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Top 7 stocks with upgraded ratings to buy in March, could return 7-29%

The Nifty Midcap and Smallcap indices rallied nearly 7 percent and 10 percent in March, and since February 19, both indices surged 11 percent and 15 percent respectively.

March 16, 2019 / 08:29 AM IST
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The spectacular rally for almost a month, after consolidation for over three months, was quite fascinating for investors as well as traders. The two most important things that mesmerized everyone were solid catch up in midcaps & smallcaps, and gush of liquidity from foreign institutional investors (FIIs).

Experts attributed this rally in hope of a stable government at Centre, likely rate cut on benign crude oil prices and retail inflation, and easing US-China trade and Brexit tensions.

The Nifty50 climbed nearly 8 percent since February 19 and over 5 percent in March, while the broader markets strongly outperformed frontliners.

The Nifty Midcap and Smallcap indices rallied nearly 7 percent and 10 percent in March, and since February 19, both indices surged 11 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

"During past fortnight, Indian markets have enjoyed one of the best stretches in the recent memory. FII inflows have crossed Rs 30,000 crore in February-March '19 till date resulting in a flood of inflows after 2018 drought," Jagannadham Thunuguntla, Senior VP and Head of Research (Wealth) at Centrum Broking told Moneycontrol.


He said most heartening aspect of the current rally is that it is quite broad-based across the sectors, but investors should be careful in stocks election as it's very easy to get carried away when the momentum is so strong.

The major reason for this rally in broader space was attractive valuations and likely strong earnings growth in FY20. Hence, a lot of stocks saw upgrade rating from brokerages in March.

Here are seven top stocks which saw upgrade from brokerages in March:

Brokerage: CLSA

DLF: Upgraded to Buy | Raised Price Target to Rs 229 | Return: 16%

After adding debt at a Rs 800-1,000 crore per quarter pace for 4+ years, DLF's consecutive quarters of flat debt trend on breakeven cashflows marks a long lasting turn, in our view.

The rental business, with private equity support, is set to deliver double-digit compounding over the long term, crossing $0.5 billion lease income by FY21.

The development business would stay high value focussed as low debt helps it adopt a low-risk, land-bank mining path. DLF has done well to deliver on project commitments making it among the very few survivors in the large NCR market. We upgrade DLF from sell to buy with a revised target price of Rs 229 from Rs 167.

Brokerage: HSBC

Info Edge India: Upgraded to Buy | Raised Price Target to Rs 1,978 | Return: 7%

Recruitment is driving growth after a temporary slowdown, delivering cash that is going into other investments.

Property tech is close to break-even, the food platform has been transformed, and the value of both continues to increase.

Given that all the major segments of the business (Naukri, 99acres, Zomato) have seen marked improvement or changes over the last year and a half, we are upgrading Info Edge to buy from reduce with a DCF-based sum-of-the-parts target price of Rs 1,978 (earlier Rs 923) post changes to estimates based on the last 3-4 quarters' performance and changes in the business models of the invested companies.

Brokerage: Edelweiss Securities

Finolex Cables: Upgraded to Buy | Target: Rs 550 | Return: 14%

We met Deepak Chhabria, Executive Chairman of Finolex Cables (FCL), and came back positive on its business prospects.

Key highlights: a) Growth prospects for electrical cables are charging up with normalisation of key markets (south India) and management focus showing up in recent growth numbers. b) FCL continues to streamline the distribution/retail franchise and is focusing on improving product availability.

Capacity expansion (Rs 200 crore) in electrical/ communication cables is underway with an eye on medium-term growth. On balance, the business franchise remains strong given FCL's superior cash/return profile to peers.

Building on better growth assumptions for the core electrical cables, we are raising FY20/21E earnings by 4/6 percent. We are also upgrading the stock from hold to buy with a target price of Rs 550 (at 20x June 2020E EPS versus 16x, a 25 percent premium to five-year average PE), and believe the correction (25 percent in six months) offers reasonable value.

Brokerage: Motilal Oswal

United Spirits: Upgraded to Buy | Target: Rs 700 | Return: 20%

After its underperformance over the last one and a half years, United Spirits is now trading at an around 25 percent discount to United Breweries and at 10 percent discount to its consumer sector peers (38.5x FY20 EPS), despite no deterioration in its structural earnings growth trajectory.

United Spirits' premiumisation trend remains strong; its costs saving initiatives are in progress and raw material costs despite spiking a bit recently, remain at low levels compared to a historical average.

Its debt reduction trend still has plenty of steam left, unlike United Breweries, where the capex cycle is expected to pick up now.

United Spirits offers better earnings growth opportunity over the next two years (34 percent CAGR over FY19E-FY21E) with a strong return on equity expansion as well. Our DCF-based target price is Rs 700. We, therefore, changed our recommendation for United Spirits from neutral to buy.

Brokerage: Goldman Sachs

TCS: Upgraded to Buy | Target: Rs 2,359 | Return: 16%

We upgraded TCS to buy from neutral and also raised price target to Rs 2,359 from Rs 1,856 earlier after raising dollar revenue growth forecast in FY18-21 to 10.3 percent versus 8.9 percent, previously.

We expect TCS to outperform Infosys in terms of EPS growth and ROE/ROIC. Domain expertise will help clients digitise.

Brokerage: Nomura

Gujarat Pipavav Port: Upgraded to Buy | Target: Rs 100 | Return: 8%

GPPV's share price has declined around 14 percent YTD, while the Nifty has remained flat. A key reason for the decline, in our view, has been the loss of market share to Mundra Port over the last several quarters and rising transshipment volumes for containers, which has hit EBITDA margins.

Further, there are investor concerns on the concession renewal of Pipavav Port, which is due to expire in September 2028. However, we turn positive on the stock, as Pipavav port connection to Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) in Q3FY20 could lead to volume growth in FY21.

We expect EBITDA margins to recover by FY21 on volume growth. We cut our EPS estimates for FY19-20F by 34-35 percent to account for the near-term weakness, and introduce FY21F estimates. We continue to value GPPV on DCF to arrive at our target price of Rs 100; hence, we upgrade to buy.

Key risks are a delay in connection to WDFC and any further loss in market share on the West Coast.

Brokerage: Anand Rathi

Vesuvius India: Upgraded to Buy | Target: Rs 1,601 | Return: 29%

With major steel manufacturers (Tata Steel, SAIL, JSW Steel) planning to add capacity, demand for refractories is likely to rise in the next 2-3 years. On a pick-up in exports and a further around 16 percent demand due to added capacity, we expect healthy around 13.4 percent revenue CAGR over CY18-20.

Annual contracts are expected to be renewed at higher realisations to pass on the rise in commodity prices. This would add to profitability as a whole, and lead to around 26 percent earnings CAGR over CY18-20.

With the heightened prospects of revenue and better margins, we upgrade recommendation to a buy, with a target price of Rs 1,601 (22x CY20 earnings).

Disclaimer: The above report is compiled from information available on public platforms. Moneycontrol advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.
Sunil Shankar Matkar

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