficient monsoon add to the expectation of higher inflation in near term. There was a brief rally in auto stocks after FM extended excise duty concessions to the sector.

Thursday - Sensex down by 1.0%, Nifty down by 1.0%, Midcap down by 0.5%
Benchmark indices ended lower led by upstream oil and gas companies after govt.’s move to defer the gas price hike for the next three months. However, capital goods and auto stocks gained after govt. extended excise duty concessions for automobiles, consumer and capital goods by six months to Dec. 31. Also, overseas investors sold shares worth INR6.0bn ($101mn) on Thursday, marking their biggest single day of sales since Mar 10.

Friday - Sensex up by 0.1%, Nifty up by 0.2%, Midcap up by 0.4%
Sensex and Nifty gained slightly as Sun Pharma jumped on the U.S. regulator's approval for a key drug while IT stocks gained after Accenture reported robust quarterly revenue growth. Gail India declined by 0.7% after a blast at a gas pipeline in Andhra Pradesh killed 14 people and injured 20 rising concerns over safety of gas infra all over country.

Friday, June 27, 2014

World Wide Web

Excellent infographic by Euromonitor on worldwide web of trades.
Hat tip: The Big Picture

Click on the image to enlarge

Thursday, June 26, 2014

El Niño - Spoiler Alert!

It goes without saying that Indian growth story is strongly dependent on rainfall. Any shortfall, and we all scramble for places to hide from resulting high prices of agri commodities.

To make matters worse, a recent forecast that El Niño weather phenomenon, has a 90% chance of striking this year, can cause trouble for India. Rise in prices due to drought conditions (deficient water supply, lower crop output) in many areas led to riots in several countries in 2007.

As you can see in the graphic below, that India will suffer a dry spell with weaker monsoon rains but US will get a relief from drought in the west.

Click image to enlarge

The latest prediction is from European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, which is one of the most reliable of prediction centres around the world.

They have clarified that the amount of warm water in the Pacific is perhaps the biggest since the 1997-98 event which led to hottest year on record at that time.

The picture will become clearer in a month or two whether this year’s El Niño will be a small or a major event.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weekly Market Commentary - June 16, 2014 - June 20, 2014

According to the Ministry of Oil and Natural Gas, India imported about 13% of its crude oil requirements from Iraq last year and this year was planning to take that figure to 20%. Iraq is the second largest crude producer in the OPEC group. With only half of the supplies covered so far, India has to rush to other players to secure oil – likely at higher prices now. According to one govt. estimate, oil price can rise to $120 per barrel for several months and may hit the govt. budget by atleast $3.3bn.

Sensex ended this week down by 0.5% while Nifty was down by 0.4% and Midcap down by 0.7%

Monday - Sensex down by 0.1%, Nifty down by 0.1%, Midcap up by 0.4%
Sensex and Nifty continue to trade lower as Iraq crisis weigh on investor’s mind. Brent rose to $113 per barrel, a nine-month high as ISIS strengthens its position in Iraq. Rise in crude prices coupled with weak monsoon can spell trouble for India. WPI for May came in about 6% - five month high due to higher food and fuel costs.

Tuesday - Sensex up by 1.3%, Nifty up by 1.3%, Midcap up by 1.3%
While rising oil prices has put Indian finance ministry in a difficult position, such is not the case with oil and gas companies. Indian upstream sector gained as investors lapped up shares on expectations of margin expansion. Sentiment on the street remained positive with investors buying in every decline.

Wednesday - Sensex down by 1.1%, Nifty down by 1.0%, Midcap down by 0.9%
Rising crude prices seems to make everybody apart from upstream companies very nervous. Sensex and Nifty slumped again as rising crude prices raised concerns about higher inflation and govt.’s finances. Rising crude prices have also hushed the chatter about interest rate cuts.

Thursday - Sensex down by 0.2%, Nifty down by 0.2%, Midcap down by 0.7%
Oil and Gas stocks slumped on concerns that India may allow higher gas prices only for incremental output from existing fields. Brent crude also hit a further high of $115 per barrel as fighting intensifies in Iraq.

Friday - Sensex down by 0.4%, Nifty down by 0.4%, Midcap down by 0.7%
Sensex and Nifty continued to trade lower as investors continued to focus on Iraq issue in short term. Market is expecting major reforms in the first budget of Modi govt. but situation in Iraq has made things little difficult with rising crude prices feeding into higher inflation and deficits.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Star Wars Yoga

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Hat tip: The Big Picture
Source: ReflectionOf.Me

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Weekly Market Commentary - June 9, 2014 - June 13, 2014

Friday slump in markets due to rising oil prices amid continued violence in Iraq may jeopardize the best laid plans of Modi govt. Not only the rising crude oil prices will have debilitating effect on subsidies, it will also let in more inflation.

All this will tie FM’s hands who wants to install some sort of fiscal tightening and do away with lot of welfare schemes. Any attempt to clamp down welfare spending during rising inflation environment may not go down well with general public.

Sensex ended this week down by 0.7% while Nifty was down by 0.5% and Midcap down by 2.8%

Monday - Sensex up by 0.7%, Nifty up by 0.9%, Midcap up by 1.1%
Sensex and Nifty continued their ride up as anticipation of reforms build up. Some rally was seen in fertilizer stocks after govt disclosed plans to raise the price of urea by at least 10%.

Tuesday - Sensex and Nifty unchanged while Midcap down by 0.5%
Indices took a breather as investors booked profits in recently rallied names. Yet, the sentiment on the street remain bullish as market heads into first budget of Narendra Modi govt in first week of July.

Wednesday - Sensex down by 0.4%, Nifty down by 0.4%, Midcap down by 1.2%
Markets snapped after touching all time highs. Investors booked profits in infrastructure and capital goods stocks which has outperformed recently. FIIs continued to show confidence in Indian equities and bought $115.2mn worth of shares on Tuesday.

Thursday - Sensex up by 0.4%, Nifty up by 0.3%, Midcap up by 0.5%
Sensex and Nifty showed some gains in anticipation of positive economic data release later in the day. A Reuters survey found economists expecting CPI easing to 8.4% in May vs. April number of 8.59%.

Friday - Sensex down by 1.4%, Nifty down by 1.4%, Midcap down by 2.6%
Rising violence in Iraq led to scare in the market with crude oil rising to its nine-month high taking a toll on Indian stocks also. Sensex and Nifty both slumped 1.4% as investors fear rise in subsidies and trade deficits if high crude oil price persists. There was a bit of positive news from the economy as industrial growth rebounded. Retail inflation also dropped to 8.4%, a three-month low - signs of an economic revival that could offset the threat of patchy summer rains.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Revealed: The world's cheapest stock markets

Source: Telegraph UK
Hat tip: Barry Ritholtz

Cape ratio - P/E ratio with a twist. Instead of using earnings over 12 months, this valuation measure takes the average earnings figure over the previous 10 years. In doing so the Cape ratio strips out short-term anomalies. 

Click on the chart for bigger version.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Weekly Market Commentary - June 2, 2014 - June 6, 2014

Another week of record highs on Indian bourses. Sensex and Nifty are moving up as bears struggle to find any negative catalyst to put a brake on upward journey.

Modi govt has taken the complete charge of New Delhi and is urgently seeking to reboot the economy. It has initiated and publicly announced its intentions to completely overhaul the existing structure of subsidies and doles and get fiscal house in order.

All eyes on budget session now; which will begin in first week of July.

Sensex ended this week up by 4.9% while Nifty was up by 4.9% and Midcap up by 8.0%

Monday - Sensex up by 1.9%, Nifty up by 1.8%, Midcap up by 2.2%
Sensex and Nifty gained as PSU banks rallied on hopes the govt will rationalize the shareholding structure by selling some of its holdings. Investors seems to have shrugged off release of another sub-5% GDP growth numbers as they keenly await RBI’s policy review meeting on Tuesday.

Tuesday - Sensex up by 0.7%, Nifty up by 0.7%, Midcap up by 0.9%
Key benchmark indices gained as RBI held rates steady and toned down its hawkish stance hinting at a rate cut in coming review meeting. RBI also allowed more funds into the system for lending by cutting down on SLR by 50bps. Sugar stocks rallied on expectations that govt might push blending ethanol in petrol and increase the import duty to support local prices.

Wednesday - Sensex down by 0.2%, Nifty down by 0.2%, Midcap up by 1.6%
Sensex and Nifty retreated from their record closing highs as IT companies fell on concerns of stronger rupee. Rupee has gained around 4% so far this year and is among the best performers among the Asian currencies. Fertilizer stocks rallied on hopes that the govt will soon clear outstanding subsidy payments. Insurance companies also some rally on the expectations that govt will raise FDI limit to 49% from 26%.

Thursday - Sensex up by 0.9%, Nifty up by 1.0%, Midcap up by 1.4%
Sensex and Nifty made another record closing high as resource stocks led by Sesa Sterlite gained on positive momentum based on revival of Indian economy.

Friday - Sensex up by 1.5%, Nifty up by 1.5%, Midcap up by 1.7%
Another day of record close high of both Sensex and Nifty. Investors continued to stay bullish over the policy reforms (about to be) initiated by govt. FIIs continue to invest heavily in Indian markets with total purchase so far being $8.3bn this year.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Madhav Marbles - Part II

"I just wait until there is money lying in the corner, and all I have to do is go over there and pick it up. I do nothing in the meantime." - Jim Rogers in Street Smart

There is no doubt that Jim Rogers is one of the best minds on investing we know as of today. He has authored several books sharing his investment philosophy with millions of readers worldwide. He is there on top of my people-whose-advice-I-follow list, right on top with Warren Buffet and Seth Klarman.

What Jim Rogers is essentially saying is what Warren calls "waiting for a sweet pitch" or time "when you can buy a dollar for forty cents". Seth has elaborated on this concept in his book Margin of Safety. He advices his readers to be patient and wait when Mr. Market throws you a deal too hard to resist. And when it does, you go all in.

"The greater the undervaluation, the greater the margin of safety to investors" - Seth Klarman

I intended to write just an update to my earlier blog post on Madhav Marbles. I attribute this pick (too early?) to Peter Cundill's successful strategy of balance sheet investing and ideas and teachings of legendary investors mentioned above.

Mr. Market in its all glory and excitement sometimes throws up a company which is trading way below its liquidation value. You can easily buy the company, sell off the assets at a discount, pay off all the liabilities in full and still have lot of cash to spare.

Madhav Marbles is one such stock in my view. A stock that is so clearly undervalued in the current market - it is neat money just lying there in the corner to be picked up.

I am attaching the updated tables for FY14 results for my readers to see. It is obvious that the stock - though has gained 50% in last four months, is still trading below its liquidation value.

You can read the first part of the post here: Madhav Marbles - Value Buy or Value Trap

Disclaimer: Invest at your own risk, you can lose money on a misprint :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Weekly Market Commentary - May 26, 2014 - May 30, 2014

Elections are over. New govt is in place. The country is in midst of (sort of) growth crisis. Time has come for govt to roll up its sleeve.

Asia’s third largest economy grew 4.7% in FY14 vs. estimated 4.9% - second quarter of sub 5% growth. It is estimated that projects worth $105.1bn were shelved last year due to bureaucratic gridlock - highest in the past 18 years. Stressed loans in India amounted to $100bn or about 10% of all loans when debt-equity ratio of Indian firms has hit a two-decade high of 97.9%, according to Nomura.

Add to the mix, slowing global economy that is hemming in the country's exports growth and prospects of bleak monsoon, which might fire up the inflation fury. All these would lead to central bank staying hawkish on interest rates.

Sensex ended this week down by 1.9% while Nifty was down by 1.9% and Midcap down by 3.0%

Monday - Sensex up by 0.1%, Nifty down by 0.1%, Midcap down by 2.0%
Investors booked profits as BSE Sensex and CNX Nifty, two key benchmark indices loses steam. Midcaps declined by 2% after gaining more than 10% previous week. Recovery hopes from Modi govt have kept markets at elevated levels in recent weeks. Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy gained after court lifted a temporary stay on their merger.

Tuesday - Sensex down by 0.7%, Nifty down by 0.6%, Midcap down by 1.0%
Markets continue to tumble as investors continued to book some profits and turned cautious as they wait for new policies to be announced and implemented from PMO. Newly appointed finance minister Arun Jaitley assured investors of stable policy environment.

Wednesday - Sensex flat, Nifty up by 0.2%, Midcap up by 0.6%
Sensex ended the day flat while Nifty went up slightly as some value buying occurred on bourses after recent correction. Shipping corp surged 14% after company reported first net profit after Sept 2012 quarter as bulk shipping and liner businesses improved. ICRA also jumped 18% after Moody’s raised offer price to Rs. 2,400/share from Rs. 2, 000/share.

Thursday - Sensex down by 1.3%, Nifty down by 1.3%, Midcap down by 0.9%
Sensex and Nifty posted their biggest decline in nearly four months on the day of derivative expiry. This goes on to indicate that Modi euphoria might be showing sign of ebbing and investors will focus on actual deliverance now. Losses in blue chips were led by Infosys, which fell by 8% after it saw exit of another top management official from the company.

Friday - Sensex down by 0.1%, Nifty down by 0.1%, Midcap up by 0.3%
Investors continued to stay low as election rally loses momentum. Sensex and Nifty ended the week in red marking the first weekly fall over last one month.