Was reading this article – mutual fund NAVs take the plunge. The following caught my eye
 
“The high erosion in the NAVs is the outcome of heavy concentration by mutual fund industry in sectors like banking, real estate, capital goods, engineering, cement and construction which were going great guns in 2007, but have eroded sharply this year. Most schemes had comfortably ignored sectors like pharma, FMCG and IT, which have started to perform now. So, the funds that failed to tap in these opportunities then are paying a heavy price today.”
 
The above statement gives me such a feeling of deja-vu. History repeats itself in the stock market, again and again. I saw the same thing happen in 2000 with IT. Most of the mutual funds piled into the IT sector, right before the crash. The same seems to have happened now.
 
Ofcourse it takes courage of conviction to go against the crowd. It is not rocket science to figure out that a company selling at 70 times earnings could be overvalued. But then most of the fund managers, wanting to keep their jobs are more worried about their quarterly performance than doing well in the long run.
 
For those who say that the small investor is at a disadvantage v/s the pros, I would say it is complete hogwash. All other factors aside, as a small investor I am personally not forced to invest in the current hot stocks. At the cost of looking like a moron in the short run, I can afford to pickup undervalued scrips which will give me good long term returns. That advantage alone is more than all other advantages the big boys have such as more research, access to management etc.
 
This rear view approach is however not limited to the big boys alone. Unfortunately a lot of small investors do the same. However if they lose money, they end up blaming everyone except themselves.
 
I am guilty of doing the same thing in the past. However the sensible thing I did was to blame myself completely for the losses. It is not that I mindlessly go against the crowd ( I wont cross the road with a red signal when everyone else is standing on the sidewalk for the sake of going against the crowd 🙂 ).
 
If am looking at a company, I need to convince myself why the market is undervaluing the company and what is my variant perception. For stocks which favored by everyone else, I have generally found that the market is either too optimistic or is valuing them fairly and hence it is unlikely that I will make good returns.

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