The FOMO effect is catching up with the Indian retail, which is evident from the number of new DMAT accounts opened since the lockdown started, and the uptake in the daily trades, where leading discount brokers claim that they process 5m to 7m orders a day.
Where will this lead to? Looking at the international markets, we have quite a similar trend, where due to lockdown, online penetration and given options, retail does not want to miss out on this opportunity. Equity markets since June are on an upward swing, showing a V-shaped recovery, hence giving boost to the participants equity and a cascading effect on the new word-of-mouth traders 😉.
The only difference here on the FOMO effect, is the quantum of money invested, where retail participation will go from tens of thousands to few lacs, as it comes from the monthly savings and not cash-in-hand or liquid funds (unlike a HNI client). Even though returns may be way higher on the lockdown investments or even the trading, but the long-term effect will eventually rule on the final returns, i.e. 10 years from now, time will decide and average-out the returns (which is hard to digest).
Ultimately, for a retail participant, it’s not the euphoric moment or even the entry point of investments, which will dictate the high returns, but the time horizon of the investments, i.e. how long one can remain invested, and also, how often one invests (Power of SIP).
A famous quote from Warren Buffet, who turned 90 recently: “Someone’s sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
Market witnessed a phenomenal surge till the last day (Aug-20), almost at a kissing distance to the next level, i.e. 12k for Nifty & 40K for Sensex. Even though India’s daily count on COVID19 numbers is still a cause of worry, some of the indicators show a ray of hope, on the curve flattening and numbers to drop, most likely by mid or end-Sept.
The first quarter GDP data was on the expected line, i.e. our economy contracted by 23.9%, with only one sector, i.e. agriculture witnessing a growth of 3.4%. The biggest contributors on contraction were the manufacturers, services, hotel & tourism sector, as they were the worst affected due to the lockdown.
With the economy opening up (since June-20), current quarter (Q2) data is expected to be good, as GST collection as an indicator, looks promising (till now it stands at 1.8lac crores, with one month to go, against 1.85lac crores for entire Q1). Monsoon this year has been above normal, and will most likely will lead to a higher food grain yield & production, resulting in higher income for the farmers, i.e.a very good indicator on growth.
Next quarter, i.e. Oct-Nov-Dec-20 should be a bumper quarter (compared to Q1 & Q2), as all indicators should witness growth & euphoria. Biggest indicator to pull it up, will be the announcement of COVID19 Vaccine, leading to economy opening fully and consumption to return to base normal (i.e. fear to move away), leading to a “Happy Diwali”, as one of our key festive consumption seasons.
If we keep the fear & the political narrative away, and just look at the small cues or success stories, which are emerging now, (it’s a human nature, with bigger stores on focus, we miss out or ignore the smaller ones), the gloom or the dark clouds are slowly fading away.
Can I build this platform, myself? … that’s the question I asked in mid-2012, when I stepped out from the Promoter’s Boardroom, after one of the presentations. But to have the guts to leave a corporate job, without worrying about salary & cash-flow, it took me one full year to debate, prepare, and all possible groundwork, to say “yes” to myself.
Finally, with clarity on what we wanted (myself & MK), we started working on the IT specs & the Business plan, from mid-2013. But we went fully live with Team, Operations, IT and above all, our full-time involvement, from Aug-14 onwards, thereby completing 6 full years today.
Today on this occasion, let me write about my 6 great learnings, I have had on this momentous journey:
TEAM – Building a team with a corporate & building with a young company like ours, is a huge challenge. First and foremost, you may be a start-up with an entrepreneurial mind-set, but your team-mate, who is joining the company, does not fancy the same. Second, work culture plays an important role, which must have a clear role-profile on performance & reward. But at a start-up, due to multi-tasking & evolving roles, performance measures on the key areas are usually mixed, discounted, and in no time, same results into frustration. Therefore, building job clarity with the team, right from day one is a must, and same to be promoted with a culture of performance & reward.
CASHFLOW – I have always believed in positive cashflow, but somewhere this got mixed in our initial years, with our development efforts and the belief that we will cover up later with big numbers. Believe me, this never happens, also this is related with Team building above, hence our learning the hard way. It took us a while to understand, clean up & put things in order. Not just it impacts a company, but it also impacts your own personal cash-flow.
CUSTOMER – Everyone says getting customers is the toughest task, yes, I do agree, but managing a customer is still a bigger & an important task, than the entry funnel strategy. One of the key reasons for us to start & build MoneyFrog. One area, where we are ahead of the pack, and we are doing it beautifully, is managing customers. Soon we will go live on our ERP version 2.0, where customer management will be redefined, and we will create a new norm on our service levels. Our success here stems from the fact that we have a good number of new customers monthly, coming thru our referral program. Therefore, we believe, a happy customer leads to a happy company, and we are a happy company today!
ROAD Map – One should have absolute clarity on this, as to, where do you want to reach? and what is your objective? One needs a clear Goal (objective), what needs to be achieved & which can be measured with a timeline, else we are just fooling ourselves. We were clear right from the beginning, that we are not here to sell mutual funds, or to build a five click execution platform**, but to build a platform to offer solutions, which are life-long & above all, not to offer it free. Though in between, we also ventured into unchartered territories, for various reasons, but soon we realised our mistake & stepped back. (** we do sell mutual funds & built a five click execution platform, but that’s not what we want to promote)
FAMILY – When you are building a start-up with limited resources, your time & energy gets drained out, by the time you get back home. One cannot expect them to understand your plight & timeline, as you decided to leave your job & take this plunge. Therefore, one must set priorities right, as I have done my share of mismanagement in my initial years, and thankful to my wife & kids, for sailing me through.
ENJOY Your Success – However small, one should always enjoy, as this builds a culture of success stories, which eventually leads to more success. This is also true the other way round, i.e. the more you cry, more you will witness negative stories. We have been doing it in all formats off lately. Success is not just positive cashflow, big numbers, fund raising, or many likes one gets, but as simple as a call from your client, saying “thank you” and you telling the same to your entire team & family, with a “feel good factor”.
the market recovery with an 8%
growth, leading to a 28% growth over the last four months (Sensex Growth,
i.e. Apr to July 2020). If one would have invested in one of the Index
funds, post the fall (March/ April 2020), it would have yielded a
fabulous return. It reminds me of Warren Buffet’s famous quote: “We simply
attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others
But how many of us act GREEDY when others are FEARFUL?
While the economic recovery is still to show early signs, but the market has decoded and discounted the revival, based on consumption, lockdown easing, monsoon, corporate earnings & other indicators. One of the good indicators for July is the revival in vehicle production, where Maruti’s July numbers, were at par with last year’s production, and they have plans to further ramp it up, month on month.
Aug can be a month of lots of Good News, expected towards Covid19 vaccine trials, medication use-case studies, flattening of the curve with states (Mumbai & Delhi as an example), where one can expect the market to look northwards. But expect volatility to continue, due to lack of control on these data points and surge in Covid19 numbers on unexpected areas.
An international index like Nasdaq 100 and Gold, in the last four months, has given fabulous return. Nasdaq 100 includes companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, which are at the forefront of the tech revolution and have become market leaders in their respective domain. Gold needs no introduction, a safe haven during the crisis, acts as a hedging tool, having a low correlation with Indian and US market, hence makes it an attractive investment & must-have part of portfolio.
The market is on a surge since mid-June, and it seems that it may continue doing the same, unless we have some major negative event happening. Question is, what is left to happen?
COVID numbers are still on a major surge, and we are now ranked 3rd in the world, on infection count. But slowly & steadily we have realised that we have to live or co-exist with COVID, as it cannot be just wiped out. But eventually, in some time to come, either a medication or a vaccine or herd immunity will take effect.
As per today’s Economic Times, we are witnessing “Better Times” now, compared to the last three months (Apr/May/June), and hope to see same getting stronger in the coming months. Some of the good indicators:
GST collection is rising, narrowing the gap on previous years monthly collection.
Petroleum product consumption is on the rise.
The unemployment rate has fallen to 11% from a peak of 24% in April.
Power demand is rising.
Post-lockdown, automobile & 2-wheeler sales have picked up.
As per KV
Kamath, ex ICICI bank head,
“The landing will not be as hard as anticipated. Rebound is faster than what
most of us thought would be. The economy may see a shallow U-shaped recovery,”
as told to Network18 today.
But economic recovery may take a temporary backseat if state governments or local bodies are forced to impose further restrictions to curb COVID numbers.
In the last month, the market has delivered a stupendous return of around 7.5%, this is despite the geopolitical tension seen in the India – China border. The main reason behind this sharp increase was the availability of global liquidity with institutional investors, what we have seen is a coupling effect and this rise in equity was witnessed globally across the markets.
Certain companies, especially the one who are largely affected by this lockdown, are expected to defer or merge their quarterly result to soften the impact seen in top-line of Q1 strict lockdown with Q2 quarter with a partial lockdown. Some investors are concerned about market valuations due to current gains seen in the market since on earnings parameters it appears to be expensive, it is fallacious to conclude by just seeing one parameter. Investors must adhere that earnings are just a perspective like other ratios viz Price to book value and Market cap to GDP. Many other ratios still suggest the market being at an attractive valuation due to sharp correction so investors who have missed previous opportunities have not really missed the bus yet. Also, the volatility index though relatively high but has fallen drastically which indicates that the market is closer to trade at the fair market value range.
Global economy is headed for its sharpest contraction but by comparing previous historic events and market reaction, the current phase has seen lesser correction and the recovery seen is quicker since learnings from previous such events has made global leaders more competitive to react proactively and with the amount of liquidity injected into the financial system will prevent the stalling of the economy to a larger extent and the recovery expected is to be relatively quicker.
The government is also expected to announce another fiscal stimulus which will mainly address the demand issue and boost consumption and investment sentiments.
May-20 was relatively flattish for the market. The percentage difference was sub 1%, for the major benchmark index, like BSE 100, BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap. The good part is that the FII’s are back in the market. After selling close to $9.5 Billion in March-20 and April-20, they were net buyers and pumped in $1.67 Billion in the month of May-20.
The major highlight for the month was the RBI announcement, where they indicated that Indian economy will degrow, GDP will remain in negative territory for FY-21 and major part of the recovery will be seen in second half of FY-21. We believe that, the worst phase of economy is behind us and a gradual opening of lockdown will recover the wounds of complete lockdown done in the past, while the Covid19 cases may continue to see a spike, despite that, lockdown has to be eased else the economy may kill more people than Covid19 itself.
In the past 69 years, India has witnessed recession only thrice, i.e. 1958, 1966 and 1980. All three of them,were due to agricultural shock. But this time, the situation is completely other way around this year, above average monsoon at 105% is being predicted, agriculture is expected to support and offset the impact of other sectors of the economy. The worst affected industries could be Travel, Tourism, Hospitality, Aviation and Real Estate. Due to cautious travels and work from home being a new normal, these sectors can be a bigger contributor to overall fall. The sectors that can do well in these phases are Telecom, Internet services, OTT services, E-commerce.
The consumption sentiments are expected to be poor, as due to high liquidity requirement, job losses, salary cuts, all will result into only need based consumption. The shape of recovery, which was expected to be V-Shaped, now looks like a U-shape or L-shape, considering time required to bring back consumption. The Fiscal stimulus package announced, worth INR20 Lakh Crores, is expected to have a relatively lesser impact on our fiscal deficit.
From the valuation standpoint, market data suggest allocation favouring equity.
COVID crisis, one of its kind, has shaken each one of us (whatever the age
group), big time. A highly infectious deadly disease, without any cure till
date, only negative stories world-over and never-ending home lockdown. Our
elders have also not witnessed such events in their lifetime, as they are the
ones who usually guide us through in such crisis … who we fall back on
CRISIS, however big or small, does not come invited, it just lands-up, the question is; how will you handle it? Or am I prepared for it?
Here the question is, NOT how to
handle COVID? which we are doing smartly, as we have adapted, which
includes measures like, social distancing, wearing masks, frequently washing
hands & many more do’s & don’ts.
Here the question is, HOW do I
handle; Financial, Physical & Emotional challenge? which comes with this
crisis (or any crisis for that matter).
FINANCIAL Challenge: an emergency fund of cash to hedge against economic collapses, or a business/ salary loss (unemployment). Usually, 6 months to a 1 year of income/ funds are recommended.
PHYSICAL Challenge: nutrition (the food we eat), functional movement (our daily activity), and sleep to strengthen the immune system. Which also means, staying away from alcohol, junk & other bad habits.
EMOTIONAL Challenge: meditation practice, therapy, and other practices to avoid
mental breakdowns. Which also means, keep talking to friends & relatives
and avoid reading unverified negative news.
If you ask me, Crisis makes us LEARN
(& DO) things, which in our lifetime we may not even think of
achieving. All the three challenges above, we have it in our mind always, but
how many of us really end up with a checklist to say, I have all marked YES?
P.S. – Feel free to write back on
“You’ll never get the Good News and Good Price at the same Time”, a very famous saying.
More often than not, good news is always predicted well in advance, and the market factorises it in the valuation, unless it is a sudden surprise for everyone, like the recent Corporate tax cut. The same situation is with the market now.
We have not resumed normalcy yet, and it looks like we need more time for it to happen. But the market is responding positively, since overall the covid growth rate is in control, started to show signs of getting flat, and eventually to fall. From India’s perspective, the cases are mostly detected in concentrated areas, which is relatively easier to contain, than a dispersed spike occurring sporadically.
As the month of April-20 ends, we have witnessed a partial recovery from overall correction. The Sensex had corrected 39%, from it’s all-time high of 42,273, it shed off 16,635 points to settle down at 25,638. It has now gained back almost 50%, i.e. 8,523 and is now trading at 33,750.
In the last press release of RBI, the governor hinted by stating that since the inflation is in control, they will do whatever it takes to boost the economy, indirectly hinting for a further rate cut. US based weather company, has stated that this year’s monsoon, we will see 105% of average rainfall, which will further ease the inflation as it will support the crop cultivation and overall supply, during the year.
Though the partial recovery has already been taken, the complete recovery will be merit based, depending upon the quarterly earnings of the firm & overall economic recovery. From the valuation standpoint, the market although recovered, still looks attractive at this level, hence one should continue equity allocation further.
“There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen.”― Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
The above quote sums-up, what we have seen in the month of March-20. Some of the key events:
World’s largest democracy went under a total lockdown for 21 days.
Crude oil saw the sharpest fall since 1991, last time it occurred on account of Gulf-war.
Equity market crashed globally, Indian market’s benchmark Indices i.e. Sensex and Nifty, saw a steep fall of almost 40%, erasing its last 5 years gain and witnessed a recovery, to settle down at 32% down (as on 30th March 2020).
RBI announced a rate cut of 75bps, with Repo-rate at 4.4%, which is lowest since the last 20 years.
USD/ INR surpassed the 75 barriers.
All this is due to something which is not even tangible and we all seem to be talking over and reading about it. Indian population is assumed to be more vulnerable to this pandemic; as the density of population is too high & the medical infra is too low for its population, which amplifies the fear & spread. The government has taken a very defensive approach and took proactive measures to control the numbers. The first case reported in India was on 29th Jan-20, and it’s been 2 months; from a relative standpoint, we seem to be much in control with our numbers, which is around 1250 (as on 30/Mar/20). China has recovered from Covid-19 and has resumed its production and other economic activity after 2 months of lockdown. The US has yet not announced a full lockdown, and if it does, the economy and stock market may see a further slide.
However, this scenario is much relatable to a ‘V-shaped’ recovery, which describes the ‘classic’ economic shock, a displacement of output, but growth eventually rebounds, because it is an effect of some temporary external forces, that are beyond our control and the inherent economy structure otherwise was strong and in a recovery phase.
Moreover, the recent press release of Mr. Mukesh Aghi, president of US-India Strategic and Partnership forum has officially said that as many as 200 US companies are in talks with them and are interested in setting up an alternative to China by investing in India. If and when this happens, it will be a blessing in disguise for India.
From a valuation standpoint, the market looks very cheap at these levels, hence equity allocation with large-cap stocks, looks highly attractive.
Photo Credit & V-shaped insight: Harvard Business Review