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D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Accept short term pain

Posted by Muthu on February 14, 2016

Markets falling heavily during recent times would not have escaped your attention. This news is part of main stream media as well. I’m happy and grateful that you are all calm and staying the course.

Indian economy is in a better shape than it was few years ago. We’ve an excellent political leadership which is working for the betterment of the country. We’ve a visionary RBI governor who is in the process of cleaning and reforming our banking system.

The fall in the recent times is more of due to global scenario. India, though doing well, is impacted by fund outflow due to selling by FIIs. This may continue for some more time.

Lower crude prices and fall in other commodity prices is a blessing for India. If it continues so, we would be able to build our infrastructure at lesser cost.

Government and RBI are working in such a way that there would be short term pain but long term gain for the economy. The results of the reforms would be higher growth rate in the years to come. I would not be surprised if we are able to grow at 9% in the years to come.

The structural changes happening in the economy and banking system would pave way for many years of high growth.

Stock prices are slave to earnings. Earnings growth was expected to pick up this year and is getting delayed. Many opine that, in next financial year, due to lower base, we should expect an earnings growth of 15%. Once earnings pick up, markets would be able to sustain itself and grow. It’s earnings growth which makes or breaks equity.

For the reforms and infrastructure development carried out been 1999 to 2003, we saw an extreme high growth of earnings from 2003 to 2008. We may expect a similar high growth trajectory in next few years.

Modi and Rajan are working for a fundamental and structural change in the economy and banking system. You would have seen PSU banks declaring huge losses due to cleaning up of books.

When government and RBI wants to go through short term pain for long term gain, we the investors should also develop a similar attitude.

During bear markets, we get more units for the monthly investments we make through SIPs. As we always say, in stock markets, the ups are permanent and declines are temporary.

We would continue to make new highs in the coming years and decades, as the earnings keep going up. As I always say equity is for you only if you have faith in the future.

Despite some temporary setbacks, I’ve every reason to believe the Indian economy and corporate India would be in upward trajectory for next few decades. If that is the case, the markets cannot be far behind.

Avoid financial media, don’t look at portfolio and just stay the course. You would do very well over next few years.

Accept short term pain for long term gain.

Posted in Economy, General, Stock Market | 1 Comment »

If it takes time

Posted by Muthu on January 25, 2016

In the long run, growth in stock markets would be on par with earnings growth of underlying companies.

Markets would deliver only what corporate India can deliver.

Our earnings growth currently is not worth mentioning. It is expected to pick up in a year or two.

In the short run, markets can be ahead of or behind earnings. So it is difficult for anyone to predict whether markets would be up or not, in next 2 years. It can be either way.

Once earnings start going up at decent rate, we can expect the market to mirror it. Again markets are capable of both mirroring it in advance or with a time lag.

It is not possible for us to predict the timing of these. It is not required either. We are disciplined investors who invest regularly across business and market cycles.

The present government is taking many right steps which should start reflecting on the ground in one to two years.

Though I do not know how the markets would be for next 2 years, I would suggest you to keep the expectations low.

If markets perform well despite our lack of expectation, it is well and good.

If it takes time to start performing, let us utilize the opportunity to acquire more units every month at lower price.

The long term future of this country is good. There are many peaks which we would be scaling in the years and decades to come.

At the same time, we’ll continue to go through business and market cycles. No asset class can escape cycles. People who thought real estate and gold are exception to the cycles, now realise it is not so.

Remember in a long term growth story like India, declines are temporary and uptrend is permanent. The units we acquire in each decline multiply our wealth in next peak. As I said above, we would be scaling many new peaks in the coming years and decades.

All you need to do is to continue to stay the course.

So please continue to stay the course with no near term expectations.

As I always repeat, avoid the bad habit of looking at the portfolio regularly. This is true for any market more so for bad markets like these.

Completely avoid financial media. It would do you more harm than good.

Posted in Economy, Stock Market | 2 Comments »

Understanding real returns

Posted by Muthu on January 17, 2016

Anand Radhakrishnan, CIO- Equities, Franklin Templeton mutual fund said the following in a panel discussion:

“Secondly, Sir John Templeton said focus on post-tax real returns. In India we focus a lot on nominal returns. If RBI is indeed successful in its inflation objective of 4%+ or -2% and the world is anyway reeling under zero inflation or a deflationary circumstance, it is quite alright to have lower expectations on nominal returns. If the economy is growing at 5%, 6% or 7% and then inflation is at 4% or even less, return expectations are still pretty high when investors walk into equity funds.

Focus on real post-tax returns, which is I think is going to be very different over the next five years than it was in the last five. Not in terms of real returns, but in terms of nominal returns.”

We’ve seen how Sensex has delivered around 17% over last 3.5 decades and CRISIL AMFI equity fund index delivering around 22% in last 18 years.

As you are aware, our long term nominal growth has been around 15%. This includes a real growth rate of 7% and an inflation rate of 8%.

In the long run, let us assume we would grow at 8%. Let us also assume the inflation would settle down at 4%. If this is the case, the nominal growth rate would settle around 12%.

When the nominal growth rate of the economy falls, the nominal growth rate of equity also falls. So instead of 18%, we may need to tone down our expectations to 15%.

But real growth rate, which is what relevant to us, would remain the same or marginally inch up higher; as real growth component increases and inflation reduces in the nominal growth.

If you notice, MIPs over the long run have delivered around 2% more than fixed deposits. As FD rates fall, the nominal returns from MIPs also would fall. But it would still deliver around 2% more than FDs due to active debt management and equity kicker.

So nominal growth rate is not static. It depends on real GDP growth rate and inflation. We may need to adjust our expectations in line with nominal growth rate. But the real growth rate would remain the same.

Nominal growth need not only go down. It can go up as well. It is a function of what is the real GDP growth rate and inflation.

Learn to accept the following returns from asset classes over long run:

Fixed Deposits: Inflation + 1%

Gold: Inflation + 1.5%

Real Estate: Inflation + 3% to 5%

Equity: Inflation + 7% to 9%

Actively managed fund would deliver couple of percentages more than index.

So if inflation is 4%, markets may deliver around 13% and equity funds would deliver around 15%.

Likewise, for an inflation of 4%, FDs may deliver around 5% and MIPs around 7%.

Please note that none of the above is guaranteed returns but only used as an illustration to explain the relationship between inflation, nominal growth rate and various asset class returns.

So start focusing on real returns, this is what matters to you as an investor.

Posted in Basics, Economy, Mutual Funds, Stock Market | 2 Comments »

Right direction

Posted by Muthu on September 30, 2015

As you are aware, we’ve always been very bullish on the future of India.

We were growing despite not having a good leadership.

We now have an able and effective leadership as well.

According to FT data service, in the first half of 2015, India has become the number one FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) destination in the world.

According to World Economic Forum, in global competitive ranking, we have moved 16 places from 71 to occupy the 55th position.

Steep fall in global commodity (including crude) prices has put us in a sweet spot.

We have a great central bank governor. He was the key in pulling us out of 2013 crisis. Though rupee has fallen to dollar during the last 2 years, it has gained across every other world currency. Not only that when other emerging market currencies faced a rout against dollar, our fall was very less.

Rajan has been focusing on’ killing the inflation forever’. From double digits two years ago, CPI inflation is expected to stabilise at 5.8% in January 2016 and at 5% in March 2017.

Interest rates have been falling and are expected to fall further in the medium term. It would not be a surprise if we become a low inflation and low interest rate economy.

FD rates are around 7.5% and may fall even to 6% in next 2 years in line with above.

Small savings interest rates also would start coming down.

Equities tend to do very well in the falling interest rate scenario. Debt oriented funds like MIPs also would do well over next 3 years.

Prime Minister wants us to focus on becoming a $20 trillion economy from the current $2 trillion. I’m confident that this would happen over next 2 decades.

Our GDP per capita is a meagre $1600. Even China’s per capita and GDP is 5 times that of ours.

We are growing from a very low base and hence would grow at a higher rate for next 2 decades to come. If one can have right temperament, be patient and stay the course; investing in Indian equities is a no brainer.

Equities would deliver phenomenal returns in the decades to come and we are moving in the right direction.

All that is needed is participation in the journey and staying the course.

Posted in Economy, General | 2 Comments »

Good years are ahead

Posted by Muthu on January 15, 2015

Wishing you and your family a very happy Pongal.

RBI has given us all a Pongal gift. It has cut repo rate by 25 basis points (0.25%).

Raghuram Rajan has been very clear that he would start cutting rates only when he is confident that inflation has permanently come under control and the government follows a good fiscal discipline.

He had a target of 6% inflation for January 2016 and is now confident that the same would be achieved and maintained. He envisages a long term inflation of 4% (+) or (-) 2%. So it would be in the range of 2% to 6%.

In the last 17 months, Rajan has done a wonderful job in bringing down the inflation under a firm control.

Rajan has also made it clear that his monetary policies would be consistent. Once he starts cutting the rate, he is likely to move only in the same direction. So we are heading for a low inflation- low interest rate regime during next few years.

As inflation is getting lowered and interest rate comes down, investment cycle in the economy would pick up. Profitability of corporate India would go up. Margin expansion will happen.

We expect a phenomenal performance in both equity and debt instruments in the years to come.

You’re all very disciplined equity investors through SIP. You’ve already started experiencing the rewards for your discipline. You may not fully realise yet what kind of rewards are awaiting you in the years and decades to come.

Other than emergency fund, we’ve been asking you to keep the FD (Fixed Deposit) money in MIPs (Monthly Income Plans). Those of you who listened to us have already been rewarded well in the last few months. For some of you who may be waiting, even now it is not late to consider MIPs. MIPs are any time product. We expect an above average performance from them in next few years.

Good years are ahead for our country, economy and markets. Increase your participation by increasing your SIPs.

Thanks to Rajan for giving such a sweet gift on Pongal.

Posted in Economy, General, Muthu's Musings | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »