India's long bull market may be ready to stumble

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by S2007S, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. S2007S


    India's long bull market may be ready to stumble
    Investing - The nation's central bank is adjusting its rules to put the brakes on inflation
    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    NEW YORK -- The empirical evidence of India's enormous economic expansion in recent years -- in particular the sharp run-up in stocks -- has proven an irresistible draw to some mutual fund investors. But those chasing the siren song should be aware that, as with any developing economy, there could be bruising stumbles.

    "If you have a car speeding along and it hits a speed bump, the aftershock is going to be that much greater the faster the car goes. India is going to hit some speed bumps as it goes," said Andrew T. Foster, director of research at Matthews International Capital Management LLC, a San Francisco fund manager specializing in Asian investing.

    The rise in stocks has stirred concerns that valuations have risen beyond where they should be and that the country's central bank will continue to raise interest rates at it tries to tamp down inflation.

    On Tuesday, the country's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, increased the proportion of deposits that commercial banks must hold in cash by a half percent to 6 percent in order to help slow the economy.

    "The Indian growth story is continuing to be reaffirmed," said Dhruva Raj Chatterji, a research analyst in Mumbai, India, for fund-tracker Lipper Inc. While growth continues, other forces are building that could throw some cold water on the frenetic pace.

    "It has been a sustained bull run for the past three years because of which India is one of the most expensive markets in the world. Valuations are kind of the higher side," Chatterji said. He questioned whether the market has overestimated how much Indian companies will continue to earn. Earnings growth has in recent years hovered near the breakneck pace of more than 20 percent.

    Despite lingering questions, Chatterji noted good growth figures helped the markets turn in a decent performance last month. Funds investing in Indian stocks showed an average return of 2.5 percent in January, beating the Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-share Sensitive Index, or Sensex, which rose 2.2 percent. The funds benefited from the performance of midcap and small-cap stocks, Chatterji noted.

    29.2 percent gains

    Over the longer term, the index has won out. Equity funds registered for sale in India rose 29.2 percent in past 12 months, while the BSE Sensex was up an even larger 42.1 percent.

    And indexes for large and small-capitalization stocks have recently revealed some investors' are looking to cash in.

    "Definitely it is going to be a year of profit booking and we have seen that happening in the month of February."

    Chatterji said the amount of money foreigners invested in the country slowed in January.

    "Interest rates are on the rise in India. People are thinking about whether foreign fund flow will continue with the same vigor as it has in the past," he said.

    Interest rates

    Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist for CIBC World Markets, contends investors should consider interest rates before investing in India.

    Inflation hit 6.6 percent in late January -- a two-year high. On Jan. 31, the Reserve Bank of India raised the repurchase rate, which is the rate at which it lends to commercial banks, by a quarter point to 7.5 percent.

    "I think that the markets here in India realized kind of late that the central bank is looking at inflation and is still prepared to raise interest rates," Kumar said.

    "I believe that looking at mutual funds in India the long-term story is intact, but I would wait until it's clear that the central bank has finished raising rates," he said. "A lot of the speculative activity that was in the Indian market is coming out of the market," Kumar said.

    Still, funds for U.S. investors continue to show growth. The Matthews India Fund, for example, with assets of about $718 million, has shown a year-to-date return of 2.14 percent.

    Chatterji is concerned stocks in India, and therefore the mutual funds that invest there, could face difficulty later in the year because the number of initial public offerings has increased sharply in the new year. The enthusiasm of investors looking to snag their share of the Indian market risks depleting how much money will be left for investment later, he said.

    "The number of IPOs has significantly increased. It also poses a danger because that could suck up liquidity in the market. There could be a liquidity squeeze by the end of 2007," he said.

    However, Chatterji is optimistic that even if a sizable correction occurs, stocks would prove resilient.

    "Whenever there has been a correction in India there has been tremendous buying support," he said. He credited investors' long-term faith in the potential of the giant and rapidly industrializing country.

    "But in 2007, it's definitely going to be volatile," he said.
  2. The indian economy is dependent on the wealthy nations. First the wealthy nations need to take a stumble. Then the indian collapse will be similar to March 2000. And emerging markets in general are enjoying the liquidity currently.

    Anticipate a liquidity crunch globally, and you have a the makings of it. Next time BOJ announces it drained liquidity might do it.
  3. S2007S


    Its very easy to see these markets lose 20-30% in a matter of weeks like they did last June. Once liquidity dries up you will not see these types of moves to the upside for quite sometime.
  4. In fairness, sensex looked toppy back in December. New capital inflows have been tempered by fear & greed, and yet india is looking at new potential highs.

    India declared itself 'open for business' about a year or two ago and again at Davos last year, welcoming DFI (direct foreign investment). The major correction last may of 40% isn't likely to be repeated quite so quickly next time (although not to say it can't happen over time).

    While reportedly things in India are approaching a mania, that doesn't mean that we can't see 17,000 first. And then that 20% correction takes us only back down to 13,000 which puts us roughly back where we were at the end of 2006. In fairness, there is volume - price divergence which does raise some warning flags.

    Out of all the emerging markets, I think India has some of the best long term potential - large population, educated population, massive need for infrastructure development, english speaking middle & upper class, and a scientific service based economy. Also, I think that the Indian government has learned its lesson and wants to join the rest of the world & is willing to give up some of its old institutionalized corruption to do so.

    Great longer term play.

  5. yeah trying to pick tops in a bubble can be hazardous. sorry on a elliptical machine.

    you need a catalyst...the indians always like to tax things.. so
  6. S2007S


    I have to disagree, no one saw that 30%+ drop last may/june coming. Since bottoming in June under 9000 its back above 14,000, more than a 60% return in only 8 months. In the last 5 years its up over 300%. Things can turn quickly to the downside in these markets, especially a market that has gone straight up 60% since June.
  7. compare sector PE ratios globally. If indian companies capitalization is underpriced, they are susceptible to foreign control. Imperialistic fears of old still dominate mindset. So though in absolute terms the index might look overpriced relative to itself. The index maybe normalizing itself to global sector PE ratios.
  8. stocon


    How bout a trailing sell stop say 8% of top, if it's a typical emerging market debacle you'll easily see a quick 20% hair cut even if just a correction. Hang in with a 10% stop which would allow for a marginal new high so the beautiful people can get out and it still may allow allow for the trade to work. I think a place like India may be a leading indicator and the action will be remarkable but not isolated from mature markets. Yes the BOJ may harbor the needle but not just for Emerging markies but also the banana republic in Wash.
  9. long term chart
  10. S2007S


    Talk about a bull market...

    Its taken the dow over 20 years to go from 2000 to 12,000+

    The sensex only 3 years!!!

    take a look at the ^MXX

    ever since passing 10,000 in Mid 2004 it has had one heck of a rally closing above 28500 just last week, it has had about 2 10% corrections, but after each correction has rallied even more.

    Seems the bigger the correction on these other world markets the higher they go. Remember the DOW has 58 months without a 10% correction, nearly 5 years. Even a 10% correction now would put the DOW around 11500 which is still quite impressive. I think in order to keep this bull market running a pullback of at least 5% is needed.
    #10     Feb 19, 2007