Assembly election results for three key states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan — threw a big surprise for D-Street with BJP losing all three states. However, bigger surprise was the rally seen after the results were out.
Most experts, who Moneycontrol spoke to before the results were announced, were of the view that if BJP closes with 0-3 tally, there would be a high probability that Nifty would head towards 10,100-levels. However, a three-day rally actually put the index above 10,700.
The only setback on December 11 morning for market was resignation of Urijit Patel that was announced an evening before. While he cited personal reasons for the decision, but it comes in the backdrop of the RBI-government differences over several issues. The announcement induces volatility on D-Street for some time.
Though, appointment of Shaktikanta Das as the new governor calmed nerves, and emergence of one single party with a clear majority boosted sentiment eventually pushing Sensex by about 1,000 points in just three trading sessions.
The journey from here on could be a rocky one as domestic and foreign investors will shift their focus to General Elections scheduled for May 2019. The outcome of the 2019 elections will determine the policy direction for next 5 years.
Well, a 0-3 score of BJP is not a positive sign but history suggested that investors vote differently in assembly elections and Lok Sabha elections.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is no direct co-relation between the outcome of these ‘semi-final’ state polls and the Lok Sabha polls (2004, 2009 and 2014 election results point toward the same).
But, what does this tell about the investment strategy? Investors should not put too much focus on the assembly election results and use dips to get into fundamentally strong stocks, and at the same time, reduce their beta play in the portfolio to safeguard from volatility.
“Going forward, the hangover of state election results will recede, we expect the focus to revert to fundamentals, albeit with continued elevated volatility. Overall, macros have eased out for India in the last two months with the correction in crude oil prices,” Motilal Oswal said in a report.
“From an earnings perspective, we expect domestic cyclical driven by financials to drive earnings in 2HFY19, taking over from global cyclical which were driving earnings growth lately,” it said.
The domestic brokerage firm further added that their portfolio construction is biased towards largecaps and also stocks with strong earnings visibility, resilient to macro risks and reasonable valuations. Key stocks are ICICI Bank, HDFC, SBI, Maruti Suzuki, HUL, Titan Company, Infosys, L&T, RBL Bank, TeamLease, IGL, Indian Hotels, M&M Financial Services.
Key risk for markets would be if the domestic equity investors, who started to invest on the back of Modi's win in May 2014, start to reduce new investments, highlights CLSA in a note.
Also, an analysis conducted by the global investment bank highlights competitive populism by the BJP and the Congress, with farm loan waivers, unemployment grants, and farmer handouts. This is good for consumption, but bad for a capex cycle recovery.
Both BJP and Congress had promised farm-loan waivers of up to Rs 2,00,000 per farmer in the states that just went to polls. In addition, Congress had promised pensions and loan subsidies/removal of GST on agricultural equipment to farmers.
“This sets the tone for poll promises ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Implementation of such poll promises would reduce the government’s fund availability for infrastructure even as the private sector is yet to step up infrastructure investments,” added the CLSA note.
The global investment bank added that consumption plays, particularly rural ones, should benefit from such handouts. The related top ideas are M&M, Colgate Palmolive India, Crompton Consumer, ITC, TTK Prestige, Zee Entertainment, Eicher Motors and Maruti Suzuki.
Policy making will be important to chart the course for markets in 2019, feel experts. As soon as the political noise will go down, chatter about growth and earnings will pick up. One key pain point highlighted in assembly elections was the rural distress. Hence, there could be an enhanced focus on the rural and agricultural economy.
Strategists at Morgan Stanley feel that the political cycle (measured as policy certainty) is likely to turn down, growth is likely move higher, and credit growth seems to be at the beginning of a new cycle. They also believe terms of trade are improving, rates are in a bit of a pause before continuing their rise, and profit margins appear to be at the start of a new up cycle.
Morgan Stanley continues to back growth at a reasonable price and believes the way to construct portfolio is to buy stocks of companies with the highest delta in return on capital.
They expect market performance to broaden and hence also like midcaps where the forward growth is not reflecting share price performance.
Ridham Desai and Sheela Rathi highlighted key themes in Morgan Stanley portfolio, wherein they prefer 8 growth stocks — Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, ITC, Prestige Estates, Asian Paints, Titan Company, M&M Financial and Bajaj Auto.
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