Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category.


Let’s see what all has gone wrong and may get even worse –

–          Rupee has depreciated to 60/ dollar and may drop further
–          The drop in rupee is causing imports to become more expensive, which is keeping the inflation high.
–          High inflation is causing the RBI to keep interest rates high, which in turn is depressing growth rates
–          High current account deficit is causing the rupee depreciate and can also result in a balance of payment crisis (similar to 1991)
–          The government is running huge fiscal deficit which crowds out private investment. In addition, it does not have the same ammunition as 2008 to counter any slowdown
–          Corruption and governance issues remain and there is no will to change it in the future.

Have I missed anything negative? It is actually a surprise that markets have not dropped further. Actually, let me take that back.

The midcap and small cap index has dropped by 15% and 22% respectively and large caps have not dropped as much, because FIIs have been pumping money (which has now started reversing). So we could have another crisis if the FIIs, were to sell even more in response to the falling rupee.

I think most of you know all this and need not be reminded about it.

Panics are always around

Lets look at a graph


This look like the index from 2008 to 2009 …right ?
No, this is the market drop from Feb 2000 to May 2003. The market dropped 38% during this period, with IT stocks dropping even more.


My point is that market drops happen from time to time and is the risk of earning high returns. The mistake most investors commit is to extrapolate recent events into the future. An investor looking at the market in 2003 would have missed one of the biggest rallies from 2003 to 2008.

The converse also holds true – something which has done well in the recent past, can go down too.


The above graph is not of a stock, but of the favorite investment option of Indians – Gold. Very few would have imaged gold dropping by 20% in 6 months.

Panic is a great time

If you have studied history and can keep a cool head, then panics are a great time to buy. The pre-requisite is that one should have done his or her homework in advance, and is ready to act when panic strikes and drives prices down.

Let me show you a recent mini panic in 2011 – In financials. The market became concerned about the asset quality (rightly so) and knocked down prices of companies by almost 30% in a span of 2 months


A person buying during the panic would be up by around 50% since then.

Where is the panic now ?

I think we are in the panic territory in small caps and almost getting there is mid caps. If FIIs start pulling out, we may see a full blown crash across the market including the large caps.

Do I know if that is going to happen ? No I don’t. I do know that prices are getting cheap and it will soon be shopping time.  I may even buy gold if it drops another 20% !!!!


I get emails from a lot of readers to write about various topics. The topics requested are important for most investors and I think a majority of the readers of the blog would benefit from them.

I have put a poll on the list of topics which have been requested in the past (except point 6) and would write on the topic which gets the most votes. If you want a different topic to be written about and is not on the list, please leave a comment and i will take it up in a future poll.

I am sure you can guess, which topic will get my vote 🙂

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.


I have several dilemmas in life – such as should I eat jalebis and other good stuff or go to the gym? Sleep late or go to office? But as these dilemmas are of no concern to others, I will leave them for my own thoughts

The investing related dilemma I have always faced and more so during a market crash is this – Should I invest in the high quality companies whose price has dropped a bit or the low quality cyclicals where the price has collapsed completely. I have tried both and will try to present how my thinking has changed and where it stands today.

Let’s look at two specific examples – one of a high quality and other an average company. The high quality company is one of my long term holdings – CRISIL and the other company is Denso India, which I have long exited.

The chart below is of crisil

I wrote about  this company earlier in 2009 and have held the stock since then. As you can see the company and the stock has not disappointed and have done far better than what I expected at that time.

I have had an eye on crisil for quite some time and finally took the plunge in 2009. It is easy see that the company has an enormous competitive advantage due to government mandated status of a certified credit rating agency and brand. In addition the company requires minimal capital to grow (mainly office space and some computers). The company is thus like a toll bridge which does not require any capital expense.

The second example is of denso India. I wrote about the company here. The company was a cash bargain (stock price below cash on hand).

This is the chart for denso India

I was able to buy at an average price of around 40 and exited at around 85-90 bucks. In hindsight, it turned out to be good operation. However as you can see from the chart, the stock has been sliding since then as the performance of the company went south in 2011.

Where’s the dilemma?

Some of you may be thinking – what is the dilemma here? You made money in both, so both options are great. Case closed.

I don’t think that one should reach that conclusion here. In the case of crisil, the company has been able to increase its intrinsic value at a good pace and the stock price has followed suit. I had to make a one time decision to buy the stock and since then have just sat on that decision.

The case of Denso india is more complicated. The company appeared to be a complete bargain in 2009 and in comparison to crisil was much cheaper. At the same time, the company did not have much of competitive advantage. The trick was to buy the company when it was dirt cheap and get off the bandwagon when it was merely cheap.

This is a more complicated operation than it appears on the surface. One had to time the buy pretty well. If you had bought too early, say in mid 2008, the eventual gains would have been around 30-40%. In addition the sell decision also had to be timed correctly. If you sold in 2011, the gains would have been paltry. I  was unusually lucky in this case.

Thus in the short term,  gains are much higher in Denso type stocks. However one has to make more decisions and then also find a new idea to re-invest the capital. In the case of companies such as Crisil, once you have made a buy decision, you can just wait and watch the magic of compounding take effect

So what is a good option?

If you have tendency to constantly ‘do’ something and want some action, then denso type stocks are a good option. If however, you can live with a few percentage point lower returns with the benefit of much lower effort and headache, then Crisil type of stocks should be your target.

In my case, I do have this tendency to constantly do something. As a result, I am always looking for the next new and shiny stock for my personal portfolio to get that extra return. At the same time I manage my family’s portfolio too. In that portfolio,  I have made the decision to buy high quality , fairly priced stocks and let them compound. The returns could be a bit less, but the risk is much lower and the heartburn almost non-existent.

Following is my partial list of high quality ‘wish list’ stocks

HDFC bank, Titan industries, ITC, Marico, Hero motorcorp, HDFC limited and nestle india.

Time  for some jalebis now . Gym can wait 🙂