May 25, 2014

Market Update- 25/5/2014

The past few months have been action packed for the markets. There is optimism and increased risk-appetite as reflected in the all-time highs of both the Sensex & Nifty. The resounding mandate given to the new Government has brought back confidence and there is a general belief that the country should get back on track. Stock market indices are making headlines and there is increased retail interest in the market (albeit still very small participation levels). However, we would advice a healthy dose of skepticism, especially when the over-all mood has turned so positively bullish.

This is not to say that the equity markets cannot/ will not move higher. There is a good chance of the same given the over-all positive outlook. Market valuations are about future perceptions after-all (with reality kicking in only much later!). We would still recommend an allocation to equities. However, investors should maintain their risk-profiles and allocate only within the same. Valuations have stretched beyond all-time averages and the investor should keep this in mind while allocating to equities.

Technically the market is in a strong bull rally. The indices are all in the bull zone. The Simple Moving Day Averages are all comfortably in the ascendant order. We have been riding the upper end of the Bollinger band for some time now. The median Bollinger is at 6935 for the Nifty which is some distance from where the index presently is. Technically we should expect some sort of consolidation. But, with the market momentum and the political stories playing out it will be difficult to predict the short term.

The momentum indicators are also in the over-bought zone. It is difficult to see a correction with the macro story as it is. What we should expect is some sort of consolidation in the markets going forward. It will be interesting to watch the derivatives expiry for the month on Thursday as it will give us an indication as to which side the big money is betting on.

On to fundamentals now- the political risk in the market has obviously reduced. On other factors not much has changed and one will need to wait & watch as what to policy measures are actually announced and implemented.

It is still early days to predict which sectors will do well. Many investors & Wealth Managers seem to be trying to pick out the sectors that will give them “Alpha” in their portfolio (Sector investing seems to be the flavor right now!). Investors & advisors should understand that playing sectors is a technical call and the timing of entry and exit needs to be spot on to generate Alpha.  We will generally avoid taking technical calls as we find we are not the experts in timing the market. Our advice themes will continue to be broad and macro.

In debt- we expect that the interest rates will continue to remain elevated. The RBI will be closely watching the onset of the monsoon. The new governor has clearly indicated that his primary concern is fighting inflation. With the supply-side bottle necks in the economy it will be difficult to reduce rates in a jiffy. What we should expect is rates to remain as they are for the next 6-12 months with a 50 basis points swing on either side. Investors with the risk appetite could look to add duration in their portfolios. With strong FII inflows the RBI will not need to keep rates high to attract capital. The upside risk from here on (as per broad macro plays) is therefore restricted. Crude oil has also largely been stable at around $110 to the barrel and should not give the RBI any worries in the near term.

Gold has definitely lost its sheen with this writer wondering if he should continue covering the metal in his updates. We believe that it is important to keep track of the metal as it is an important indicator of the health of the global economy. The metal seems to have found some support at the $1150-$1200 range in the international markets. In India gold seems to be trading at close to Rs 28,500 for 10 gms. We expect that it will remain at around these levels for the short-medium term.

The dollar has been weakening to the Indian rupee. The RBI is expected to buy dollars at 58. We should see the Rupee settle in the region 58-59 for the short to medium term.

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