Review Your Portfolio Before Investment Decisions In A Bear Market

Vinay’s portfolio has taken quite a beating. He had purchased YES Bank at a price of around Rs. 450 per share about 8-9 months back. Today the share is hovering around Rs. 168. Sintex Plastics, which he had purchased in December 2017, has lost about 60% of its value. His portfolios largely comprised of midcap stocks, have lost 40-60% value from their peak. His stock portfolio was doing very well at one point, based on which he significantly increased his investments into stocks. Now, he is unsure as to what to do. Should he buy more of the stocks that he has so that his costs can be averaged?

The stock market has seen quite a few crashes this year. It is highly volatile these days and in a bear phase. The mid and small cap indices lost between 25-35% in a short period. In a bear market, confidence is low and stock prices are not rangebound. They can swing wildly.

In case you are in such a dilemma, here are some action points to bear in mind before making a random or emotional decision –

Review and Adjust Your Portfolio

Its ideal to book profits on your portfolio and hold some cash for deployment on market falls.  You may still want to review the stocks and equity mutual funds in your portfolio so as to remove the duds. You might want to let go of the duds in your portfolio by taking advantage of bear market rallies.

If you have stocks that were bought because of tips, recommendations or just to make quick profits, review them and sell off those that do not seem to have the potential for giving good returns in the long run.  Look to buy good stocks that can gain strongly on a market recovery.

Avoid Panic Selling

Some of us panic and sell off stocks the moment we see that they are losing value. That may not be the best course of action for all stocks. It is not a good idea to exit quality stocks with a good long-term record and good cash flow, , especially at points when they have fallen sharply and their valuations become attractive again.

Don’t Miss Out On Buying Low

Averaging is a smart investment strategy, especially for diversified mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Systematic Transfer Plans are good to supplement your SIPs when markets have fallen; and you are unable to predict the bottom of markets, but you know it is somewhere around the corner.

Most investors become too fearful on large market falls and miss out the opportunity of buying stocks at their best prices.  Keep in mind that the news flow is likely to very negative at such points.  At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of getting in too early. You can add more of blue chip stocks, high quality funds and ETFs when the prices are down.

Be Practical

If you don’t have the time or find it difficult to track individual stock and the market environment, stick to mutual funds. Seek professional advice if required.  Understand your portfolio, risk tolerance and risk capacity, so that you do not make any hasty decisions that you might regret later on. Work on a disciplined investment style that suits you.

It is difficult to time the market. So investors have to be patient and keep the right investment perspective before making decisions.

In the current market scenario, the prices have fallen quite a bit. It may be time to take some positions slowly. For example, one can invest in blue chip equity funds such as Mirae India Equity and Aditya Birla Sunlife Frontline funds in a phased manner, especially on corrections. One can use a combination of lump sum investment and SIPs to average the costs. When the markets move upward, they can sell off some positions and use that money to invest in debt instruments.

Key Takeaways

    • Understand your risk tolerance; Use an investment style that suits you
    • When markets are volatile, review your portfolio and sell off the bad quality stocks
    • Don’t Panic . Take advantage of market volatility
    • Stay Invested for the long term in fundamentally good stocks, mutual funds and ETFs. Increase allocations on lareger market falls.

Market: 2k18 “The year gone by”..

2018 was one of the most difficult year for investors as benchmark Nifty gave only 3.2% whereas broader markets like Mid cap and Small caps where down by 15.3% and 23.6% each  respectively. Only Bankex, FMCG and IT are closed on a positive note, while rest all indices closed lower. The markets also witnessed major events like NPA clean-up, NBFC re-financing issues, RBI Governor exit, that could fundamentally change the structure of the economy. It is however important to highlight that the government proactively acted on the above issues.

Where do we stand today:

Data throws up a mixed bag when we look at valuations and compare it with December 2007, closer to the previous market peak.  On Price/Earnings for Nifty 50, we are valued similar to the last peak at 26.6 in Dec 07 Vs 26.4 in Dec 18, but when we look at other valuation parameters like Market Cap/GDP, we are much lower.

As pointed by Warren Buffett, the percentage of total market cap (TMC) relative to the US GNP is “probably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.”

//(GDP & GNP Definition and the difference

GDP is the total market value of goods and services produced within the borders of a country.

GNP is the total market value of goods and services produced by the residents of a country, even if they’re living abroad. So, if a U.S. resident earns money from an investment overseas, that value would be included in GNP (but not GDP).

Further, markets have steep falls when they run up significantly and the economy is overheated.  Despite the fact that markets have moved up over the last couple of years, this is much muted compared to what you normally see in a bull market.  Economic parameters are also muted.

Various Indicators- Current Vs Dec 07

US Markets take a tumble

US markets have seen a large correction since October 2018 with the DowJones was down by 18.8% before recovering some of the losses. Though the US markets have been one of the best performers, we are relatively bearish on US stocks vis-à-vis Indian stocks. In the case of the US, both market and economic performances have been strong over the past few years and we believe US stocks/ESOPs could be impacted over the next year.