Large Cap Nifty Stocks – Returns since our call in December 2011

Important: Don’t miss the last paragraph.


When we wrote Large Cap Nifty Stocks available at deep discounts in December 2011, we were very excited to find a number of great companies available at very cheap prices. And since the world as well as Indian economy hadn’t fully recovered, it was really common sense that one stuck with businesses which could weather the economic turmoil. We advised and bought a few of these large caps for our personal portfolios.

So after an year, when index has given 25% returns, we checked the performance of individual stocks. And we must say that we are more than happy to see around 15 stocks giving 40% + returns. But there are a fair number of duds too. There are 10 stocks which trade at discounts compared to December 2011 prices.

Large Cap Nifty Stocks Returns One Year
Nifty Stocks: One Year Returns (Dec 2011 – Dec 2012)
As of now, markets are trading at a PE of close to 19 and since markets have run up around 800 points in last 4 sessions, we are not sure if it’s a good time to pick stocks. We would rather wait and watch for the time being.

Caution: Our post might make you believe that we have good predictive capabilities. The fact is that we don’t. Why? Markets have risen 25% in last one year. So have all stocks representing the market. And as Warren Buffett said: A rising tide lifts each and every boat. You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.

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Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL): A good business is not always a good stock

HUL is an example of a great business. It has a portfolio of famous FMCG brands that every Indian uses atleast once a day. Who wouldn’t recognize Lux, Lifebouy, Kissan, Rin, Surf, Axe, Close Up, Dove, Fair & Lovely, Sunsilk or other HUL brands? With Indian growth driven primarily by domestic consumption, there is no question whether HUL, with all its powerful brands, is well positioned to take advantage of this growth or not. Even respected stock research houses are claiming that ‘HUL is on a path of sustainable growth with the help of its powerful & diversified brands and thus they maintain a Buy rating on the Stock once again.’


HUL Hindustan Unilever Limted
HUL – A good buy?
But we beg to differ from everyone here. We are not convinced that HUL is a good BUY at this price. With HUL at Rs 530, there are some facts which suggest that it may not be the best time to buy this stock:
  • HUL is commanding a P/Emultiple of 50. This is highest multiple it has ever commanded. FMCG companies generally trade at high PE multiples. But a PE=50, doesn’t seem sustainable.
  • With a 3 year growth rate of 4.63% in Sales & 2.02% in Profits, a P/E of 50 does seem irrational.
  • If we check HUL’s PEG Ratio with Current PE=50 & G=15% (though past records stands at less than 5%), we get a PEG=3.33. And a stock having PEG>1 is considered to be overvalued.
  • Another way of looking at PE=50 is that investors expect HUL to grow at 50% per year in future. And common sense says that this is insane. With a company of HUL’s size, a 50% growth rate is like Elephant running at 300kmph!! 🙂

So what are your views?

Disclosures: No Positions in HUL. But if we had already purchased HUL years ago and had big capital gains built into the stock, we wouldn’t sell it even if it was overvalued. This is because we believe in power of doing nothing in stock markets. 🙂

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Large cap Nifty stocks & 3 Year Lows

If you are looking for good, large cap (safe) stocks to invest in, a good starting point can be a list of stocks trading near their 3 year lows. While putting down the ground rules for our portfolio, we had mentioned that large cap stocks can (or should) be bought when they are trading near their 2-3 year lows.

The reason we advocate 2-3 year lows as a good entry point is that as long as our purchase price is closer to 2-3 year lows (& the industry is not going to the dinosaurs and company is not going to go bankrupt), and we are ready to wait patiently, the odds would be in our favor that these investments will prove to be profitable.

Though this should not be the only criteria, it is a simple yet powerful criteria to look for bargains in large cap space. So here is a list of Nifty 50 stocks and their relative positions from their 3 year lows –


A stock may be near its 3 year low due to many reasons, like cyclicity of industry, overall pessimism in economy, negative newsflow about company itself, regulations or government interference in sectors, etc.

Though readers can make their own deductions, we would like to highlight that upper half of the list, i.e. stock which are closer to their 3 year lows, is dominated by industries like steel, power, oil, mining etc. So is it a good time to accumulate stocks in these sectors? It is for you to answer. 🙂
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Nifty Stocks and PEG Ratios

In our previous post, we saw that Indian markets are presently trading at PEG ratio of 0.97. We arrived at this figure by dividing current P/E of 16.7 by average growth rate (in last 18 years)of 17.1%.

For details, please check the post on Historical EPS Growth Rates & PEG Ratio of Indian markets.
In continuation of our analysis of PEG ratios, we calculated PEG ratios of a few Indian large cap stocks –
Click to enlarge
Some details/observations of our analysis are as follows –
  • We have chosen EPS growth rates to represent growth rates of a company. One can also use any other growth rates.
  • For each company, we have calculated 3 PEG Ratios –
    • Using latest EPS Growth Rates (2010-2011)
    • Using Average of all EPS growth rates in last 5 years
    • Using least positive EPS growth rates in last 5 years
  • Afterwards, we calculated another PEG for each company – Average PEG – which is an arithmetic average of previous three PEGs.
 
  • Normally, a PEG greater than 1 indicates an overvalued company, and less than 1 indicates an undervalued company. But we must understand that PEG is just a ratio and it should always be looked in conjunction with other ratios and numbers.
  • For instance, a company like Bharti has an average PEG of 0.33, which is quite an attractive number when looked at on a standalone basis. But if we consider that Bharti operates in a highly competitive industry; has loads of debt due to 3G fee payments and African expansion; has decreasing average revenues per user (ARPU) and has a negative PEG(!) for current fiscal, the number 0.33 may not look so attractive.
  • But there are also few companies like BHEL (0.59), PowerGrid (0.83), Tata Steel (0.40) and Tata Motors (0.42) which have considerable moat (competitive advantage & operations in industries having high entry barriers) and can be said to be available at good valuations. But once again, one should understand that stock like Tata Motors are rate sensitive and cyclical. And under current global circumstances, may slip further.
  • A company like Sterlite Industries (pegged by few as future RIL) is available at a ridiculous PEG of 0.19 (or 0.25, 0.08, 0.26). But that does not mean that it is going to become a future multibagger. Similarly, Maruti is available at PEG of 0.10(!)
  • Then there behemoths like SBI which may be available at outrageous mathematically calculated PEG of 6.6, but are worth investing as there current PEG stands at 0.54. But one should also consider rise in NPAs of SBI and other factors before investing.
So a Stable Investor understands that one should never rely on just one mathematical tool to arrive at any investment decision. Any number should always be looked in conjunction with other ratios and numbers.

Dividend Investing in Indian Stocks

A poston The Motley Fool inspired us to write about dividend investing in Indian stocks.
They say that if a person plans to have a long term portfolio of 10 stocks, atleast 3 should be good dividendpaying stocks.
Companies generally pay dividends when they have stable, predictable cash flows and don’t have troubles covering their dividend obligations. So when you invest in good dividend paying companies, it can be safely assumed that the chosen company is there for the long run.
A talk on stock dividends generally leads to further discussion on its Current Yield (Ratio of Dividend Paid & Current Market Price in percentage terms). Read more about Current Yields here. We will again take up yields later in the post.
It is important for a long term investor that when he selects a stock for its dividends, he looks beyond just its current yield. What a stock pays as current dividend is not as important as its future dividends. It is also important that dividends are sustainable & keep coming year after year.
One interesting concept given in The Motley Foolis about Effective Yield – Dividend Yield measured by referring to the original purchase price. Even if a stock carries a modest yield when you buy it, rapid dividend growth can boost your effective yield very quickly, making it much more attractive.
To indicate the relevance of Effective Yield, we take up Clariant Chemicals (I) Ltd. (BSE Code: 506390), a mid cap known for generous and increasing dividend payouts.
In April 2007, Clariant paid a dividend of 180% (at face value of 10). At a then market price of Rs 300, it translated into a yield of 6%. Come FY 2011 & it paid a total dividend of 100% (Interim) + 200% (Final). This translates into a Current yield (CMP – 650) of 4.6%. But if we calculate the effective Yield (@2007 Purchase Price), we have an effective yield of almost 10%. This effectively means that by means of increasing dividends alone, the stock would be able to pay back the investment in less than 10 years!
So what does dividend investing offer to a Stable Investor?
Dividend Investing can help Stable Investor generate an ever-increasing stream of cash. This cash can then be deployed to buy more such assets and so on…
An important point is that one should not be fooled by high dividend yields. The reason for high yield may be a sharp fall in market prices or a one-time special dividend payout. It is very important to focus on sustainability of business when one is investing for dividends. There is no use investing in business for dividends, when the company is not in a position to exist after some time.
The Motley Fool has another insightful post on successful dividend investing that can be found here.
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Large cap Nifty Stocks available at deep discounts

On 25thNovember 2011, Nifty closed at 4710 – A level 26% lower than highs of 2007-2008 and 2011. So does it mean that all 50 stocks that make the index are following a similar trend?
Before answering this question, I would like you all to know that Nifty is made up of stocks of 50 companies representing 24 important sectors of Indian economy. All these stocks have different weights. And for all practical purposes, the index can be considered to be a good enough representative of stock markets.
NSE itself provides a lot of information about Nifty like Full list of constituents, calculation methodologies, etc. for retail investors.
I did some quick calculations to see how individual Nifty stocks were placed with respect to their 2007-2008 & 2011 highs –
Nifty Stocks 2008 2009 Lows
Nifty Stocks – Discounts to their 2008 & 2011 highs
As evident, shares of companies like RCom (Reliance Communications) are down 92% & 66% from their highs of 2008 & 2011. RCom, because of various negative reasons may not be the best stock to evaluate. But this small analysis also throws up some interesting insights about other large caps –
  • Sterlite Industries – According to a few, another Reliance in making, is down 68% & 58% 
  • Tata Steel is down 64% and 50% 
  • BHEL is down 54% & 50% 
  • Reliance Industries – Bellwether of Indian stock markets, sitting on a cash pile of more than 16 Billion Dollars, generating cash of around a Billion Dollar every quarter is down a staggering 54% from its 2008 highs and 35% from its 2011 highs! 
So what should an average investor do after witnessing shares of mighty and blue chip companies fall like nine pins?
  • Long term investors should understand that though index is down around 25%, good individual stocks like Reliance Industries, Tata Steel, SAIL & State Bank of India are down more than 60%. And these are not small or mid caps; these are full-fledged large caps!
  • This analysis does not suggest that there won’t be any further fall in these scrips. 
  • It makes sense for long term investors to continue with their SIPs in good mutual funds or index funds. Also investor should start selectively buying these large cap stocks, which score high on sustainability parameter and have visibility in revenues/profits.