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Axis Bank, L&T, Thermax: Chris Wood rejigs India equity portfolio

By Puneet Wadhwa
May 29, 2023 10:23 IST
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Christopher Wood, global head of equity strategy at Jefferies has rejigged his equity portfolios.


Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/

In his Asia ex-Japan long-only portfolio, he has added Axis Bank (5 per cent weightage) and increased holding in Larsen & Toubro (L&T) by one percentage point.

This, Wood said, will be paid for by removing the investment in ICICI Lombard General Insurance and reducing the investments in HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries (RIL) by one percentage point each.

“As for the India long-only portfolio, investments in power equipment maker Thermax and Axis Bank will be introduced with 5 per cent and 6 per cent weighting respectively.


"These will be paid for by removing the investments in ICICI Lombard General Insurance and Maruti Suzuki India and reducing the investment in HDFC Life by one percentage point,” Wood wrote in his recent weekly newsletter to investors, GREED & fear.

That apart, Wood has done away with the investments in HDFC Life, BNP Paribas and Schlumberger in his global long-only equity portfolio, which have been replaced by investments in Axis Bank, TSMC and BYD.

The performance of these stocks at the bourses thus far in calendar year 2023 (CY23) has been mixed. While Thermax, L&T, Maruti Suzuki and HDFC Bank have rallied up to 17 per cent during this period and outperformed the S&P BSE Sensex that has gained around 1 per cent, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, RIL, Axis Bank and HDFC Life Insurance have slipped up to 12 per cent, ACE Equity data show.

Bajaj Finance, ONGC, Godrej Properties, DLF, Container Corporation of India, Century Textiles and Macrotech Developers are some of the other stocks Wood holds in his India long-only equity portfolio.

Surprisingly, Wood has held on to his investment in Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone (4 per cent weight) in his India long-only equity portfolio despite the sharp fall in the counter on the back of negative news flow in the last few months.

The group’s stocks have been in the line of fire since January 2023-end after a US-based short-seller, Hindenburg Research, alleged that the Adani group had engaged in “a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme”.

It had also accused the group of improper use of offshore tax havens, and flagged concerns about the group’s high debt.

In the Asia ex-Japan long-only thematic portfolio, Wood’s Indian stock holding includes RIL (5 per cent weight), HDFC Life Insurance (4 per cent), Macrotech Developers and Godrej Properties (3 per cent each), ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank (5 per cent each), Bajaj Finance (3 per cent) and L&T (5 per cent).

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Puneet Wadhwa
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