Mumbai, Mar 30, 2023
“As the negative impact of rate hikes in compressed time is starting to surface in terms of banking stress, the record highs are looking a bit difficult for the index in the near term,” Hemang Kapasi, Head of Equities at Sanctum Wealth says in an interview to Moneycontrol.
He believes 2023 will be a lacklustre year for Nifty returns. “While the index may remain rangebound, there will be selective action in stocks that are well placed from earnings perspective,” he says.
Hence, Hemang with over 16 years of experience in the equity market industry says one theme that’s standing out, for now, is the capex theme, and another is consumer discretionary, which has been under pressure for some time now.
Do you think the worries have shifted from growth to banks now on the global front?
The recession worry has certainly got deeper with weaker banks going under. Ideally, the growth should have suffered because of the money getting expensive in the first place, but that hasn’t happened in a big way so far. In fact, the lead economic indicators like Composite Purchase Managers Index (PMI) have started showing sequential improvement (after contraction for several months) in developed markets led by services.
Now when the banks are displaying signs of stress, the lending activity might become more cautious, which might dampen the credit flow and economic activity.
With signs of stress in banking, the focus in the short run might shift to maintaining financial stability and ensuring that the systemic impact of failing banks doesn’t go far enough. These events have led to US Fed recent commentary turning dovish with a downward revision of future rate hikes rather than the hawkish approach they have taken so far to curb inflation. This shall help in curbing some contagion across the banking sector.
Do you expect broader markets to see more pressure than benchmarks in near future?
The broader markets have already seen a lot of pressure in the last year and a half. Historically, such periods of stress have been effective in neutralising excesses in the markets.
However, when the macros are stressed, downgrades are happening and fundamentals and earnings are looking weak, there are limited triggers for the broader markets to pick up. Though, valuations are reverting to long-term averages, given the current macro setup, high earnings expectations for next year have potential for a downgrade.
Given this backdrop, there is a general flight to safety during which benchmarks show higher resilience.
What could be first – Nifty at record high or Nifty at June 2022 lows?
As the negative impact of rate hikes in compressed time is starting to surface in terms of banking stress, the record highs are looking a bit difficult for the index in the near term.
We believe 2023 will be a lacklustre year for Nifty returns. While the index may remain rangebound, there will be selective action in stocks that are well placed from earnings perspective.
For Index to travel towards June 2022 lows (worst case scenario), there has to be a barrage of bad news and high degree of risk averseness, which can capitulate in the event of further bank failures and systemic risks getting real.
Will the US dollar weaken further on peaking interest rate cycle globally?
It’s only in the phase of “flight to safety” that the appeal for the greenback is the highest.
As of now, the dollar index has repriced the Fed rate outlook given the increasing financial risk globally. There still seems to be scope of further correction if there is a clear ease of stance from central bankers.
Your take on the recently proposed amendment in Finance Bill 2023, with respect to mutual fund investments?
The government’s intent is clear in this case to eliminate the tax arbitrage from the debt mutual funds vis-à-vis bank and non-bank deposits. As the playing field is levelled now, investors will weigh all the available alternatives and make their investment decisions based on individual requirements, risk profile and return requirements.
As the debt funds still offer some benefits like offset of capital losses from other instruments, no TDS and liquidity with no or less penalty, it will boil down to the individual to weight these benefits while investing in debt funds.
With recent correction, where do you want to deploy your money (sectors/themes)?
As pointed out earlier, we believe that 2023 may not be a year of broad-based performance and would rather be a stock-specific market. There will still be one or two themes that may do well in the year.
One theme that’s standing out, for now, is the capex theme which is having a good time because of the government’s focus on capital spending to keep the economy humming. We believe this trend will continue and stock pickers have a better chance of finding winners in the theme.
Another theme is consumer discretionary, which has been under pressure for some time now. Given the structural nature of growth in these businesses, we believe that the current correction offers decent entry points for consumer names with a long-term investing horizon.
Do you think the correction is over in technology stocks?
Technology stocks have a direct linkage to the western world, which may have some more turbulence to face. These companies have high exposure to directly impacted sectors like banks and financial services, which may contribute to the demand slowdown in the near term. The cut down in discretionary spending in a tough market environment will also weigh on growth and margins of these companies. Recent results and reductions in guidance from Accenture also point in the same direction.
However, there is a scope in cost take-out and vendor consolidation deals, that large IT companies are well placed to benefit from.
Further corrections from here in the IT stocks will also provide a buying opportunity from a long-term perspective as the entry valuations will be more reasonable at lower levels.
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts on Moneycontrol.com are their own and not those of the website or its management. Moneycontrol.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.
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