Learning from the latest market decline

Long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror This phrase is attributed to many different people said to be describing many different professions. From driving big-rig trucks, flying aircraft to modern warfare. And of course, it has since been co-opted by the investment profession and by the best investors, as a metaphor for the vagaries of the market. Personally, I think it’s a bit dramatic comparing warfare with the buying and selling of stocks. True to form, financial media in the US announced 5th Feb 2018 was “the worst point decline in history“. Phrased like that you can’t help

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The complete list of 2018 stock recommendations

When I started investing in equities, I used to be in awe of equity research reports. Immaculately formatted 5-page documents with their glossy charts and tables of financial projections followed by a confident Buy / Sell / Hold recommendation based on a precise target price. I figured those target prices were arrived at by hardcore sector experts working with proprietary excel models of such complexity they would probably crash any computer with conventional specifications. That awe lasted until I realized the “models” in use might as well have been random number generators due to their sensitivity to assumptions about an unknowable

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Five charts that should worry Indian equity investors in 2018

1. India among three most expensive markets in the world Souce: starcapital.de “Between 1979 and 2015 we observed an average Shiller-CAPE of 18.3 and an average price-to-book (PB) of 1.8 in 17 MSCI country indices. Based on the assumption that these average valuation levels approximately represent a fair valuation level, Southern Europe, and Emerging Markets are attractive whereas the US stock market significantly trades above its fair value.” The United States, Switzerland, and India stand out as the most expensive markets in the world at the moment when considered on Shiller CAPE (Cyclically Adjusted Price-Earnings) and Price-Book metrics. However, my

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Brace for negative returns in 2018

Predicting stock markets is a futile exercise. You only need to compare historical predictions versus actual market movements to come to this conclusion. When bulge bracket investment banks and powerhouse economists with their multi-factor models of staggering complexity get them wrong more often than right, should the rest of us even bother trying to predict markets? No, we shouldn’t. At least not to time entries and exits. In preparing for battle, I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable – Dwight Eisenhower Replace “plans” with forecasts, “planning” with forecasting, and “indispensable” with “mildly useful”, and that’s how

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NIFTY versus the Sectors

Market correction: “When” not “If”? We’ve all been bracing for it for a while now. At Price-Earnings of 25+, NIFTY PE is now two full standard deviations above its median value of 19, that suggests or rather shouts “correction coming!”. Simply put, we’re paying ₹25 for each ₹ of Earnings from the 50 companies in the NIFTY. Put it another way, if earnings of NIFTY companies stay at the current level, and if they pay out 100% of their earnings to shareholders, it will take 25 years to recover your investment. You’re thinking that makes no sense. Even the median value implies 19

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India’s true sunshine sector

As of this writing, the NIFTY is trading slightly below its lifetime high of 10,477 points, nearly doubling from 5,517 in early September 2013. In the same period, NIFTY Price-Earnings has risen from about 16 to over 26, a zone considered to be significantly over-valued compared to median values. Price multiples expansion typically accompanies improving prospects for earnings growth in times of general optimism. The problem, for India, has been the lack of translation of that optimism into earnings growth. While the NIFTY (Price) has risen by 17% annually for the last four years, NIFTY Earnings Per Share (EPS) has

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What if you were the world’s unluckiest investor?

[This post was inspired by Ben Carlson’s post: What if you only invested at market peaks?link on his fantastic blog ‘A wealth of common sense’. Highly recommend following Ben on twitter @awealthofcs] What would your returns look like if you were the world’s unluckiest investor? Fairly early, you decided you would diligently invest a fixed amount in Indian equities every year. You would even increase the amount invested year-on-year in line with your increase in income. However, you spend most of your year on remote oil rigs in the middle of the ocean or mines out in the hinterland, with no opportunity

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Difference between ROCE and ROIC and does it matter

Financial metrics and investment quality Deciphering financial ratios can be daunting for investors looking to differentiate potential investments on quality. But if you’re set on picking your own investments, then you need to be able to understand and interpret them. If there are better ways you could be spending your time, then leave it a mutual fund manager in spite of its drawbacks or even just buy a low-cost index tracker, which tends to beat most active investors anyway. When it comes to financial metrics, it’s important to understand the spirit more than the letter of the metric, i.e. what the

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