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Special: The STAR stocks of 2011

Last updated on: December 19, 2011 14:08 IST

The STAR stocks of 2011

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Deepak Korgaonkar and Abhishek Vasudev in Mumbai


The markets may be down and out, but a handful of stocks are still shining bright.

Even though most frontline stocks are still struggling to recover lost ground, 24 stocks in the BS 200 list have given positive returns at a time the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark, Sensex, has tumbled 24.5 per cent, or over 5,000 points, to 15,491 till December 16.

For example, Bajaj Auto is up 8 per cent even though all the other automobile stocks in BS 200 reported a decline ranging 3-34 per cent.

Similar is the story across other sectors such as telecom, pharma, FMCG, banking and so on.

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Image: The Bombay Stock Exchange.
Photographs: Reuters

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The STAR stocks of 2011

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Kitchen appliances maker TTK Prestige has gained the most so far in 2011. The company has reported a healthy 56 per cent year-on-year growth in net profit of Rs 59.05 crore (Rs 590.5 million) for the six months ended September, a trend also seen in the past.

TTK has reported a compounded annual growth rate of 20 per cent in revenues and 50 per cent in profit after tax in the past decade.

Crisil Research has assigned it a fundamental grade of '5/5', indicating excellent fundamentals.

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Image: Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto.
Photographs: Reuters

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Among other big gainers, Gujarat Flurochemicals appreciated 61 per cent during this period. The company, engaged in the industrial gases business, had reported an almost fourfold jump in net profit at Rs 348 crore (Rs 3.48 billion) for the six months ended September on the back of higher income from operations, which got a boost from certified emission reductions (carbon credits).

It had reported a net profit of Rs 264 crore (Rs 2.64 billion) in the entire previous year ended March 2010.

Consumption plays shine

If you had bet on consumption-related or so-called defensive stocks such as Bata India, Gitanjali Gems, TTK Prestige and Petronet LNG, given the weakening market conditions in 2011, it would have yielded a return in the range of 28-62 per cent.

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Image: Prestige TTK has shown great resilience.
Photographs: Reuters

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However, according to market analysts, the valuations for consumer staples are not cheap any more, post the recent outperformance. They say part of the rush for these 'safe haven' companies is driven by volatility in the markets.

Foreign institutional investors have also shown interest in consumption and defensive stocks during the year, data show.

The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, considered a defensive bet in volatile times, has outperformed the market by giving an average nine per cent return, while pharma and information technology (IT) have restricted losses to sub-16 per cent each.

Hindustan Lever, Colgate-Palmolive and ITC in the FMCG space appreciated between 12 and 26 per cent each and figure among the top 15 gainers.

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Image: Gitanjali Gems too did very well.
Photographs: Reuters

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The question is what is the outlook for such stocks? The verdict is not unilateral.

"FMCG and pharmaceutical companies have done well in the past despite macroeconomic headwinds. I believe the consumption story has not been overdone and stocks from these sectors will continue to do well," said Saurabh Mukherjea, head of equities, Ambit Capital.

However, other analysts expect some cooling off in the consumption theme, given the rupee-dollar equation and inflation levels.

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Image: ITC chairman Y Deveshwar.
Photographs: Reuters

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Says T P Raman, managing director, Sundaram Mutual, "I believe consumption may cool off a bit going ahead, though not in the immediate near term."

Cementing gains

UltraTech Cement, ACC and Ambuja Cements each gained about 5 per cent during the period, and figure among the top 25 gainers.

The stocks outperformed as cement prices remained north-bound during the year. The average retail prices of cement increased about three per cent in November 2011 month-on-month to Rs 289 a bag and almost 17 per cent year-on-year.

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Image: Cement stocks have done well.


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"Cement demand will continue to gain traction during the remainder of 2011-12. However, in the light of the steep rise in prices over the past nine months, the tempo of price increase is likely to slow," said Ajay D'Souza, head, Crisil Research.

The other stocks that outperformed the Sensex include: Hexaware Technologies, Bombay Rayon Fashions, Idea Cellular, Jubilant Foodworks, GMDC, Divi's Labs, LIC Housing Finance, Indraprastha Gas, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Sun Pharma, Max India, and Grasim Industries.

Some experts, though, are cautious on the sector. Points out Ambareesh Baliga, chief operating officer, Way2-Wealth, "With the demand for cement likely to remain under pressure going ahead, the stocks are also expected to remain subdued."

On the whole, given that uncertainties and concerns still continue, it will be some time before things start looking up. Baliga says, "Overall, we advise investors to stay away from the equity markets in the current market conditions."


Photographs: Courtesy, Business Standard

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