Build a long term portfolio through focus on sectors

In some of my blog posts I have covered the topic of building a portfolio for a new investor. While there are many ways to do this, building a long term robust portfolio is best done through sectoral focus. This has several advantages and one should keep these in mind while building the portfolio. Firstly, investing in a few important sectors will ensure that your portfolio is a representative one and reflects the indices in some manner. Secondly, a combination of such stocks will act as a natural hedge against any serious downfall in the markets. Thirdly, it will be easy to review and change such a portfolio as you are having both the industry and company dimension to look at.

Which will be the sectors to put in money now? Given the economy and demography of India, anything which is related to the domestic infrastructure building or domestic consumption will be great areas to bet on. Remember, you are building a portfolio for the long run, it does not matter if it tanks by 20 % in the present year. The important thing is to identify good companies in the sector – these must have good market presence and asset base to ensure longevity in a positive manner. Avoid flashy companies where results go all over the place and which are in high debt.

For people starting off here is a set of sectors and some suggested companies in them :-

  • Financial sector (Banks)
    • Large private bank – choose between HDFC Bank / ICICI / Kotak / IndusInd
    • Large PSU bank – SBI / PNB
    • Smaller private banks – Yes Bank / Federal Bank / RBL
  • Housing Finance companies
    • LIC Housing Finance / HDFC
    • Indiabulls Housing Finance
  • Cement / Paint companies
    • ACC / Ultratech 
    • Heidelberg / Ambuja
    • Kansai Nerolac / Asian Paints / Berger Paints
  • Auto companies
    • TVS Motors / HeroMotocorp
    • Maruti / M & M
  • Pharma companies
    • Cipla / Lupin / DRL
    • Shilpa Medicare
    • Ajanta / Granules / Aurobindo
  • FMCG
    • Marico / Dabur
    • HUL / ITC
  • Engineering
    • L & T
    • BHEL / BEML
  • IT Services
    • Infosys / TCS
    • Hexaware / KPIT / Mindtree

Avoid Telecom companies and also any other businesses which are cyclical in nature like Sugar and other agro based ones.

Once you have the above framework, all you need to do is to get a low cost Demat account where you can buy stocks without paying high brokerage or annual charges. Based on how much money you have, decide on a quarterly allocation of funds and start buying based on the right time. Remember, you always buy in small lots and check the DMA figures to make sure there is some basic logic to the price. Also, do not go overboard on the number of stocks. You should buy from each of the above but not more than 2/3 from each of them.

Let me give a typical portfolio created out of this strategy :-

  • HDFC Bank
  • SBI
  • Federal Bank
  • Indiabulls Housing Finance
  • Kansai Nerolac
  • Ultratech Cement
  • TVS Motors
  • Maruti
  • Cipla
  • Shipa Medicare
  • Marico
  • ITC
  • L & T
  • BEML
  • Infosys
  • Mindtree

These 16 stocks should be a good one to go with, though you can definitely change some as per your personal preferences. For example, you can replace Maruti by M & M and Mindtree by Hexaware and ITC by HUL and the basic nature of the portfolio will not be altered. Try to have only about 16-20 stocks as with any more you will be spreading the portfolio too thin. In any case, you will review the portfolio once every year and can replace some stocks if you are not happy with their performance.

What should be the investment in this portfolio. It can be anything really but I think you need to invest about 25-50 K in every stock for it to be meaningful. Ideally you should build up this portfolio between now and 2019 end. So we are talking about 4-8 lacs over the next 15 months. If you do not have these resources, you can still build a portfolio with above logic but lesser number of stocks. Put in 1-2 lacs in about 4-8 stocks to start with and you can keep adding more as and when you get money available.

Now to the million Dollar question – how will this portfolio perform in the long run? Well, though it is difficult to predict equity performance over any duration, for 10 years it becomes a little easier. At a conservative estimate this portfolio, with a thorough annual review and change, should deliver at least 15 % annual growth. So a 8 lac portfolio will become about 32 lacs in 10 years. You can therefore assume a multiple of 4 to your invested amount. 

This is a great time to build a portfolio by investing in good stocks. If you have a goal in 10 years time of 40 lacs, just build a portfolio of 10 lacs with these stocks and let the markets do the rest. If you are just starting off and can invest only 2 lacs over the next year then do so – maybe in 10 years you can buy a car of your choice.

I hope to see you getting started today so that you reap the benefits in 2019 !!

Building a stock portfolio with expert recommendations

The past few months have been very interesting ones for the Indian markets. Most people will agree that the valuations of a large number of stocks were stretched and unsustainable, so the correction, though brutal, have had the benefits of bringing down the markets to levels where one can look at investing. The mid cap and the small cap space may well witness more pains, even though the large caps seem to have stabilised for now. The quarterly results were largely good, though not spectacular, and with the festive season falling in Q3 it can be expected that the current quarter results will be good. Is this the time to build a portfolio for the future then?

In my opinion, if you do not have a stock portfolio now, it is a good time to start building one. Several stocks are available at attractive prices and present a great opportunity of handsome gains between this Diwali and the next. The important thing is to pick the right stocks so that the portfolio is a high performance one. In this regard it is best to go with professional recommendations, even though you must do your due diligence to ensure you are comfortable with the stock in your portfolio and are broadly aware of the risks that are associated with the stock.

I have been following a lot of recommendations over the last 2 weeks and have come up with this selection from different experts, both from Fund houses and brokerage houses:-

  • Birla Cable
  • Engineers India
  • Escorts
  • Federal Bank
  • Heidelberg Cement
  • Hindustan Oil Exploration 
  • Himadri Speciality Chemicals
  • ICICI Bank
  • L & T Finance Holdings 
  • NALCO
  • NBCC
  • Petronet LNG
  • Sonata Soft
  • South Indian Bank

You can start investing in these with the basic rules in place – buy in small lots, stagger your purchases, be aware of important events such as state election results, be in cash to take advantage of sudden market changes etc. If you have 5 lacs plus to invest, you can look at the next 4-5 months to put your money in. With a lower amount, look at the next 2-3 months and invest in fewer stocks, not the whole lot.

A disclaimer here will be in order – I have a few of these stocks and am actively considering the option of adding the rest to my secondary portfolio between now and end of the year.

Stock ideas for potential gains this Diwali

Now that the markets seem to have stabilised a little over the last 2 weeks, there is a return of investor interest in terms of making new Diwali investments. The Muharat trading is traditionally supposed to be a good omen for the rest of the year and with so many stocks being battered down in 2018, there are quite a few opportunities in terms of investing in some that will potentially give good returns in next few months.

I have been going over a lot of expert picks and have also gone over a lot of data recently, to come up with a few stock names that make a lot of sense to invest in. These look good from both a technical and a fundamental standpoint and most can give a return of 6 – 10 % in the coming months. With our markets being hostage to liquidity as well as political news in election season, the risks cannot be disregarded altogether, but life has to go on and these picks are more likely to do well than many others.

So without further ado, here are my suggestions of stocks along with their target prices :-

  • Hindalco with a target price of 258
  • HDFC with a target price of 1910
  • Sterlite Tech with a target price of 390
  • Raymond with a target price of 790
  • CEAT Tyres with a target price of 1260
  • Vedanta with a target price of 235
  • IB Real Estate with a target price of 99
  • HDFC Standard Life with a target price of 430
  • Hero Motocorp with a target price of 3200
  • Intense Technologies with a target price of 75

You will need to do a bit of reading and fact finding on these stocks, mainly in terms of their Q2 results before you take the plunge. As always, buy on dips and in small lots when you are building up the portfolio. Look at this portfolio as a means of making some money between this Diwali and the next ( or well before that ). For long term portfolio building, the considerations are very different and you can read my posts on the secondary portfolio I am currently building.

Wishing all my readers and their families a very happy and prosperous Diwali.

My current stock portfolio – the best by value

When you have a portfolio for the length of time I have had, the best stocks either by value or by overall returns keep changing. Within that you will have spectacular successes and abysmal failures at different points in time. However, in the long term there will be some stocks that form the bulk of your portfolio and these are normally also the ones providing you with your best returns.

Based on the current market turmoil, I wanted to take stock of my stock portfolio and it was interesting to see that, though depleted in value, several of the stocks that have done well by me earlier are still holding fort. The ones I am talking about here are all above 3 lacs in value right now. It was of course a lot more earlier and can be so again.

So here are the stocks in terms of percentage of portfolio as well as the return multiple :-

  • Maruti – 5.4 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 10 times.
  • Infosys – 5.1 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 3.3 times.
  • TVS Motors – 4.35 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 11 times.
  • M & M – 4.33 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 5.2 times.
  • Mindtree – 4.15 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 6.5 times.
  • HUL – 3.85 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 7.6 times.
  • Bata – 3.8 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 10.6 times. 
  • L & T – 3.45 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 95 times. 
  • ICICI Bank – 3.23 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 3.5 times.
  • ITC – 3 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 2.85 times.
  • TCS – 2.81 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 9.5 times.
  • DRL – 2.61 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 4.8 times.
  • PVR – 2.43 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 7.5 times.
  • Hind Zinc – 2.43 % of current portfolio value and multiple of 5.2 times.

The important thing to note here is that these are good businesses, I bought them over a period of time and have held onto them for a long time now. As an example, I bought L & T through convertible debentures, way back in 1992, and it has paid me handsomely. Note also that the above stocks constitute about 50 % of my portfolio value currently. 

I think this is good evidence that building a long term  portfolio with stocks of good companies is one of the best ways to make your money work. Importantly, all these companies pay good dividends and that serves me well as part of my passive income.

So far so good – but are these also giving the best returns? Not necessarily as I will show you in the next post.

My stock purchases – update #3

October has been a really bad month for the markets and what is more it came after a terrible September too. Like many other investors my equity portfolio, be it stocks or MF has taken a very bad hit. As far as my primary portfolio goes I am not too worried about it as that is a long term one and, even at my current stage in life, I can afford not to draw money form it for the next 10 years or so. I do need to review and quite possibly rationalise some holdings but that can wait for better days.

A lot of my current focus has been on my secondary portfolio – the one where I want to invest about 8 lacs and am hoping to see it grow to about 20 lacs in 10 years. In my two previous posts I had given some details about the stocks I am planning to buy and also a snapshot of it. From now on I will do a post every 10 days or so where I will talk mostly about the changes to it and the new purchases. Readers who are interested in following this series should make an effort at reading my 2 earlier updates for better clarity.

So here are some updates to my portfolio :-

  • I have started buying HDFC Bank and Indusind Bank as of yesterday. Though I am a little wary of banking as a sector, these banks should do well over the period that I have in mind.
  • As usual, I buy in small lots so it is 10 stocks per share that I have begun with.
  • Added some more of my earlier purchases this week as follows:-
    • Tata Motors
    • Intense Technologies
    • BEML
    • BHEL
    • Indiabulls Housing Finance
    • Yes Bank
  • As of now my total invested amount is 5.1 lacs and the portfolio is still in deep red.
  • My top holdings are Tata Motors and Intense Technologies. Together they make up 30 % of my portfolio in terms of invested amount.
  • These are also resulting in most of the portfolio losses currently but I am not too concerned about it as I think they will be on the upswing soon.

What do I look to buy with the 3 lacs I will put into my portfolio still? Well, in this market there are many options but I will largely stick to the 20 odd stocks I have bought so far. In these Banks, NBFCs and some of the other large caps can prove beneficial.

Should you be buying in this market when there is every possibility of further cuts over the next few months or so? Yes, definitely – you are getting Yes Bank at 180, Tata Motors at 170 and many others are attractive in terms of prices. Buying stocks now or at least investing in MFs is the best decision you can make for your money.

As for my portfolio, my prediction is it will be in the green by the time 2019 is here.

My stock purchases – update #2

To begin with, let me wish all my readers a very happy Dussehra. Though our markets do not offer any cheer right now, I hope all of you had a great time with your family and friends. I certainly had a nice time courtesy both my children being hone during Durga Pujas after quite a few years.

As far as the markets go, they did look up for a couple of days but then the sharp cuts came once more. The opinions are divided along these lines – this is either a bull market with bearish phases or a bear market now. In my opinion, it is really the first for large caps and may well be the latter for mid caps and small caps. Though the results season has not started badly, the markets do not seem enthused by it at all. In the current situation more downsides are normal and stock selection opportunities are galore.

Back to my secondary portfolio that I want to invest 8 lacs in. Read the below in conjunction with my earlier update for better understanding. Right now these are my thoughts as to how I will go about it in October and November.

  • I am primarily sticking to large caps and the exceptions are only for companies I have invested in earlier or know reasonably well.
  • OMC’s and NBFC’s have been beaten down a great deal and may well give great returns over the time frame of my secondary portfolio.
  • It is risky to catch a falling knife – I bought Indiabulls Housing at 800 and again at 685 but it is now trading at 653. While I do not regret the purchases, it shows that stocks can fall to any level when there is selling pressure without any real demand.
  • BEML was the other stock I bought at 600. I am quite convinced about the long term prospects of the company, given the business it is in. India will be engaged in a lot of construction over the next decade or so and this company will benefit greatly.
  • I also bought some of MOIL and EIL, mainly based on the businesses they are in and my own assessment of how it will do in the future. Prices were attractive too.
  • As of now I have invested about 4.25 lacs so there is some way to go yet.

The current stocks in my portfolio then are as follows :-

  • BEML
  • BEL
  • BHEL
  • CIPLA
  • Elgi Equipment
  • Engineers India
  • Federal Bank
  • Global Vectra
  • HPCL
  • ICICI Bank
  • Indiabulls Housing
  • IOC
  • Intense Technologies
  • ITC
  • Just Dial
  • MOIL
  • ONGC
  • Orient Abrasives
  • PNB
  • Shilpa Medicare
  • Spicejet
  • Tata Motors
  • Voltas
  • Yes Bank

My plans are to invest more in these stocks for the secondary portfolio unless there is some compelling opportunity to add other stocks. The losses in the portfolio come largely from Tata Motors, Intense, PNB and Yes Bank. Right now these do not bother me too much as all of them are probably at low points in the pricing cycle. I do have plans to buy more on these.

I am still in cash with current availability of about 1 lac and am looking to get another 3 lacs in the next 2 months. These will be used till the end of 2018 and by then I would have investments of 8 lacs in my secondary portfolio.

So there is a lot of action planned over the next 2 months and more !! Let me come back after Diwali and give an update as to where my portfolio building has reached.

How to build your own stock portfolio

I understand that getting started in stocks is not an easy thing with so many experts giving a lot of conflicting advice to you. Some will tell you that you have no hopes of building a good portfolio unless you can understand all kinds of ratios and read Balance sheets like a CA does, others will tell you that going for direct stocks is akin to a horse race where anything you bet on is almost certainly going to lose. Yet others will chide you for thinking anything beyond Mutual funds. After all they are experts and invest only in MF with all kinds of complex strategies, who are you to even think otherwise?

While all of the above has very obvious counters, read my post on Why you must be in direct equity to satisfy yourself on the importance of being in stocks. Building a long term portfolio of direct stocks does take a lot of understanding of the economy, the industry and the business. You can get these only with experience and there is really no magic potion to make you an expert overnight. There is however, a way to get started on building a portfolio of stocks, while you gain this knowledge and experience over time. Is there a guarantee that you will not lose money if you follow my suggestion? Unfortunately not, but the chances of your losing money are indeed very slim.

Without further ado, let me give you the simple steps to what you need to do from scratch:-

  1. Choose the 5 sectors – Auto, Pharma, Banks, IT and FMCG. You can add other sectors at a later date.
  2. From each sector choose 2 market leaders. You can do it by their Market caps or the PE ratios. Honestly, it does not matter a great deal as to which method you are using as long as you are consistent in your approach.
  3. For people focused on names look at DRL, Cadilla, Lupin etc in Pharma. Tata Motors, Maruti, TVS Motors, M & M in Auto etc. SBI, ICICI, HDFC Bank in banks. TCS, HCL Tech, Infosys, Wipro in IT. HUL, ITC, Marico in FMCG.
  4. Decide on a comfortable amount that you can spend every quarter on stocks related investment. Set price triggers based on 200 DMA of the stock. For example, if the 200 DMA of a stock is 3000 and the current market price is 3200 then set the first price trigger at 3000 or just below it.
  5. Stick to this discipline and never go beyond 20 % of your quarterly money in one go. You are in no hurry, wait for the stock price to drop. In the next 6 months there will be many ups and downs. Buy only on downs, let the ups go by without bothering too much.
  6. In a quarter there are bound to be many more bad days than 5, you just need to be patient.
  7. Remember you are building a long term portfolio, so even if you miscalculate and buy at a higher price it does not matter too much. In 10 years the markets will be far higher than 11000 on the Nifty.
  8. Keep adding to each stock regularly, do not start chasing other stocks that seem to be doing better.
  9. Increase your quarterly allocation based on your surplus availability and your comfort level.
  10. Stick to this for 2 years, by then you will have enough knowledge to get to the next level of risk.

Stock investment is like swimming, you will not do it by reading how not to do it. Get started with it and you will see how things work out at a portfolio level – remember, it will never work out for all stocks that you invest in. Also, next time someone advises you on how to pick stocks, ask him about his portfolio and how successful he has been in his own stock portfolio performance. Trust only advisers who put their money where their mouth is.

I will do other more involved posts on stock picking but this one is good enough for all new investors to get started.