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Markets greet 2004 with a blast!
January 03, 2004 14:39 IST
Markets entered the New Year with a blast! The BSE Sensex breached the 6,000 points barrier to close at 6,027 points (up by 5.75 per cent), while the S&P CNX Nifty rose by 5.93 per centáto close at 1,946 points. It has been a dream run for the markets. The rapid-fire growth can be gauged from the fact that markets have gained nearly 1,000 points in a span of just 5 weeks (from 5,045 points on November 28, 2003 to 6,027 points on January 2, 2004).
(Standard deviation indicates by how much the values have deviated from the mean of the values. It measures by how much the investor has diverged from the mean return either upwards or downwards. It highlights the element of risk associated with the fund.)
Equity funds had yet another outstanding week and understandably so. While the Sensex grew by 5.75 per centáduring the week, the top performing equity fund Mastergrowth 93 delivered 7.18 per centáreturns. Category leaders Franklin Bluechip (7.17 per cent) and HDFC Top 200 (7.11 per cent) also featured among weekly performers.
With markets touching record highs, amidst all the excitement a sense of uncertainty has crept in too. Where the markets will go from here is a dilemma for most investors. Hybrid instruments (MIPs, balanced funds) especially the conservatively managed ones, which have an equity cap, continue to be the best bet for investors going forward.
(The Sharpe Ratio is a measure of the returns offered by the fund vis-Ó-vis those offered by a risk-free instrument)
It was a reasonable week at the debt markets. Markets continued to be flush with funds and benchmark 7.27 per centáGoI yield was at 5.11 per centá(January 2, 2003) unchanged from the previous close. Markets had a bullish undertone backed by expected investments from pension funds.
Escorts Income Plan (0.24 per cent) surfaced as the leading debt fund for the week followed by Deutsche Premier Bond (0.21 per cent).
During the week we had an opportunity to meet Mr. Amandeep S. Chopra, Sr. Vice-President, UTI Asset Management Company . This was his advice to retail investors: "Retail investors in the debt funds should see comparable yields rather than historical yields. They have seen double-digit returns in the past, but now they will have to assess the options available to them. Debt funds offer stability of returns with lower degree of risk. We believe income funds can give you better returns than fixed deposits, which are a typical alternative".
Within the debt funds category, investors could consider investing a portion of assets in funds that invest largely in AA paper. AA paper attracts higher yields (vis-Ó-vis AAA paper), which could give your returns a boost in this scenario. Also with positive macro-economic variables, the AA+ paper could be upgraded to AAA leading to capital appreciation for the fund.
Balanced funds had a good week as well. The rising equity markets and recovering debt markets clearly aided balanced funds. Top performing balanced funds ranged from 4.19 per cent to 6.67 per cent. Category leader HDFC Prudence (2.73 per cent) had a mediocre week.
It has been a "fairy-tale" like run at the markets; even the most optimistic investors would have never expected the markets to touch record highs so soon. The hype, excitement and feel good factor are so strong at the moment that even the most rational investors are likely to get carried away. The present momentum might be difficult to sustain and investors would do well by preparing themselves for a period of static growth or even a possible correction. Investors have been rewarded with much more than what they could have possibly asked for. Now is the time to resist greed and utilise these record highs to book a part of your profits. Profit booking will ensure that you can stay invested and also have something to show for if the tide turns.
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