Adding a new ‘State of the Market’ Tab

We have added a State of the Market tab that shows P/E, P/BV & Dividend Yield related data for last quarter (for broader markets). Although such information is regularly covered in other posts, this dedicated page allows easy viewing of key market indicators to show whether markets are overvalued or undervalued. 

Past trends & returns of last 13 years are also given on the page.

The data would be updated on quarterly basis.
Hope you find it useful.

Thoughts on starting a new portfolio – Part 1

In our post on changing Stable Investor’s approach, we mentioned that we plan abandoning our existing portfolio (Monk’s Portfolio). We also plan to start a new portfolio named Dead Monk’s Portfolio (DMP). Reason for choosing this name is given in next few lines.Why Dead?

We want our portfolio to be so easy to maintain that even a dead person is able to do it, i.e., without much thought and activity. 🙂

Why Monk?

For us, monks are ultimate symbols of calmness, serenity, stability and longevity. These are some of the terms which we want our portfolio to be associated with.

Note – The topic may seem a bit haywire as it documents a loud thinking session.

Here are some of our thoughts –

  • Dead Monk’s Portfolio (DMP) can follow a Core –Satellite approach in which core could account for 60-75% of portfolio and Satellite the rest 25-40%
  • Core can be made up of high dividend yield large cap stocks OR low PE, average to good dividend yield large & mid cap stocks OR low to average PE, good to average dividend yield large and mid cap stocks, trading below their book values OR any other combination of parameters and concepts like Magic Formula.
  • We prefer companies which pay regular & increasing dividends as the proceeds can be used to buy more stocks or as a source of passive income. Also these stocks are stable and less risky. But according to experts, this stability comes at the price of lower returns. And as stable long term investors, we are ready to accept non-astronomical returns.
  • Satellite can be made up of companies which offer long term above average growth and which may not be doling out dividends. Such companies generally prefer to invest profits back into the company which may be growing at rates higher than company’s cost of capital OR for novices like us, higher than overall market growth rates.
  • But how do we find stocks which offer stability as well as good dividends? There are many ways of finding such stocks. One is to check the indices that track dividends. Another is to check lists of highest dividend yielding stocks. But such lists throw up names which we are not comfortable investing in : so it would be a good idea to take such lists and add a filter or two like market cap, profitable in last 5 years, etc).
  • Another approach can be to use stock screeners with conditions like large and mid caps, dividend yield of more than 3%, consistent & increasing dividend payouts in last 5 years, trading close to 52 week lows, low PEs  etc. 
  • We are compiling a list of good stock screeners for this purpose and would share them shortly.
  • Another question which has been raised is that does it even make sense to bother about capital appreciation of the Core portion of such a portfolio?
These are just some of our preliminary thoughts and we are still not done with our analysis. We are also exploring other ideas which have not found mention in this post. Let’s wait till the time we finalize the first version of our new portfolio approach (with blessings of the Dead Monk in the grave). 🙂

P/E Ratio, P/BV Ratio & Dividend Yield Analysis of Nifty50 : And how we can benefit from it

In last post, we detailed how we plan to change Stable Investor’s approach in future. This post is first step in that new direction. In this post, we analyze how a little effort on one’s part can help ensure that one does not enter Indian markets when they are irrationally over-optimistic and chances of a major fall are quite high.
For this, one needs to know the current value of P/E Ratio, P/B Ratio & Dividend Yield (DY) of any of the benchmark indices. Though we have chosen Nifty50, you can also go for Sensex or broader NSE500, BSE500 indices. The latest values of P/E, P/B & DY can be found here

But the current data needs to be compared with past trends. We did some analysis of available historical data (Since Jan 1999) and found some interesting insights.

P/E Ratio (What is PE Ratio?)

The table below shows that on investing in a market with PE multiple of less than 12, returns over 3 & 5 year periods have been close to 40% per annum!! Even Warren Buffett has achieved 28% CAGR 😉 An investment in markets with PE in range 12-16 also gives a handsome return of close to 28% pa over a 3 year period. And our analysis reinforces expert’s opinion that investing in markets with high multiples (PE>24) is foolish and returns have been found to be in negative (-7%).

Caution – Five year returns do not follow the same pattern as 3-Year returns. Even on investing at foolishly high PE of more than 24, data shows that one can earn close to 26% pa for the next 5 years. Though data is correct and calculations have been thoroughly checked, we think that this should not be taken as a general rule. This is more of an outlier (due to high returns in Dot com boom and great Indian Bull run of 2003-2008). The fact is that investing in high PE markets increases the chances of low (and negative) returns. A graph below shows that PE Ratio and returns earned over 3-5 years period are inversely proportional.

PE Ratio & Returns (Click to enlarge)

P/B Ratio (What is P/B Ratio?)

The table below shows that on investing in a market with PB Ratio of less than 3, returns over 3 year periods have been close to 27% pa. But on the other hand, if one takes the risk of investing in markets which are trading at P/B of more than 4 (According to us, a market that is running ahead of its asset based fundamentals), one should be ready to accept very low returns of 4-5% pa.

Caution – Like in case of P/E Ratio, it is found that five year returns do not follow the same pattern as 3-Year returns. On investing at high P/B of more than 4, data shows that one can earn close to 23% pa for the next 5 years. This is foolish! Though data is correct and calculations have been thoroughly checked, we are not convinced with this result. Investing in markets trading at high PB levels increases the chances of low (and negative) returns. A graph below shows that P/B Ratio and returns earned over 3 year periods are inversely proportional.

P/B Ratio & Returns (Click to enlarge)

Dividend Yield (What is Dividend Yield?)

First things first. Dividend Yield (DY) of more than 2.5% for an index (Nifty50 in this case) is rare. Very rare! In last 13 years i.e about 3400 trading days, DY has stayed above 2.5 for just 130 days! And returns on investments made during those period have been an eye popping 41 & 45% for three and five years respectively!! So when can one find these days of high DYs? These are the days when markets are over pessimistic and everyone else is selling everything. There is blood on the street. And, if one has the knowledge of historical data like detailed above, one can take a call and invest in an index and be quite sure that he stands to gain handsomely in years to come. Similarly, an investment below an index DY of less than 1.5 does not make sense and returns are close to zero (6% to be precise).

Caution – Like in previous two cases, five year returns do not follow the same pattern as 3-Year returns. But rest assured, investing in markets trading at high dividend yields increases the chance of (very) high returns. A graph below shows that Dividend Yield of index and returns earned over 3 year periods are directly proportional to each other.

Dividend Yield & Returns (Click to enlarge)

So how can one benefit from these historical trends at present? As already said, we first need to get the current values of the 3 parameters. These are taken from NSE’s website.

So what does the historical data tell about the current market levels?
  • An investment at PE = 17 will give returns of 13% pa for next 3 years. (We are intentionally omitting 5 year returns data as we are not sure of its relevance – Read Caution Statement in part pertaining to PE Ratio above).
  • An investment at P/BV = 2.9 will give returns of 27% & 37% pa for next 3 & 5 years respectively.
  • An investment at Dividend Yield = 1.62 will give returns of anywhere between 6% to 26% (We are giving a range because thought the DY=1.62 lies in bracket for 26% returns, the fact remains that it is also very close to lower bracket of Below 1.5, which has a return of close to 6%)

*By investment, we mean investment in an index (via Index Fund or ETF) and not any particular stock in the index.

Though readers are free to draw their own conclusions, we thought that we would put down a few of ours –

  • If you invest in markets trading at lower multiples (PE<16) OR PBV2.5, you are bound to make some serious money in a few years time.
  • If you have some money which you want to park (at one go) in some index fund or ETF which tracks the index, we suggest that you should wait for levels when most of the markets health indicators discussed in this post are in your favor.
  • But if you are one of those disciplined investors who avoid timing the markets, then you should continue investing on a regular basis without any regard to bull or the bear markets. But you need to pray that when you need your money, it should be during the reign of bulls 😉

Nifty Dividend Yields – A Long Term Analysis of relation between dividend yields and returns

Dividend Yield is a ratio of dividend paid last year to current market price. A further reading on Dividend Yields can be found here.
One of the two metrics used to evaluate over- or under-valuation of markets is Dividend Yield (Other is P/E Ratio). At present (Mid January 2012), Nifty has a dividend yield of 1.6 (find latest data here).
So is this a right time to invest? We at Stable Investor decided to look into index’s history to answer this question.
Analysis of Nifty’s last 13 years data (from 1st Jan 1999 onwards) reveals a few interesting points –
  • Returns during last 13 years, when segregated on basis of Dividend Yields are –
  • This clearly indicates that at current Dividend Yield of 1.6, chances of earning around 20% per annum for next 3 years are quite high! (Caution – The statement is made on basis of historical data. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.)
  • A graph between Dividend Yields and 3-Year-Returns (CAGR) also shows that there is a high (positive) correlation between the two. Higher the dividend yield, higher the returns over 3 year periods.
Dividend Yield & Return Since 1991 [Click to Enlarge]
  • But one must understand that market does not give enough chances at higher levels. Our analysis shows that out of 2500 trading sessions in last 13 years, markets spent less than 5% (127 days) at dividend yields of more than 2.5 (which offers maximum returns over 3 year periods).
Days Spent on various Dividend Yields
So after this analysis, Stable Investor understands that though history shows that investing in markets offering high dividend yields makes more sense, one should never rely on just one mathematical tool to arrive at any investment decision. Any number should be taken with a pinch of salt and should always be looked in conjunction with other ratios and numbers.
We did a similar analysis of PE Ratios and Returns over 3 and 5 year periods and arrived at some remarkably useful results which can be found in the post Relation between PE Ratios and Returns.
If you are interested in further exploring slightly advanced topic of Effective Dividend Yield, please read our post on Dividend Investing in Indian Stocks.