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3 Dumb Stock Picking Strategies That You Need to Avoid cover

3 Dumb Stock Picking Strategies That You Need to Avoid!

“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.” – Charlie Munger

Over the last couple of years, since I’ve started investing, I’ve come to know so many strategies followed by different investors. Whether they are- Value pickers (those who buy great businesses at a discounted price), growth picker (those who prefer stocks which are growing at a high pace compared to peers or industry) or income stock pickers (those who invests in stocks which give huge dividends), I have heard of them all.

Apart from them, another category of popular stock picking strategy are the ones who rely on algorithms, programs, expensive arrangements or robo-advisory to pick stocks. And they are also quite successful in making money from the stock market.

However, after interacting with thousands of the Trade Brains’ blog subscribers and also through my personal experience, I’ve also come to know a few dumb strategies that many people use to pick stocks which mostly turn out to be a disaster a few years later down the road. (Btw, I’ve also been a victim of a few such strategies during my rookie days. Therefore, do not feel too bad if you have been using these strategies to pick stocks.)

Now, I totally understand that picking these stupid disastrous strategies are not entirely the fault of the beginners. After all, we are neither educationally trained or psychologically programmed to pick the best strategy that suits our interests. As humans, we generally prefer taking shortcuts and this is one of the biggest reason for the individuals to pick these dumb stock picking strategies.

Nevertheless, knowing the strategies which may turn out to be a catastrophe in the future may help the newcomers to avoid them. Therefore, in this post, we are going to discuss three dumb stock investing strategies that investors need to avoid else it may turn out to be a disaster in the future.

3 Dumb Stock Picking Strategies That You Need to Avoid

1. Investing based on Free Tips/Recommendations.

You are getting consistent stock tips on your phone to buy/sell equities and you finally decided to give it a try. This is one of the most dangerous stock picking strategies. Better you should put that money on a lottery ticket if you are willing to take such a risk.

Moreover, the majority of the free tips or recommendations that you receive on your phone via SMS or WhatsApp these days– are SCAMS. Don’t believe me, then read further regarding the same here: 3 Most Common Scams in Indian Stock Market That You Should be Aware of.

Besides, let’s say you’re discussing the market with a colleague/friend/neighbor and they advised you to invest in a particular stock. Unless they are professionally trained in the market (such as research analyst or investment advisor), most of these recommendations are crap and a definite path for future regrets.

2. Picking a stock because a big investor recently invested in it.

Seriously, this is your strategy? Are you planning to match your investing strategy with that of a big successful investor?

As a matter of fact, you should understand that you can never meet the risk appetite, resources, and exit-strategies of the big investors. There are hundreds of things that may go wrong in this strategy and hence, it’s never a good idea to blindly picking a stock just because a big stock market player invested in it.

Anyways, I agree that following the stock picking strategies and portfolio of big investors can be good learning. However, do your own research before investing and avoid being anchored with big investors’ stock picks.

Also read: Is Copycat Investing Hurting Your Portfolio?

3. Picking a stock because it is continuously going higher

If there is a single lesson that you should learn from this post, then remember this- “Stock prices going upwards is not a reason to buy and prices going down is not a reason to sell.

You should never pick a stock just because it is going higher. Stock prices movement on its own tells nothing.

Here, you need to look into the fundamentals, recent quarterly/annual results, corporate announcements, and other related news to find out the reason of price movement. Always make an informed decision after properly analyzing the company, rather just the price movement.

Bonus

4. Picking a stock because you feel it will go high

Recently, I was talking with one of my friends, Manish, and we begin discussing the equity market. After debating various investing ideas, Manish said that he is planning to buy Tata Motors share because he thinks that its price will re-bounce in upcoming months (Btw, at the time of writing this post, Tata’s share was down by over 57% in last one year).

I knew that Manish didn’t have much investing experience and hence I simply asked why he thinks that Tata Motor’s price will go up. He replied that the price is really down and he’s getting a feeling that the share price will recover and go up in the future.

Now, the share price of Tata Motors ‘may’ or ‘may not’ go up in the future. This is an entirely different discussion which I do not want to start right now. However, the answer that he gave to explain why Tata’s share price may go up is really stupid, right?

If he had talked the stuff like the sales of Tata Motors is going up, or their profit margin is increasing or Tata’s are launching a new vehicle in a segment which may be demanding among the audience, then I might have considered the reasoning. I mean, if someone gives me a factual reason why they believe that the price will go up, then I might discuss it further. However, if the reason is your ‘intuition’ or ‘gut feeling’, I can’t argue much regarding the same.

While investing in stocks, remember that you are not predicting whether it’s gonna rain today or not. Here you are analyzing companies which have fundamentals. There are a lot of pieces of information like the company’s financials, the board of directors talks/speeches, related news etc which are publically available to analyze companies. However, if instead of using these informations, you are making an investment decision based on your intuitions, you should rather be ready for an investment disaster.

Also read:

stock market meme 31

Closing Thoughts:

According to Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, investment can be defined as “An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and a satisfactory return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.”

If you want to make decent returns from the share market, you need to stop speculating and making decisions based on these dumb strategies. If you are new to investing, take your time, learn and start building your own repeatable strategy by properly analyzing the companies which may produce consistent returns in the long term.

That’s all for this post. I hope it was helpful for you. Happy Investing!!

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

thematic investments

Why You Should Try Thematic Investments?

Suppose you believe in an idea and confident that it will perform well in future. For instance, let’s say you are optimistic towards the renewable source of energy. Here, you are assured that the grid and other conventional sources of energy will be replaced by the renewable source of energy like solar or wind energy in the future. And therefore, you want to invest in this idea.

However, you are not certain of the best leading company in this segment to invest. Moreover, you also do not want to invest in the entire energy sector through any sectoral mutual fund as you want to focus just on the renewable energy-related companies. How to proceed further with your investments? Enter the thematic investments.

What is Thematic Investment?

As you might already know, mutual funds also provide an option to invest in different sectors via sectoral funds. For example, pharmaceutical funds focus on pharma companies or banking funds focus on investing in companies in the banking Industry. However, thematic funds are different from the sectoral fund.

Thematic funds are growth-oriented equity funds that focus on investing in a set of companies based (or closely-related) to a particular theme. They follow a top-down approach and targets a broader macro-economic theme on which the fund manager has a good knowledge of. Here, the thematic fund investors studies and understand the impact of structural shift in economics, political, technological, corporate or social trends on sectors, demographics etc which may reveal investable opportunities.

For example, electric vehicles (EVs) can be considered a theme. Here, the thematic fund based on EVs do not just need to focus on one automobile industry, rather they can include a set of industries which are a part of the theme. For example- this theme may include companies from the automobile industry, battery industry, Metal companies involved in making battery parts like Graphite, Aluminium, Carbon, etc, auto-ancillaries industry or any other companies related to the EVs.

A few other popular themes in India right now are digital India, make in India, technological progress, Internet of things, blockchain, environmental sustainability, social security etc.

thematic investments approach-min

Mutual funds vs thematic funds:

As I already mentioned above, thematic funds are different from the mutual funds and here are a few major differences between them:

— Mutual funds are over diversified while thematic funds are compact. Mutual funds invest in somewhere between 40–100 stocks. On the other hand, the number of stocks in thematic funds are smaller, typically between 5–20.

— Mutual funds are rigid and not easily customizable. Although there are thousands of mutual funds available in the Indian market, however, they are not customizable. On the other hand, it’s easier for investors to choose their ideas/sentiments and factor their risk appetite through thematic funds.

— The costs involved with mutual funds are high. For managing a popular active fund, the fund house may charge an expense ratio as high as 2.5-3%. However, the fees involved with thematic funds are comparatively cheaper.

Advantages of Thematic Funds

Here are a few common advantages of thematic funds:

—  Thematic funds are potentially more rewarding compared to diversified mutual funds.

— As thematic funds offer a compact theme, they have a concentrated impact because of news or happenings in other non-related industries.

— There are a lot of publicly available popular themes in the Indian market and hence, finding the right investment opportunity is not a tough task for investors. For example, you can use FYER’s thematic investment platform to try new different themes.

— Thematic funds allow strategic exposure to the investor’s portfolio and encourage common sense investing as themes represent the investor’s ideas and thoughts.

The risk associated with thematic funds:

There’s no denying the fact that no investment strategy is perfect. And the same goes to the thematic investments. By making investments in thematic funds, you are preferring a concentrated theme. This portfolio concentration makes these thematic funds comparatively riskier over diversified mutual funds.

Moreover, there’s also a controversy regarding thematic investments which says that investing in a concentrated idea which is still untested and underappreciated, may not be a sound approach.

Also read:

Closing Thoughts:

A major difference between thematic investments and traditional ones is that the thematic investors look into the future and makes decisions based on the predictions on the future trends or upcoming shift in the structure. On the other hand, traditional investors check the history and weights more importance to past performance, market behavior etc.

Moreover, we cannot deny the fact that themes change fast with time. In the last two decades, we have witnessed massive changes in the industrial and technology theme. Therefore, if you are planning to make thematic investments, be observant and careful regarding the entry and exit decisions. Only enter these funds after you have researched the idea thoroughly.

Nonetheless, if you are able to invest in right thematic funds, they are capable of giving huge returns to the investors compared to other index or diversified funds.

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

6 Best Investment Options for NRIs in India

Since last two decades, India has been rapidly developing as an industrial hub. Day after day, our country is attracting more and more foreign direct investment (FDI). Moreover, these days we can see more and more investments coming from the NRIs to the Indian markets. And this is all happening because the Indian economy and government are offering adequate stability and flexibility to the investors. Not only India is conducive for business growth but our economy is also equipped with an extremely profitable financial market.

The year 2018 was not an immeasurable year for investing in the stocks as it witnessed significant bleeding throughout the year. Nonetheless, a similar situation was observed in any other country across the world. However, if you have a look at the year previous to that i.e. 2017, you would find that India’s stock market yielded around 29% return which was relatively higher than any other economy in the world.

Anyways, financial markets are subject to lots of ups and downs. It goes without saying that you need to undertake end-to-end research before you make your investment decision. Nevertheless, whatever investment option you opt for, it should always depend on your financial goals, liquidity requirement, risk appetite and expected returns.

In this post, we are going to discuss a few of the best investment options for NRIs in India which can provide them with adequate returns depending on their goals and needs.

6 Best Investment Options for NRIs in India.

Here are a few solid investment options in India where you can consider investing if you are an NRI.

— Fixed Deposit

Investing in Fixed Deposit is not only popular among the residents in India but also an attractive investment scheme for the NRIs. Being an NRI, you can open your FD with your NRE, NRO, or FCNR Account. All three of these are the types of bank accounts that an NRI can open in India.

Anyways, how much rate of interest will be applicable to your FD depends on the tenure of your deposit. In general, you can expect to earn interest between 6 to 7% on your account balance. Further, if you are a senior citizen, you would get the privilege of earning an extra interest of one percent. Moreover, this investment option is suitable for risk averse investors as FD is a comparatively safer form of investment.

Note: You can read more about the current Fixed Deposit rates in India here.

— Equity

In case you are an aggressive investor, you can consider investing in the equities listed in the Indian market. If you are an NRI, you can directly invest in the Indian stock market under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PINS) of the RBI.

As an NRI, in order to invest in the stock market in India, you are required to have a bank account (NRE or NRO Account), a trading Account (with a SEBI registered Stock Broker), and a demat account. However, the maximum amount of your investment in the stocks of an Indian company cannot exceed 10% of its paid-up capital.

Further, this is to be noted that, as an NRI, you are not at all permitted to carry out intraday trading and short selling in India. This implies that you need to own the stocks before you can sell them.

— Mutual Fund

These days AMFI is working hard to promote Mutual Funds among the Indian population. Mutual Fund organizations pool money from their investors and then invest the same in the different financial assets. Mutual Funds have moderate risks as they are neither as risky as direct trading in stocks, nor they are as risk-candid as FDs. Further, mutual Fund investments can be highly profitable. There are a plethora of schemes available for Mutual Fund which can choose depending on your risk appetite and financial aspirations.

Anyways, if you are a person residing outside India, you would, unfortunately, face some limitations in mutual fund investing in India because of some rigid FATCA regulations. You are required to have an NRE or NRO Account for investing in the Indian Mutual Fund industry. Furthermore, you also have to invest in Indian rupees and not in any foreign currency.

Note: If you are new to mutual funds, check out our beginner’s resources for Mutual Fund Investing.

— Public Provident Fund (PPF)

A safer form of investment similar to FD is Public provident fund. PPF is an investment alternative which is backed by the Indian Government. Even if you are an NRI, you can invest in PPF. However, here the maximum limit is Rs 1.5 lakh in a financial year.

You can open your PPF account through a post office or through a branch of any nationalized bank in India. Although PPF comes with a lock-in period of 15 years it is definitely more tax efficient than FD. To know more about PPF, you can read this blog on our website.

— National Pension Scheme (NPS)

If you are looking for another tax-efficient investment option, you can even consider investing in NPS (National Pension Scheme). This is also cost-effective, easily accessible, and tax-efficient way to invest your money.

National Pension Scheme is an Indian Government sponsored pension system. If you invest in this instrument, your entire capital during maturity is treated as tax-free. Apart from that, you are not required to pay even a penny to the government as tax on the amount that you withdraw as pension. If you are an NRI aged between 18 and 60 years, you can open an NPS Account to start investing in this scheme. Click here to know more about NPS.

— Real Estate

It’s a fact that there are a lot of NRIs who stay abroad but look to buy their own house in India. Indian population is ever-growing and this is itself paving way for the advancement of Real Estate business in the nation. Being an NRI you can invest in a house property in India from where you can earn handsomely by letting it out to a third party.

However, this is to be noted that, you have to make any such purchases only in Indian rupee. Furthermore, you can’t buy agricultural lands, farmhouses, and plantations in India. Nonetheless, there is no restriction on you to inherit any such property or accepting them as gifts. Check out more on Real Estate investing in this article.

Closing thoughts

In this article, we tried to cover some of the best investment options for NRIs that they can consider if they are  planning to invest their savings in India from abroad.

If you are a profit-loving investor and looking for a long term capital appreciation, you can choose to invest in the Indian stocks or mutual funds. In case you are having a huge corpus, high risk appetite, and high return expectation, you can invest in the real estate sector. Besides, you can invest in an FD if you have a short investment horizon and looking for a guaranteed return. Lastly, you can opt for investing in PPF or NPS if you are willing to earn tax efficient returns and at the same time not bothered to park your money for a longer period of time.

Overall, nn the basis of your priorities, budget and expected returns, you can make a choice of any investing scheme that suits you in the most effective manner. While making any investment in a financial instrument, ensure that you have gone through the relevant documents and understood the salient features of the same.

Our best wishes on your investment journey. Happy investing!

random walk theory cover

Warning: Random Walk Theory may change the way you look at stocks

The Random Walk theory is a statistical model of the stock market that shows that stock prices with the same distribution can be independent of each other. In other words, the prices of these securities are not influenced by past events in the market.

The random walk theory was developed by Burton G Malkiel, a professor at Princeton University and was discussed in his book A Random Walk Down Wall Street. The theory applies to trading securities and states that movements in the price of a stock are random and that any research conducted to predict future price movements is a waste of time.

What is the random walk theory?

The random walk theory does not involve the technical analysis of a stock which uses historical data to predict future prices. Nor is it a fundamental analysis to study the financial health of a company. It is, however, a hypothetical theory that states that the prices of the stock move at random. The random walk theory asserts that stock returns can’t be reliably predicted, and stock movements are just like the ‘steps of a drunk man’, which no one can foretell.

This theory is based on the assumptions that the prices of securities in the market moves at random and the price of one security is completely independent of the prices of the all the other securities.

It’s as random as flipping a coin

A random walk down the wall streetThe concept of random walk theory goes all the way back to a book published in 1834 by Jules Regnault who tried to create a ‘stock exchange science’. This was further developed by Maurice Kendall in a 1953 paper that suggested that share prices moved at random. The hypothesis was popularised by Malkiel in his best selling book A Random Walk Down Wall Street.

To prove his theory Prof. Malkiel conducted a test. He gave his students a hypothetical stock worth $50. At the end of the day, he would flip a coin which would determine the closing price for the stock. Heads meant the closing price would be a half point up while Tails meant the price would be half-price down. This meant there was a 50-50 chance of the price going up or down. Prof. Malkiel and his students tried to determine the market trends from the prices.

Using the results gathered from the test, the professor went to see a chartist. A chartist is a person who predicts future movements in stocks based on past trends and believes that history repeats itself.

Looking at the results, the chartist told the professor to buy the stock immediately. However, the coin flips were random and the stock did not have any historical trend. Prof. Malkiel used this example to argue that movements in the stock market were as random as flipping a coin!

What are the implications of random walk theory?

Many people only invest in a stock because they believe that is worth more than they are paying. However, the random walk theory suggests that is not possible to predict the movement in the stock prices. This means that investors cannot outperform the market in the long-run without taking on an inordinate amount of risk. The only solution is for an investor to invest in a market portfolio (such as an index) which is a representation of the total stock market. Any changes in the stock prices in the market will be reflected in the portfolio.

In addition to this, if the short-term movements of stock are random, investors can no longer buy stocks based on the time-value of money theory. Therefore, a buy and hold strategy will be ineffective as stocks can be bought and sold at any point of time.

Criticisms of the theory

One of the criticisms to the random walk theory is that it ignores the trends in the market and various momentum factors that have an impact on the prices. Many critics say that the price is affected by many trends and very often these trends are very hard to identify and it may take a large amount of historical data and fundamental analysis to figure it out. But just because these trends are hard to recognize, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

Another criticism states that the stock market is vast and there are a countless number of elements that can have a large impact on stock prices. There a large number of investors in the market and each trader has a different way of trading. Hence, it is likely that trends emerge over a period of time which would allow an investor to earn a return in the market by buying the stock at low prices and selling at high prices.

Also read:

A Non-random walk

As a refute to the random walk theory, there are a number of technical analysts who contend that the price of a stock can be predicted on past trends and historical data. They believe that traders who can analyze these trends and make predictions have the ability to outperform the market with their superior knowledge.

Then there is the luck factor. The random walk theory states that only way a trader can outperform the market is purely by chance. This is an inaccurate statement, however, because there are some traders such as Paul Tudor Jones who managed to continuously outperform the market. It is more likely that technical analysis of the stock market is in play here and not just dumb luck.

However, it is important to remember that technical analysis can only help predict the probable changes in stock prices and not the actual price.

Conclusion

Choosing to trade based on the random walk theory is based on the preferences of each trader. If you believe that stock prices are random, it would be best to invest in a suitable ETF or mutual fund and hope for a bull market. But if you truly believe that trends and predictable and that stocks can be traded based on historical data then you should use your technical and fundamental analysis skills to actively trade in the stock market.

Is Negative Price To Earnings of Stocks a Bad Sign for Investors cover

Is Negative Price To Earnings a Bad Sign for Investors?

Price to earnings ratio is definitely one of the most frequently used valuation ratio used by the investors to evaluate a company. Although I do not use this ratio too often, however, every now and then I check the PE of companies and industries to try to look them from a different angle.

Recently, I was going through the list of companies which are not making profits, in other words, losing money. Therefore, I run a simple query on stock screener to find the list of companies with negative earnings per share for the trailing twelve months.

Not surprisingly, I found the names of a lot of big companies in that list. A few of such companies with negative Earnings per share (EPS) for the trailing twelve months were State bank of India (SBI), Lupin, Adani Power, Tata Communication, Idea, Bank of Baroda, Future consumers etc. Here is a detailed list of such companies:

company with negative earnings

(Source: Trading View)

And obviously, when the earning of a company is negative, their Price to earnings will also be negative. Seeing so many big names in the list of companies with negative PE, it is easy to conclude that there will be thousands of people investing in companies that are losing money.

Therefore, in this post, I decided to discuss whether negative price to earnings of a company a bad sign for the investors. Let’s get started!

How Price to Earnings ratio is calculated?

As the name suggests, Price to earnings ratio is calculated by dividing the current market price per share by its earning per share.

PE ratio

For example, if the share price of a company is Rs 100 and the annual earning per share is Rs 20, then the Price to earnings ratio will be equal to 100/20 i.e. 5.

PE ratio of a company reflects how much people are willing to pay for that share compared to each Rs 1 in earnings. For example, for a company with a PE ratio, 5 means that the people are ready to pay a premium of 5 times for every Rs 1 of earnings. And obviously, the lower this premium, the better it is for the investors.

PE ratio is frequently used by the investors to find if a stock is undervalued or overvalued. Usually, a company with a lower PE ratio is a better valued. For example, a company with PE of 8 is comparatively undervalued against a company with a PE of 12.

Also read: No-Nonsense way to use PE Ratio.

Negative Price to Earnings

Basically, the share price of a company cannot go negative. Therefore, if the price to earnings is negative, it means that the company has negative earnings.

Although it is advisable to invest in companies with lower PE ratio, however, when this ratio becomes negative, it might not be favorable for the investors.

A negative price to earnings means that the company is not making profits and hence, why do you wanna invest in companies who are losing money? As a thumb rule, avoid investing in companies with negative price to earnings. If you want to live by a single rule for PE, then this might work perfectly well for you.

Moreover, a company with consistent negative PE means that it is not able to generate profits for a long period of time and therefore, it may fall into trouble while running its normal business operations and in the worst case, it may face the risk of bankruptcy.

Quick note: Most financial websites do not show the negative price to earnings for a company. In general, they will use the word ‘Not applicable’ or ‘ — ’ for the companies with a negative price to earnings.

When negative price to earnings might not be a bad sign.

A few industries like pharmaceutical or technology may have negative earnings if they are extensively spending in their research and development. Although it may be unfavorable for them in the short run, however, if they are able to spend their money in the right direction, it may be a good expenditure for the long term.

For example, if a pharmaceutical company is able to build a medicine for a rare disease and gets a patent for it, the company may generate a lot of profits through that research in the future.

Similarly, if a technology company is able to create a disruption through its research (a few of such trending technologies right now are artificial intelligence, deep learning or blockchain), they might be able to create a competitive advantage and generate profits in long run. And therefore, many investors are willing to invest in such industries even when they are not making money.

Note: Sometimes, a company may also have a negative PE because of the change in accounting norms or because of a few unexpected occurrences. In such scenario, you should not consider it as a bad sign and may wanna investigate further.

How to correctly analyze negative PE ratio?

While studying the price to earnings of a company, compare the PE with the competitors and historical performance. If the company’s PE is consistently falling for the last many years, it may be a warning sign. Further, if the PE of all the other competitors is positive and decently high, then the negative price to earnings for that company may be a caution sign.

Further, comparing the price to earnings of the company with the industry average can also give you a rough idea regarding the situation of that company.

Also read: #19 Most Important Financial Ratios for Investors

Closing Thoughts

In general, it is preferable for the investors to stay away from companies with a negative price to earnings. As an investor, you should find fundamentally strong companies to invest which are consistently making money.

If a company is consistently reporting a negative PE for a longer duration of time, then you should be concerned about it. Anyways, in a few industries, have a look at the company’s expenditure on Research and development by peeking in their income statement. This can give you an idea if the company is working on any cutting edge research or simply losing money in their operations.

Finally, never make your investment decision based on just one ratio. Price to earnings ratio is just a valuation tool. Apart from PE ratio, also look into other quantitative and qualitative aspects before making your choice.

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

deep value investing cover

What is Deep Value Investing?

Deep value investing is an intense version of value investing which focuses on buying stocks at a much higher discount to intrinsic value in comparison to value investing. This results in an increase in the potential reward and risk of the investment.

Background

Traditional value investors have the belief that the market will misjudge stock prices in the short-term and hence they prefer to conduct their own fundamental analysis on stocks that they feel may be undervalued. They first determine the intrinsic value of these stocks and compare it with their current market value. Value investors usually invest in stocks where the market value is below its intrinsic value.

Nonetheless, value investors don’t invest in every undervalued stock they come across as each investor has a different level of margin of safety with regards to the market price and intrinsic value. The major difference between value and deep value investing is that deep value investors require a higher margin of safety.

This high margin of safety means that the return potential of the stock will be high but the risk associated with the stock increases as well. Hence deep value investing is usually followed by those investors who understand their strategies and can fully trust their investment decisions.

Benjamin’s Graham’s deep value investment philosophy

Benjamin Graham defined intrinsic value as the value that a businessman places on a business. He believed it was more important to assess the true value of a company based on the numbers present on financial statements such as the assets, earnings, and dividends. He would use these figures to come up with the fair value of the stock. (Also read: How to Find Intrinsic Value of Stocks Using Graham Formula?)

However, Graham would only buy the stock if it was discounted at 1/3rd (or more) of its intrinsic value. For example, if the intrinsic value of a stock calculated by Benjamin Graham turns out to be at $162, then he would only consider purchasing that stock if it is trading at $108 or less.

Anyways, there are multiple calculation methods that investors can use when valuing stocks such as Discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, dividend discount model (DDM) and relative valuation tools like the price to earnings, price to book value or price to sales.

How do deep value investors assess the fair value of the stock?

Deep value investors usually buy stock in companies that trade below their liquidation value-although finding such companies is rare. In assessing the fair value of the stock, deep value investors use valuation methods that range in their level of conservativeness. Following are the ways, deep value investors assess the fair value of a company’s stock:

  • Most of the low conservative deep investors look at the future earnings of a company ignoring the fact whether the company has a competitive advantage or not. However, there are also a few investors in this group who look at the firm’s competitive advantage which can be used in the future to earn much higher returns.
  • Slightly conservative deep investors look at the firm’s ability to produce a profit. The earning power of the company is mostly determined based on past earnings with reference to price to earnings (PE) ratio.
  • Highly conservative deep investors look at the book value which involves looking at all the assets held by the company to determine its fair value. They also check Net current asset value, Networking capital and dividends.

Deep value investors use highly conservative strategies the most when looking for stocks that are traded at very low prices.

Deep value Returns

If you are a new investor, you need to use simple strategies that yield the highest return. In other words- deep value is the way to go. Deep value investing in coherence with traditional investing can help an investor earn very high returns. When conducting a conservative assessment of stock value, those stocks with a low price relative to book and current asset value generate very high returns. But remember with higher reward come higher risk.

Deep value Risk

The major risk involved in deep value investing is ending up in a value trap. This is where a stock may seem to be a good investment based on a quantitative analysis with financial ratios like low PE, low price to book value. However, the investor may overlook the ‘qualitative’ factors associated with the stock.

There is often an underlying reason why such stocks trade at a low price. It could be the result of problems with the management of the company or the lack of growth potential. There can be a fundamental problem in the company that is not reflected in its finances. Whatever it may be, an investor needs to be able to spot the reason for the low stock price. If they fail to do so, they end up in a value trap.

Also read:

Conclusion

Deep value investing can reap high rewards if you are willing to take the risk. A deep value stock usually exists when the company is in a difficult situation. It may take time for the company to recover and eventually generate returns. However, as with any investment, you need to be patient.

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What is the difference between Face Value, Market Value & Book Value?

Recently when I was navigating my Quora profile, I got an answer request for the question what is the difference between face value and market value of a company. Although both these are elementary terms related to stocks, however, they may be a little confusing for the beginners. Therefore, I decided to write a simple blog explaining the difference.

In this post, we are going to discuss the difference between Face Value, Market Value, and Book Value of a stock. Let’s start with the easiest.

Market Value

Market value per share is the current value of the stock. This is the price at which market values the stock. For example, if a stock is trading at a share price of Rs 100, then this is the market value per share of that company. The market value per share of a company fluctuates continuously throughout the trading time period.

Further, the total market value of a company, also referred as the market capitalization of the public company, is calculated by multiplying the current share price of the company by its total outstanding shares. 

face value and book value-minFace Value

Face value (also known as par value) is the value of a company listed in its books and share certificate. The company decides the face value when it offers shares at the time of issuance. The face value of a share is fixed (until the company decides to split or reverse-split the shares).

For example, during the IPO of Avenue Supermart (Parent company of D’mart Supermarkets), the management decided the face value per share to be Rs 10. Here is the details:

D mart IPO-min

(Source: Avenue supermart IPO details- Chittorgarh)

In general, the face value of a company is lower than its market value. For example, when a company goes public, it can have a face value of Rs 10. And it may trade at a market price of Rs 500.

However, this case is not always true. For example, in the case of penny stocks, the face value of the company may be higher than its market value. Penny stocks are those companies which trade at a share price less than Rs 10. Therefore, here the market price may be Rs 5 and the face value of the company may be Rs 10.

Further, the face value of a company is not affected by whether the market price goes up or down. However, the face value of a company will reduce in the case of a stock split. For example, if the current face value of a company is Rs 10 and it announces a stock split in the ratio of 1:1. Then, the face value of that company will split in the same proportion. Here, the face value will change to Rs 5 as the total number of share doubles after the stock split.

Also read: Stock split vs bonus share – Basics of stock market

Book Value

In simple words, the book value of a company theoretically means the total value of the company’s assets that shareholders will receive in case the company gets liquidated i.e. when all company’s assets get sold and all the liabilities are paid back to all the debt-holders. Therefore, book value can be considered as the net value of the company reflected in its books.

The book value is calculated as total assets minus intangible assets (patents, goodwill) and liabilities. When you divide the book value of a company by it the total number of outstanding shares, you arrive at the book value per share.

You can compare the book value per share of a company with its market price to find whether the company is under or overvalued. Further, its always advisable to invest in companies with growing book value over time.

For example- here is the book value of ASIAN PAINTS:

face value and book value-min

(Source: Moneycontrol)

Where to find the face value, book value and market value of a company?

The face value, book value and market value of a company can be found on almost all financial websites.

Whenever you open the company page on any financial websites, the first thing that you’ll notice is its market value per share. However, just by cruising a little, you can easily find face value and book value per share of the company. For example, here is the face value, market value and book value per share for Asian Paints. (Source- Screener).

screener face value market value and book value-min

(Source- Screener)

You can also find this information on other popular financial websites like Yahoo Finance, Marketsmojo, Equitymaster etc.

Also read:

Bottom line

By now, the meaning of face value, market value, and book value should be clear to you. All these three terms are different and one should not get confused among them while studying any company.

Market value per share is the current value at which the stock is trading in the market. Face value is the value of a company listed in its books of the company and share certificate. And finally, the book value of a company is the total value of the company’s assets that shareholders will receive in case the company gets liquidated.

That’s all for this post. I hope it was useful to you. Happy Investing!!

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

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How do oil prices affect the stock market?

Crude oil is considered to be one of the most important commodities in the global economy. It is versatile in its uses and helps industrialize economies. A variety of things from plastics to rubber and machinery uses crude oil or its byproduct, making it a crucial element in the raw materials for many businesses in the economy.

Hence it is no surprise that the stock market is often influenced by the price of oil. It can affect an individual investor or have a domino effect on the stock market. Here are some of the ways oil prices affect the stock market:

How do oil prices affect the stock market?

– Profitability of oil companies

The oil business has two main components to it, the upstream and downstream business.

The upstream business is involved in the drilling of oil wells and the manufacture of crude oil in industries. Examples of such businesses include Oil India and Shell.  When these companies are profitable it usually results in high stock market prices because the crude oil manufactured by these companies is the raw material for many businesses.

If upstream companies find it hard to drill for oil and face an increase in research and development costs, it could have an adverse effect on the value of the oil company’s stock.

The second type of oil business is the downstream business. These are corporations involved in the distribution and retail function of crude oil. They are in control of your local gas stations such as Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum. These companies find low crude oil prices beneficial as they can now purchase crude oil at a low price from upstream companies.

– Consumer Demand

Almost everything that a person consumes is tied to oil such as electricity or fuel for their cars.

An increase in the price of oil can raise the daily living costs for people, reducing the amount of money they have available to spend on other goods and services such as electronics or clothing. The revenue of these companies decreases as consumer demand for their goods and services falls. The negative effect on the earning of firms lowers the value of their stock.

Alternatively, a decrease in oil prices has the opposite effect. When consumers spend less on fuel, it gives them more money for other goods and services. The increase in demand raises earnings and has a positive impact on the stock market.

How do oil prices affect the stock market cover

– Profitability of other industries

Since all businesses use a byproduct of oil, an increase or decrease in the price of oil can indirectly affect them as well.

If the price of oil increases, a delivery services company will face higher fuel costs. These costs will be translated to consumers as high prices for their services. The low earnings of the company will result in low stock prices for the industry.

Likewise, if oil prices decrease, the companies can charge lower prices to consumers and have high profitability and higher share prices. In reality, however, companies rarely lower the prices of goods and services if the price of raw materials has decreased.

– Impact on Inflation

The price of oil can directly or indirectly increase or decrease costs of goods and services in the economy and can result in inflation. In the United States, the price of oil is not considered a factor when the inflationary rate is calculated but its price can cause a ripple effect in the economy through industries that use crude oil as a raw material.

If oil prices rise, it can increase the cost of living for individuals, putting a pressure on wage rates to make up for this. The high labor costs increase the costs of goods and services and increase the rate of inflation in the economy as each dollar can now buy fewer goods and services. When inflation rises the stock prices of the industry decline.

Also read:

– Effect on Imports

For countries such as India that import almost 80 percent of its crude oil, a decrease in the price of oil is beneficial because it decreases imports expenditure and stabilizes the exchange rate of the currency.

However, a reduction in oil prices isn’t always great for the stock market. There is a positive relationship between the Foreign Direct Investment and the price of oil. When the price of oil goes up, oil-rich countries invest in emerging oil markets like India. However, when prices go down, they withdraw their investments.

Hence with a fall in oil prices, few foreign investors will invest their money in the Indian stock markets resulting in a negative impact on stock prices.

Conclusion

The versatility of the crude oil has made it an influential factor in the increase and decrease of stock prices. The price of oil not only affects the stock of oil companies but also the stocks of industries that use it a byproduct of it.

While the exact amount of influence it has on stock prices cannot be calculated, the price of this commodity can increase or decrease the total costs of production of many goods and services. This can affect the amount of goods people consume to exchange rate and the level of foreign direct investment which collectively affect the stock prices in an economy.

Needless to say, the price of crude oil has the ability to affect the level of investment in the economy and influence stock prices.

How to evaluate the cash of a business cover

How To Evaluate The Cash Of A Business?

You might have heard the phrase ‘Cash is the king’.

A cash-rich business means that the company has enough cash left after paying all its expenses and debts. For the company with high cash, it simply means more liquidity and opportunities for the business.

However, very high cash is also not good for a company as it means that the company is leaving potential investment opportunities. Overall, low cash can affect business stability and high cash can reduce its efficiency.

And therefore, it is really crucial to understand the cash position of business before investing. In this post, we are going to discuss how to evaluate the cash-rich businesses to understand whether the company has low, sufficient or excess cash.

Cash and cash equivalents

When it comes to evaluating the cash position of a company, the investors look into the cash and cash equivalents (CCE) section of the balance sheet.

These are the company’s assets that are cash or can be converted into cash fast. Here, cash equivalents can be defined as the assets that can be converted into cash within 3 months like Money market funds, Short-term Government bonds, Treasury bills, Marketable securities etc.

All cash and cash equivalents are recorded in current assets segment of the balance sheet and are the most liquid asset of a company. Now, let’s understand the two common scenarios with respect to the cash level of a business.

Case 1: Low cash

When a business has low cash, it can be little worrisome for the company as it may have or will face some problems to pay short-term obligations.

In case of sufficient cash, companies can easily settle short-term debts (obligations), make an in-time purchase of new inventories/equipment, buy into lucrative investments/new technology, grab mergers and acquisition opportunities, increase dividends etc.

However, lack of adequate cash may push the company towards potential short-term problems. As a thumb rule, avoid investing in companies with low cash balance.

too much cash

Case 2: High Cash

Although high cash helps a company in staying out of trouble of short-term obligations, supporting regular business operations in tough times, funding in its growth, superior performance etc. However, many times, excess cash be a little unfavorable.

Too much cash in company’s balance sheet simply means that the company is leaving potential investment opportunities to invest in the growth of its business operations or investments in other higher return instruments.

As Warren Buffett used to say- “Cash is the king. But it’s not much help if the king just sits there and does nothing.”

Too much cash reflects the inefficiency of the management to utilize it properly.

How to evaluate the cash of a business?

The cash position of a company can be evaluated using cash to current assets ratio. This ratio reflects the percentage of the total assets by cash and cash equivalents

Cash to current assets ratio = (Cash and cash equivalents)/(Current assets)

Although ideal cash and cash equivalents depend highly on the industry, however, as a thumb rule, cash to assets ratio of more than 40% can be considered to be excessive cash for the company.

Now, let us calculate the cash to current assets ratio of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) from its balance sheet.

HUL Balance sheet

(Source: Yahoo finance)

From the above statement, you can find the cash and cash equivalents (CCE) and total current assets of HUL over the years. For the year ending March 2018, the cash to current assets ratio turns out to be equal to 5.57%, which can be considered decent. (Quick note: You need to check this ratio over the past few years and compare with the competitors to better understand the cash position of HUL).

Also read:

A word of caution:

Although having high cash is good for businesses, but it is equally important to understand the source of that cash i.e. where that cash is coming from?

There are different ways for a company to pile up cash. Apart from the profitability of the business operations, a few other ways to build cash is by taking debt or selling its assets. And both of the later two ways to generate cash is not favorable for a company as a high debt means greater interest obligations. Further, selling the assets to pile up cash may affect the future profitability of the company.

Therefore, you should always check the source of cash for the cash-rich businesses. You can find out this by looking at the cash-flow statement of a company.

In the cash flow statement, check the cash from operating activities. If this is consistently increasing, it’s a positive sign and means that the company is able to generate profits from its core businesses operations. Further, also check the cash from investing activities to find out purchase or sale of assets. Finally, also look into the debt obligations of the company for the long-term and find out its trend over years.

Note: If you are new to the financial world and want to learn how to effectively read the financial statements of companiesfeel free to check out this awesome online course on Introduction to Financial Statements & Ratio Analysis.

Bottom line

The cash of a business can be roughly evaluated by navigating the cash and cash equivalent section in the company’s balance sheet. Here, cash to current assets ratio is used to check the cash level of a company.

A company should have sufficient cash to effectively run its short-term operations. However, huge cash can also be little troublesome for a company as it reflects the management’s inefficiency to use the cash productively.

That’s all. I hope this post is useful to you. Happy Investing!!

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

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How to find the last 10 year financial statements of Indian Companies?

Reading the financial statements of a company is a key part of fundamental analysis which no investor should ignore.

Here, the investors need to read at least 5-10 years financial reports of the company in order to understand its performance, growth rate, trends, consistency etc. For example- a high profit for just one or two years is not sufficient to approach at any conclusion. However, if you can find that the bottom line of the income statement is consistently growing at a good pace for the last 5-10 years, this may be a healthy sign for the company.

In short, it’s imperative for the investors to read (and understand) the financial statements of a company before investing.

However, for the beginners, finding the last 10-year financial statements of Indian companies may look a tedious job. Besides, because of so many paid/subscription-based plans available for detailed financial statements of companies, it might be a little challenging for the newbies to decide whether to go for a paid plan or surf the internet to download the reports for free.

Paid plans are generally beneficial as they provide comprehensive reports and tools. However, they are often more useful to the professions, rather the retail investors. For the common investors, it’s better to use the free websites/resources to find the last 10 year financial statements of Indian companies.

In this post, we are going to discuss the free websites and resources to find and download the financial statements of Indian companies. Let’s get started!

How to find the last 10 year financial statements of Indian companies?

1. Company’s official website

The company’s website is the first and foremost source to find its financial statements. You can download the quarterly and annual reports of any company by visiting its official website and navigating to the ‘Investors’ or ‘Investor’s relations’ page.

tcs website

However, to arrange the last 10-year reports, here you might have to download the annual reports one-by-one manually. Nonetheless, this is the best source for the investors to download the financial statements of publically listed Indian companies.

2. Financial websites.

There are a number of free financial websites in India which provide the customized five to ten years financial statements of Indian companies, all at one place. Two of simplest financial websites that beginners should know are:

Screener is a simple, clean, yet powerful website. Here, you can also download the financial statements of a listed Indian company in the excel sheet.

For downloading the financial statements, simple go the screener website and search for your interested company in the search bar. Next, go to the company page where you can find ‘Export to Excel’ option.

screener asian paints

Quick Note: You need to create a login account on Screener in order to download the excel report.

Money control is probably one of the most popular financial websites in India for researching stocks and other financial instruments.

To download the financial statements of the Indian company, go to the company page on the money control website. Next, select the ‘financials’ option in the left tab and click on the financial statement (profit and loss statement, balance sheet or cash flow statement) that you would like to download.

moneycontrol

A few other websites that you can visit to find the financial statements of Indian companies are Yahoo Finance, Equity Master, Marketsmojo, Marketsmojo etc.

Also read: 7 Must-Know Websites for Indian Stock Market Investors.

3. Stock exchange websites

bseindia-min

Finally, you can always visit the stock exchanges (NSE/BSE) website to download the financial statements of an Indian company. The exchanges are continuously working to improve their website and its UI is far better compared to what it used to be a few years ago.

To download the financial statements, search for the company name in the top search bar and open the company page. You can find the annual results and reports in the financial section on the company page. 

Also read:

Closing Thoughts:

Although there are so many options for the investors to find the last 10 year financial statements of Indian companies, however, the easiest and best one is the company’s official website.

A notable problem with the financial websites is that they have to adjust the financial data a little to customize with their layout and hence the data shown on their website may not be exactly accurate. Moreover, there have also been cases where the financial data reflected on these financial websites doesn’t match with that of financial statements declared by the company (this may be because of human or computer error while gathering the data). Therefore, its always advisable to download the annual reports of the companies from their official website while researching the company as it is a more reliable source.

Nonetheless, an easier approach that investors can follow is to use these financial websites for a quick study and later download the annual reports from the company’s website/NSE/BSE while performing the detailed study.

That’s all for this post. I hope it is useful to you. Happy Investing!!

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

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6 things you should NOT do when the stock market is Volatile!

Investing in the stock market is known to provide some of the highest long-term returns and can earn investors a profit in manifolds over the years.

People invest in stocks to reach their financial goals and earn a profit on their savings. It is a way to make money work for you rather than you working for the money.

What is stock market volatility?

Investing in stocks is a risky business. While investors can earn a high return on shares, we cannot overlook the volatility that comes with it.

Volatility can be described as the continuous change in the prices of stocks over a short period of time. Here, the price of stocks can rise on a certain day and can fall the very next day. For example, you may have seen situations where Sensex may have fallen over 400 points in a day and recovered on the very next. This can be considered as volatility.

High volatility also increases the VIX ratio (Volatility Index) also known as the Fear Index. It measures the amount of fear in the market as a result of the volatility.

The fear caused by a volatile market makes investors react in many different ways. Some start to panic as their investments get riskier and try to sell & exit the market. On the other hand, there are contrarian investors, who prefer investing only in situations when others are selling. Anyways, as shares start to lose value, investors often make hasty decisions that can result in terrible outcomes.

6 things you should NOT do when the stock market is volatile!

Here are six things investors should not do when the stock market is volatile:

1. Don’t Panic!

The number one reaction investors have when there is volatility in the market is to panic and make speculations. It is important not to be influenced by fear and do something irrational. Investors can consider buying a stock at a lower price but should not panic-sell. Instead, they should use this period of volatility to evaluate the stocks in their portfolio.

There are often many reasons why a person invests in a particular stock in the first place. If the fundamental values of why you invested in the stock are clear, then you should remain invested. However, if you are not sure of a particular investment, meet with your financial planner to decide a course of action to exit the market.

Remember, volatility in the market is only short-term, don’t panic-sell if your long-term objectives of investing in the market haven’t changed.

panic selling

2. Don’t buy JUST BECAUSE prices are low!

When there is volatility in the stock market it is not advisable to invest in the market just because prices are low. This is because there is no guarantee that a stock with a low price today will increase in value in the future. In fact, the price may go even lower and you could end up in a value trap. (Also read- What are value traps?)

You need to analyze the stock’s fundamentals and track record. Look into factors like revenue growth, profit margin, price to earnings, debt-to-equity ratio etc as well as its future potential. If the stock shows a history of riskiness and volatility it would be best not to invest in them. Don’t be a bottom fisher!

3. Don’t believe everything you see on the news!

A sudden ‘breaking news’ segment on the stock market can cause people to make investment decisions that can prove to be disastrous in the future. News reports are not always authentic and often mislead or misguide the investor which can affect the sustainability of a stock.

News reports about the volatility of stock markets are usually short-lived and stock prices will bounce back like a ping-pong ball before you know it. This short-term volatility is often due to a current event in the economy. Once the event has passed, your stock price should be back to normal. As a serious investor, be aware of ‘breaking news’ but don’t follow it blindly.

news

4. Don’t make decisions based on international markets!

During certain periods, there can be a correlation between local and international stock markets. For example, a change in the leadership of a country could affect numerous economies around the world. But statistically speaking, such a correlation does not exist most of the time.

Volatility in the stock market is a reflection of individual events in an economy or movements in the economic cycle. The stock prices are a result of the anatomy of the local economy. For example, the Dow Jones in the US is completely independent of the stock prices in NSE’s NIFTY. Hence, investors should not be influenced by volatility in international markets, there may be various factors that could affect these stock prices.

5. Don’t rush to invest in volatile sectors!

An important rule for investors is to study trends in the market before investing. If there are particular stocks that drive bear markets- avoid these.

A stock that has a financial risk and a low standard of corporate regulations often lead to long-term problems and has a low chance of recovering. These stocks will have short bursts of upward movements but will have a long-term downward trend.

Do a market analysis of the sector you are investing in, if the industry shows a history of high volatility- you should remain of cautious before you invest too much money into it.

6. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket- Diversify your portfolio!

diversification do not put all your eggs in one basket

One of the biggest mistakes an investor can make is not investing in a variety of stocks. If a certain industry shows potential for high returns, it is not a wise decision to invest all your money here. This is because if a certain economic event has a negative impact on the industry- it could result in a huge financial loss for the investor.

It is better to spread your risk and invest in different stocks that are stable, have a strong market presence and good growth potential. Here, even if you face volatility in one of your assets, you have a diverse portfolio of stocks to cover your losses.

An investor looking to reduce their risks and control losses should diversify their portfolio and not invest in too many volatile stocks. Greed can often take over fear and this can prove to be disastrous. Investors need to perform a thorough analysis of the stock market before picking stocks to invest in. If they do not have the bandwidth to do this, they can consult a financial advisor.

Also read:

Follow the tips listed above to help you get through a period of high stock market volatility. While it is important to safeguard your portfolio from the effects of a volatile market, remember the biggest risk is not taking any risk at all.

Measurement Scales Balance Swinging Swing Equality

Is Stock Market Investing a Zero-Sum Game?

One of the most debated questions regarding stock market is that- Is stock market investing a zero-sum game? If someone makes money in the stock market, does it means that someone else must be losing money?

In this post, we are going to demystify this question and try to answer whether stock investing is a zero-sum game or not.

What is a Zero-Sum Game?

A Zero-sum game is a situation where one person’s profit is equivalent to the another’s a loss so that the net change in wealth is Zero.

A few popular examples of zero-sum game is Poker and gambling. In poker, the amount won by one player is equal to the combined losses of the other participants. Please note that there can be two or multiple participants in such games.

Moreover, Zero-sum games are contrary to win-win situations.

poker

Is stock market investing a Zero-sum game?

When it comes to the stock market, the majority assumes that the market is a zero-sum game. After all, the money made by someone should come from a source and most believe that it costs from the other losing participant.

However, this is not true. Investing in stock can be mutually beneficial.

In the share market, trades are based on future expectations and because of the different risk tolerances of the participants.

Just because someone is selling their stock, doesn’t mean he is losing. He might have made substantial profits and willing to book profits. And similarly, if one sells, there’s no reason to think that the next investor can’t profit too. Here, both the parties can be winners.

Overall, a zero-sum game isn’t the right description of investing. As the company expands and becomes more valuable, the stock market can increase the wealth of both the participants & economy over time.

win win situation stocks Is Stock Market Investing a Zero-Sum Game?

Dividends…

An important factor which is invariably ignored while studying the stock market as a zero-sum game is the dividends. As corporations generate profits from the sales, they share a portion of this profits with their shareholders as the dividends.

(There are even cases where the investors get back more money than the original invested amount just as dividends over time.)

If the market was a closed system with just buyers and sellers, somewhere it could be possibly considered as a zero-sum game. However, it is not a closed system as money is consistently pumped into it as dividends by the companies.

Quick Note: The exception to these scenarios are the companies that do not pay dividends.

dividends

Also read:

Closing Thoughts

Investing is not a zero-sum game and both the parties can be winners.

Here, the profit for the participants doesn’t come from the stake of losses by other participants, but from the value created by the company. If one sells a stock, there’s no reason to think that the next investor can’t profit too. As long as the business is performing well, the stock will keep on increasing value without anyone losing the money.

Overall, there doesn’t need to be one winner and other losers. Stock market provides an opportunity for a win-win situation for all.

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

How Does The Stock Market Affect The Economy cover 2

How Does The Stock Market Affect The Economy?

A stock is a type of security that represents an individual’s ownership in a company and a stock market is a place where an investor can buy and sell ownership of such assets.

Trading stock on a public exchange is essential for economic growth as it allows companies to raise capital through public funding, pay off debts or expand the business.

Why do we have a stock market?

The stock market exists for two main reasons, the first is to provide a company with the opportunity to raise capital that can be used to expand and grow the business.

If a company issues one million shares that can sell at $4 a share, this allows them to raise $4 million for the business. Companies find it favorable to raise capital this way so they can avoid incurring debt and paying steep interest charges.

The stock market also provides investors with the opportunity to earn a share in the company’s profit.

One way to do this is to buy stocks and earn regular dividends on its value- that is the investor earns a certain amount of money for each stock they own.

Another way is to sell the stock to buyers for a profit when the price of the stock increases. If an investor buys a share for $20 and the price eventually increases to $25, the investor can sell the stock and realize a profit of 25%.

Also read: Why do Stock Markets Exist? And Why is it So Important?

How the Stock Market affects the Economy?

The increase and decrease in stock prices can influence numerous factors in the economy such as consumer and business confidence which can, in turn, have a positive or negative impact on the economy as a whole. Alternatively, different economic conditions can affect the stock market as well.

Here are a few ways the stock market can affect the economy of a country:

Movements in the Stock Market

The movements in the individual prices of stocks give the stock market a volatile character. As stock prices move up or down, their volatility can have a positive or negative impact on consumers and businesses.

In the event of a bull market or a rise in the prices of stocks, the overall confidence in the economy increases. People’s spending also increases as they become more optimistic about the market. More investors also enter the market and this feeds into greater economic development in the nation.

When the prices of stock fall for a continuously longer period, also known as a bear market, it has a negative effect on the economy. People are pessimistic about the economic conditions and news reports on falling stock prices can often create a sense of panic. Fewer investors enter the market and people tend to invest in lower-risk assets which further depresses the state of the economy.

Also read: What is Bull and Bear market? Stock Market Basics

bull and bear market

(Image credits: 5paisa.com)

Consumption and the Wealth effect

When stock prices rise and there is a bull market, people are more confident in the market conditions, and their investment increases. They tend to spend more on expensive items such as houses and cars. This is also known as the wealth effect which is how a change in a person’s income affects their spending habits and eventually leads to growth in the economy.

In the case of a bear market or a fall in stock prices, there is a negative wealth effect. It creates an environment of uncertainty among consumers and a fall in the value of their investment portfolios decreases spending on goods and services. This affects economic growth as consumer spending is a major component of Gross Domestic Product.

A common situation of the wealth effect was during the US housing market crash of 2008, which had a large negative impact on consumers wealth.

what's the economy

(Image credits: Investopedia)

Impact on Business Investment

Apart from consumer spending, business investment is also a key indicator of economic growth.

When stock prices are high, businesses are likely to make more capital investments due to high market values. Many companies issue an IPO during this time as market optimism is high and it is a good time to raise capital through the sale of shares. There is also more mergers and acquisitions during a bull market and firms can use the value of their stock to buy out other companies. This increased investment feeds into greater economic growth.

When the stock market is bearish, it has the opposite effect on investment. Confidence in the economy decreases and businesses are no longer eager to invest in the economy. The decrease in share price makes it harder for companies to raise funding in the stock market.

Other factors

The stock market also affects the bond market and pension funds. A large part of pension funds are invested in the stock market and a decrease in the price of shares will lower the value of the fund and affect future pension payments. This can lower economic growth as people who depend on pension income will tend to save more and this lowers spending and eventually the GDP.

While a fall in share prices has a negative impact on economic growth and GDP of a nation, it has a positive effect on the bond market. When there is a depression in the stock market, people look for other assets to invest their money in such as bonds or gold. They often provide a better return on investment than shares in the stock market.

Remember, it is always important to diversify your investment portfolio and spread your risk. Don’t throw all your eggs into one basket.

The stock market and the economy are not the same

Contrary to popular belief, the stock market and the economy are two different things. The GDP of an economy and the stock market gains are incompatible and, in fact, there is little comparison between the two. The major reason for this discrepancy is the difference in the size of the two markets. The economy depends on millions of factors that can have both a positive and negative impact, while the stock market is only affected by one factor, the supply and demand of stocks.

Also read:

For investors in the stock market, it is better to err on the side of caution and focus on the fundamentals of each stock rather than on the economy as a whole. As the saying goes ‘an economist is a trained professional paid to guess wrong about the economy’.

why do stock market exists cover

Why do Stock Markets Exist? And Why is it So Important?

A stock market is a public market where people can buy and sell shares on the stock exchange. The stocks, also known as equities, represent ownership in the company.

Stock markets have existed for centuries. The oldest stock exchange was started in Belgium back in 1531. The brokers and moneylenders used to meet there to deal with the businesses. However, they never used actual stocks but traded in promissory notes and bonds. Later, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was established in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company and regarded as the first real stock exchange.

Since its inception, stock markets have served many purposes, the most important being to provide companies with a source to raise capital for investment and expansion.

Why do stock markets exist?

Stock markets exist to serve the wider economy. It helps individuals earn a profit on their income when they invest in the stock market and allows firms to spread their risks and receive large rewards. It also enables the government to increase spending through the tax revenue they earn from corporations that trade on the stock exchange. The government uses the revenue to increase re-investment and employment capacity.

The stock market plays an important role in the economy of a country in terms of spending and investment. Without stock markets, many countries would not be as developed as they are. Alongside, it has helped individuals become wealthy and increases the overall standard of living in many economies.

Following are some of the most important functions of a stock market in the economy:

It helps companies raise capital

If stock markets did not exist, companies would have to resort to borrowing from the bank to raise money for expansion. This would be a burden on the company as they would have to repay the loans with interest.

Fortunately, with stock markets, businesses have the ability to create an initial public offering and raise large amounts of cash without having to worry about repayment. Moreover, publicly traded companies have no obligation to pay dividends when they incur losses.

Capital raised this way can help companies expand operations and create jobs in the economy. From a greater economic perspective, consumer spending increases,  governments can benefit from tax revenues and there will be lower levels of unemployment.

It helps create personal wealth

One of the most important benefits of the stock market is its ability to help generate personal wealth in the economy.

For the individual investor, the stock market provides a way to invest your income to earn a share of the companies’ profits. The revenue they earn can increase spending in the economy that can have a multiplier effect. The increased spending by individuals leads to increased investment and employment.

It helps increase investment in the economy

One of the key drivers of Gross Domestic Product is the level of investment in the economy. Governments often create fiscal and monetary policies in the economy to promote greater investment. The stock market is considered to be one of the most prominent sources for people to invest money in.

Furthermore, investors are always looking to invest in companies with high growth potential. If the stock market is performing well, this not only increases investment from local investors but also attracts foreign direct investment as people abroad invest in the local stock exchange. For example, people in India can invest in the NYSE which helps increase GDP of the US economy or vice-versa.

It serves as an indicator of the state of the economy

sensex last 30 years

(Sensex last +30 years graph)

The performance of the stock market is a rough indicator of how well the economy is performing. This often depends on speculators and perceptions of investors in the market. A rise or fall in the price of shares represents what cycle the economy is in such as recession or a boom.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the state of the economy and the performance of the stock market. Economists use this as a way to analyze past performance of investment and spending which helps them in the creation of new economic policies. The stock market serves as a barometer for the economy.

Also read:

It also affects non-investors in the economy

All members of society are affected by the stock market performance regardless of whether or not they invest in stocks.

People with pension funds and retirement accounts are impacted by low stock prices as the value of their accounts is tied to the stock market. Companies can also reduce employee benefits (pensions) as they can no longer afford to spend money on this which can delay the retirement age. Furthermore, when a company’s share price goes down, it affects job security as firms cut back on spending and many people could end up losing their jobs.

The stock market also impacts the rate of taxes and interest rates set by the government. During the Great Depression, the US government lowered taxes to induce borrowing but once the economy was out of depression, the government increased interest rates to encourage investment. Interest rates can affect a non-investor because a person renting out a home does not have to pay interest on a home loan directly but the landlord is likely to increase the rent to cover the high-interest expense.

Closing Thoughts:

Stock market gives opportunities to the businesses and public to transfer capital and ownership in a controlled, secure and managed environment. In addition to providing a convenient way for companies to raise capital and for individuals to increase wealth, the stock market helps keep a check on corporate regulation and increases the economic growth and prosperity of the nation.

rule of 15*15*15 sip calculator cover

Why You Need to Know The Rule of 15*15*15?

When the newbies enter the world of investing, one of the biggest questions that they may face is ‘how much’ and ‘how long’ should they invest? Enter the rule of 15*15*15.

In this post, we are going to discuss what is the rule of 15*15*15 (and the rule of 15*15*30) and how it can help you to make your investment decisions.

The rule of 15*15*15

The rule of 15*15*15 says that if you invest Rs 15,000 per month in an investment option which gives a return of 15% (CAGR), for a consistent period of 15 years, you will build a final corpus of Rs 1,00,00,000 (One crore).

Here,

SIP Amount = Rs 15k per month
CAGR =15%
Time horizon =15 Yrs
Final corpus = Rs 1 Cr

rule of 15*15*15 sip calculator

(Source: SIP Calculator)

Interestingly, your total invested amount is equal to just Rs 27 lakhs. However, over the time period of 15 years, you will build a total wealth of Rs 1 Crore.

Rule of 15*15*30

The rule of 15*15*15 gets even better when we double the ‘time horizon’ keeping all the other factors the same.

Here, you invest Rs 15,000 per month in an investment option which gives a return of 15% (CAGR), for a consistent period of 30 years.

Can you guess the final corpus build in this case?

The final corpus built after 30 years will be Rs 10,00,00,000 (Rs 10 Crores). And yes, that’s right — not a typo error…

Here,

SIP Amount = Rs 15k per month
CAGR = 15%
Time horizon = 30 years
Final Corpus = Rs 10 Crores

the rule of 15*15*30 sip calculator

(Source: SIP Calculator)

Here your total invested amount is just Rs 54 lakhs. However, as the power of compounding is working in your favor, you will accumulate a final corpus of Rs 10 crores. Only by doubling the time horizon, you can get ten times the amount compared to the rule of 15*15*15.

And that’s why the power of compounding is considered the most substantial factor for wealth creation. Here’s a quote regarding the same by one of the greatest scientist of all time, Albert Einstein:

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” -Albert Einstein

Quick Note: In the scenarios discussed above, 15% is considered as the average compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the years. However, you must understand that it is just an average as no market can give consistent 15% returns. In the bull market, the returns can be as high as 30–40%. On the other hand, in the bear market, the performance can be as low as -10% to 5%. Here, the 15% is taken as the average of the returns over the 15 or 30 years.

Warren Buffett Wealth Creation

The name ‘Warren Buffett’ needs no introduction, especially for the people involved in the world of investing. His wealth creation story is an interesting topic to discuss in this post.

Fascinatingly, unlike the young tech billionaires of this century like Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, John Collison, etc. Warren Buffett did not build his wealth by creating a super-tech company like FB, Snapchat, Google, etc.

Warren Buffett built most of his wealth over time through their investments (and acquisitions) by his company Berkshire Hathaway. You may get surprised to know the fact that the World’s third richest person become a billionaire only in his 50’s.

warren buffett net worth growth over time

The biggest factor why Warren Buffett was able to build such a huge wealth was his amazing returns for a consistently longer period. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, give an average yield of around 21.7% per year for over five decades. This return for such an extended time period is way-way better than what we discussed above. The power of compounding played an important role in Warren Buffett’s wealth creation story.

Resources:

Closing Thoughts

The time period is a significant factor when you are investing.

In this post, you can notice how by doubling the time horizon from 15 to 30 years; you can get ten times bigger final corpus. And that’s why it is recommended to start investing as soon as possible.

To end this post, here’s an amazing quote by Mr. Buffett:

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” -Warren Buffett

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

7 Powerful New Year Resolutions For Equity Investors!

A new year always excites everyone. It’s a time for the people to make different personal and professional resolutions like to learn how to swim, join the gym, travel abroad, learn martial arts, create a new blog/youtube channel, learn a new language, maintain a journal etc.

Personally, I’ve always loved new years and enjoyed making plans for the next year. This time also I’ve made a few resolutions. On the top of the list is to travel all the 29 states and 7 union territories in India by the end of 2019 (Spoiler alert: I’ve already been to +20 entities).

Anyways, stock investors are ordinary people and hence, they also like to make resolutions for their new investing journey. However, if you an equity investor but do not have made resolutions for the new year yet, then we’ve got you covered.

In this post, we are going to discuss seven powerful new year resolutions for equity investors. All these resolutions are designed to make you a better investor by the end of the calendar year.

7 Powerful New Year Resolutions For Equity Investors

Here are the seven best new year resolutions for the Indian equity investors. I would recommend you to challenge yourself and accept as many as resolutions (out of seven) as possible.

1. Save enough, Invest more

This is something which most youngsters struggle with. Although the older generation is doing much better in the art of saving, however, when it comes to intelligent investing — they too are not much mature.

If you are struggling with savings, plan to optimize your expenses this year. Track your spendings and perfect them wherever possible in order to increase your savings. However, do not just stop there. Invest those savings in different investment options based on your needs and risk tolerance. For beginners, investing in blue-chip stocks are a good option to get started.

2. Start goal-based investing

investment goal

Goal-based investing is a new way of wealth management where the individuals focus on attaining specific objectives or life-goals through their investments. Here, before starting to invest, the individual tries to answer the question- “What exactly are you investing for?”. The best part about the goal-based investing is that here the investors do not focus on getting the highest possible returns. But the aim of this investment is to reach the desired returns that meet their goals.

This year, switch from the traditional investing to goal-based investing. Set a specific goal and start investing to achieve it. This goal can be owning your new house, funding your business venture, corpus for your kid’s education/marriage, retirement, travel fund etc.

3. Increase your circle of competence

circle of competence

Because of different background, qualification, or experience, everyone has built up a greater knowledge in a specific area. In this certain field, these people have the expertise and hence, have a significant advantage. This is called the circle of competence.

The circle of competence might vary from people to people depending on the criteria mentioned above. For example, a doctor might have an expertise in medicines, healthcare or pharmaceutical and he can consider this area as his circle of competence (COC).

This year, make a resolution to increase your circle of competence.

For example, let’s say you might have been ignoring tax saving mutual funds or ELSS or any other investment option just because you were not competent earlier. But this year, spend some time and efforts to get comfortable in those investments.

Even for stock investors, there might be different industries or sectors that you may be ignoring. This can be because you do not have good knowledge of that industry and hence not inside your circle of competence. This year, learn those new industries and expand your circle of competence.

4. Be consistent

Consistency is the key to build long-term wealth. If you invest in equities just in a bull market and shy off during the bear market, it’s definitely not a good strategy. Bulls and bears are the part of market and stocks are characterized to go up and down.

This year, make a resolution to become consistent in your investments.

If you have got a monthly SIP, then consistently keep investing in that plan. If you are a direct stock investor, then fix an allocation of money that you’ll invest in the market throughout the year, whenever you find the best opportunities. Overall, to win the game, you need to stay in the game. And that’s why you need to be consistent in your investment plans.

5. Become more Socially Responsible Investor

Socially Responsible Investing or SRI is choosing to invest in stocks that provide a financial gain as well as do social good. For example- investing in companies promoting health, cleaner energy, healthy foods etc. The companies are evaluated based on the ESG index: environment, social justice, and corporate governance.

Being an investor gives you a lot of power in the financial world. This year, make a resolution to realize the power and influence you have as share investors to make a positive impact on society.

solar panel cells

6. Continue your education:

The stock market is very dynamic and things keep on changing very fast here. New technology, a new sector, new research tool etc. And that’s why the biggest resolution that you need to make this year is to continue your education.

This doesn’t mean to go and enroll in a university. You simply have to keep learning more. Whether it’s through courses, seminars, workshops, books or youtube videos, it’s up to you. But make sure that you keep on learning. One best way to continue your education is by taking a resolution to read at least one investing book each month. This is not a tough resolution and easily achievable. If you are not sure which books to read, here is a list of ten must-read books for stock market investors.

7. Diversify

This is the last resolutions to make this year. No matter how good you are in equities, do not invest all your money in the market. Stock market investments are subjected to market risk. And if you’ve allocated all your money in the market and it doesn’t perform well (because of whatever reason)– you are doomed.

This year, make a resolution to expand your investment options and look into alternative investment options. Maybe investing in real estate or diving into startups as Angel investor. Diversify your investments and reduce the potential risks.

Closing Thoughts

The new year is the best times to ‘make the change’ or ‘be the change’. Whether you want to meet your needs/goals or become a better investor, this is a great time to start working on it. Through the new year resolutions, take your investing to the next level this year.

Wish you all the best!

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

biggest mistake stock market

The Biggest Investing Mistake that 90% Beginners Make!

Suppose you bought two stocks- Stock A and Stock B. The buying price of both these stocks is same, i.e. Rs 100.

After 10 months, you checked the returns from both those stocks and found that the current price of stock A has moved to Rs 180. On the other hand, the market price of company B has fallen to Rs 60. What would you do next?

Would you sell stock A and book the profit of 80%? Or Would you sell stock B to get rid of your losing stock?

scenario stocks

I would give the answer to this question in a few minutes. But first, let’s discuss another scenario in a similar context.

Let’s say, you have a garden where you’ve planted three vegetables- Ladyfinger, tomatoes, and Cabbage.

garden-min

Out of the three, Ladyfinger and tomatoes are doing exceptionally well. They are growing big and healthy. And that’s why you are able to make huge profits by selling them.

Anyhow, the third vegetable i.e. cabbage is just not doing well. It is not growing enough, no matter how much time, money and efforts you spend on planting those vegetables. It simply dies out without producing anything worthwhile to sell.

What’s the logical step here for you as the gardener?

Shouldn’t you get rid of the Cabbages which are not growing no matter how much efforts you put and focus more on growing the other two vegetables which are giving you awesome returns? After all, those two vegetables are the ones who are making you profits.

A similar concept should be applied in the stock market world.

Out of the two stocks- Stock A (which went up by 80%) and stock B (which fell down by 40%), it’s logical to hold the winning stock and get rid of the losing one.

Why do you want to sell Stock A to book a profit of just 80%, when it can get returns of 100%, 200%, 500% or even 1,000% in the future? If the company is fundamentally strong, selling its stocks just to book short-term profits doesn’t make much sense.

On the other hand, keeping the losing stock just to break even is also not a wise strategy. If you get rid of that stock and invest the same money in stronger companies, it can give you better returns. Holding the losers just to break even may lead you to loss of both time and money.

Here, the biggest lesson that every beginner should know is- “Hold your winners and cut your losers!!”.

But sadly, most people follow the totally opposite approach while investing. Even if the stock moves up by 30%, most beginners are eager to sell that stock, book profit and boast among their friends. 

The majority of the investing population would prefer to sell their winning stocks just for instant gratification of short-term profits. However, booking short-term profits should not be the goal of the investors if they want to build long-term wealth. After all, the consistent returns should always be preferred over a one-time profit.

The only reasons when you should sell your winning stocks is A) when the company’s fundamental changes and the stock is not as strong as when you originally invested, B) When you find a better stock to invest with bigger opportunity and C) when really need the money. For all the rest cases, you should stick with the stock.

Also read:

Besides, one more thing that most beginners ignore while booking short-term profits is taxes. When you sell your winning stock in short-term for booking profits, you are obliged to pay short-term capital gain (STCG) taxes of 15% on your profits.  Therefore, this portion of the profit is already gone to the government.

Nonetheless, you can easily avoid/delay this STCG gain tax by NOT selling your winning stocks and keeping it for the long term. After all, you only have to pay taxes when you book profits. Moreover, Long-term capital gain taxes are comparatively smaller (i.e. 10% of your gains). Therefore, by investing for long-term, you can save a few additional bucks.

Overall, whether you are investing in stocks, mutual funds or any other investment option, the first and biggest lesson is the same- “Cut your losers and hold your winners!”.

That’s all for this post. Happy Investing!!

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

Financials Signals That A Company May Be Declining cover

3 Financial Signals That A Company May Be Declining.

Do you know that out of the 30 companies in the constituents of Sensex in 1992, only seven are still the part of it?

Yes, that’s true. The remaining companies couldn’t maintain their growth & value and hence were thrown out of the list of the biggest thirty companies in India with time. (Read more here: The Sensex story in the 25-year reform period —The Hindu Business Line) .

Although becoming a large-cap company is a dream of most of the businesses, however, after becoming a mature company, many companies find it a little challenging to maintain their growth.

Moreover, the problem arises when they are not able to sustain their profitability and starts declining. There are a number of examples of companies which were once a market leader, however, couldn’t keep a sustainable profit margin and later either shut down or went bankrupt. The most common example is Kingfisher. 

Declining companies do not have much growth potential left and even the returns (and value) of their existing assets keep on sinking.

Therefore, as investors, it’s really important for us to continuously monitor the growth of our invested company. And if we are able to find some signals that the company is declining, it might be the time for exit from them.

After all, no matter how much we love our invested company, the main goal of our investments is to make money and if the company is continuously declining, there’s no point remaining invested. It’s really difficult for the declining companies to reward their shareholders. Further, we as investors have thousands of other options available to invest in the market. Then, why to stick with the declining companies?

In this post, we are going to discuss three clear signals that you can study from the financial statements which show that a company may be declining.

Besides, these financial signals are very simple to identify (even for the beginners). Therefore, make sure that you read this post till the very end. Let’s get started.

3 Financial Signals that a company may be Declining.

Although evaluating the exact financial health of a company requires a serious study of the statements of profit & loss, balance sheet and cash flow statement of the company. However, there are a few financial tools which send an easy signal for the investors to identify the declining companies. If all these three financial signals are negative for a company, then the company might be in a little trouble.

Here are the three simple financial signals that you can study to evaluate if a company is declining:

1. Declining Revenue:

If a company’s revenue is continuously declining for the past multiple years, it may be a warning sign for the investors.

The revenue of a company is the TOP LINE of the income statement. And if the TOP LINE is declining, in general, all the lower levels will follow the same trend.

Even a stagnant (flat) revenue for a continued longer period of time is a sign of caution for the investor. After all, there’s a fixed extent up to which a company can control its expense. And if the company want to increase its profit, then it has to increase its revenue eventually.

A flat or declining revenues for past multiple years is an indicator of operating weakness. Moreover, if you can find that the revenue of the competitors (and the industry) is growing over the same perio, then it sends even a stronger signal of a weak management and poor health of the company.

For example- here is the income statement of Reliance communication for the last five years. Here, you can easily notice the declining net sales (and total revenue) for the past multiple years.

Reliance communication income statement
Source: Equity Master

And this decline is in line with the stock return of this company. In the last five years, Reliance communication’s share price has shrunk by over 88%.

2. Negative Profit margin:

Profit margin is calculated by dividing the net profits by net sales realized over a given time period. It represents how much percentage of sales has turned into profits. In other words, the percentage figure indicates how many cents of profit the business has generated for each rupee of sale.

If the profit margin of a company is negative, it shows that the company is not able to generate profit from its regular business. A negative or declining profit margin of the company for a continued longer period of time can be taken as a warning sign for the investors.

Declining companies generally lose their market share to their competitors. And in order to keep up their sales, they often have to either give bigger discounts or to cut their profits. Moreover, they also lose the pricing power which further leads to a fall in the margin.

While evaluating companies, you can look into the three levels of the profit margins- Gross profit margin (GPM), Operating profit margin (OPM) and Net profit margin (NPM), each being a more refined level of profitability. As a rule of thumb, avoid investing in companies with a negative profit margin.

Anyways, if you’ve already invested and now find that the profit margin of the company is continuously declining for the past multiple years, then it might be a signal that this company is declining.

3. Big dividend payouts:

Dividend payout is the ratio of the total amount of dividends paid out to shareholders relative to the net income of the company.

It can be calculated by dividing the dividend per share (DPS) by earnings per share (EPS) of a company in a year. For example, if the DPS of a company for the current year is Rs 2 and its EPS is Rs 10, then the payout ratio is equal to 2/10 i.e. 20%.

If a company gives a consistent dividend to its shareholder, it is a healthy sign.

However, the problem arises when the company starts paying a major portion of its net income as dividends. In such a scenario, the company is not retaining enough income for investment in its growth or future plans.

There should be a balance between rewarding shareholders and the retaining income for its own growth. After all, if the company is not investing enough in itself, it will eventually become difficult for them to increase (or to maintain) their profitability in the future.

Declining companies generally pay out large dividends to their shareholders as they have a very little need (or scope) of reinvestment. As a rule of thumb, payout ratio greater than 70% for a company can be a warning sign for the investors.

Other financial signals:

Another financial tool that can give you a better picture of the financial situation of a company along with the above three financial indicators is the company’s debt level.

If the debt level of a mature company is continuously increasing at a high pace, it is a sign that the company has been aggressively financing its growth with debt. You can use debt to equity ratio to evaluate the debt level of a company. A high debt to equity ratio (greater than one) can be considered a high risk for the company.

Apart, there are also a few handfuls of financial ratios like Return on assets (ROA), Return on equity (ROE), interest coverage ratio etc that you can also study to check if your company is declining. A continuously declining ROA, ROE and interest coverage ratio can be a warning sign.

Also read:

Closing thoughts:

Even big mature companies are capable of declining over time and losing their value. And that’s why it is important for the investors to continuously monitor the growth of their invested company.

In general, a flat or declining revenue, negative profit margin and huge dividend payout can be considered signs of a declining company.

Anyhow, if the company takes necessary steps, it may recover back on track or even become a turn-around. However, if the management doesn’t take the significant steps in time, the company may decline further destroying the shareholder’s investment. 

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

what are intangible assets

What You Need To Know About Intangible Assets!

Evaluating the intangible assets of a company is a crucial part of the fundamental analysis, especially in a generation with a lot of leading companies in the technology and service-based industries.

However, most investors ignore this part and focus more the physical assets like land, building, equipment etc. One of the major reasons why people skip the part of studying intangible assets is because these assets are a little difficult to evaluate. After all, how would you correctly measure the value of a brand or non-physical assets of a company?

In this post, I’ll try to demystify intangible assets in simple words so that you can understand what exactly are intangible assets, why are they valuable for a company and how can you evaluate the intangible assets of a company.

Overall, it’s going to be an exciting post. Therefore, please read it till the end because I’m sure it will be helpful to you in assessing companies better.

What are intangible assets?

Intangible assets are those assets that are not physical in nature, yet are valuable because they contribute to the potential revenue of the company.

A few of the common examples of intangible assets are brand recogintion, licenses, customer lists, and intellectual property, such as patents, franchises, trademarks, copyrights etc.

Quick Note: Contrary to these, TANGIBLE Assets are those assets that have a physical form. For example- land, buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory etc. Further, financial assets such as stocks, bonds etc. are also considered tangible assets.

Although intangible assets do not have an obvious physical value such as land or equipment, however, they can be equally valuable for a company for its long-term success or failure. 

For example, companies like Apple or Coca-Cola are highly successful because of the significant brand equity. Since it is not a physical asset and tricky to calculate the exact value, still brand equity is one of the primary reasons for the high sales of these companies. In India, companies like Hindustan Unilever, Colgate, Patanjali, etc also enjoy benefits of enormous brand value.

Further, a few more examples of intangible assets can be marketing-based (ex- Internet domain names, non-competition agreements etc), artistic-based (ex- literary works, musical works, pictures etc), Contract-based (ex- franchise agreements, broadcast rights, use rights etc) and technology-based (example- computer software, trade secrets like secret formulas and recipes etc). [Credits: Examples of intangile assets- Accounting tools]

what you need to know about intangible assets cover

Moreover, in a few industries, intangible assets are more valuable.

Unlike manufacturing companies where inventories and fixed assets contribute to the majority of their total assets, in a few industries the intangible assets are more valuable:

  • Consumer product companies depend on the brand name. For example- Hindustan Unilever, Godrej, Colgate, etc. The bigger the brand name, the easier are the sales. 
  • Technology companies get the most success by their technical know-how and skilled human resource. Ex- Infosys, TCS, etc.
  • Banking companies have their computer software license, stock exchange cards and electronic trading platform (websites). Ex- HDFC bank.
  • Telecom industries use their bandwidth licenses (including spectrum) to enjoy benefits. Example- Bharti Airtel
  • Drugs and pharmacy companies protect their sales through patents, which means that they can sell unlimited medicines of patented drug and their competitors can’t enter or replicate the same. Ex- Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory, Glenmark Pharma etc.

And that’s why, the leading companies in these industries spend a lot of money in building these intangible assets. 

For example, in the IT industry, training and recruiting are more prominent than investing in physical assets like buildings.

Similarly, the pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of capital in the Research and development (R&D) which may help them get a patent on a revolutionary drug. And that’s why, while evaluating companies in this industry, the capital expenditure of the different companies/competitors in their R&D work should be carefully evaluated. 

If you look into the consumer product companies, they spend a lot of money in advertisement just for brand awareness. Although, this may not lead to instant sales and may add overhead expenses, However, over the long term. branding help these companies to generate more profit. 

Valuing Intangible Assets:

Intangible assets of a company can be found on the asset side of the balance sheet of a company. For example- here is the intangible assets for Hindustan Unilever (HUL)

hul balance sheet

Source: Yahoo Finance

You can use the intangible to total asset ratio to evaluate the worth of intangible assets in a company. For example- in the case of Hindustan Unilever, its intangible assets make around 2.05% percent of its total asset.

However, valuing intangible assets are easier said than done. One of the biggest reasons equipment high sales of HUL in India is its prominent brand recognition. A few of the popular brands of HUL are Lux, Lifebuoy, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, Pond’s, Vaseline, Lakmé, Dove, Clinic Plus, Sunsilk, Pepsodent, Closeup, Axe, Brooke Bond, Bru, Knorr, Kissan, Kwality the and Pureit

Here, do you really think that the brand value of HUL contributes only around 2% of its net assets? I don’t think so. It must be worth more. However, there’s no easy way to correctly evaluate the worth of the brand recognition and other non-physical assets. 

Quick fact: According to Forbes, COCA COLA’s brand value amounted to 57.3 billion U.S. dollars. It is the only company in the top seven list that sells carbonated sugar water beverages. Rest all are technology companies with Apple and Google as leaders. This is the power of branding. Read more here: The world’s most valuable brands. 

Also read:

Bottom Line:

Although intangible assets do not have a physical presence, they add a huge value to the company. There may be even cases where the intangible assets are of far greater value than the market value of the company’s tangible assets. 

However, while valuing such companies, you may have to put some efforts to study these assets as the accounting conventions do not always value the exact worth of a few intangible assets and they may be reported below their true value in the balance sheet.

Any how, look for the intangible assets that are definite (i.e. stays with the company for as long as it continues operations) and difficult to replicate.

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting

top down and bottom up investing approaches

What is Top Down and Bottom Up approach in stock investing?

While performing the fundamental analysis of companies, two of the most common strategies to research stocks that are used by investors are top down and bottom up approach.

In this post, you’ll learn what exactly is top down and bottom up approach, how they work and which one may be more suitable to you.

Top down approach

Have you ever heard any investor/analyst saying something like- “The electric vehicle industry looks particularly promising now. The industry is growing at a fast pace and I should invest in this industry”.

Well, here the investor is following the top down approach to find stocks.

In the top down approach, the investors first look into the macro picture of the economy and later work down to research the individual stocks.

The overall steps involved in top down approach is to first look at the big picture of the world i.e. which economy is doing great, then look at the general market in that economy, next find the particular sector that may outperform and finally research the best stock oppotunity to invest within that sector.

For example, let’s say you studied that the European economy is growing at a very fast rate. Next, when you looked further into the European market, you found that especially the biotechnology industry in outperforming. And finally, you researched some appealing stocks in that industry to invest. This is the top down approach for stock investing.

Here, you start with the big picture and ultimately move down to find the suitable investing opportunity. Top down approach looks at the performance of the economy & sector and believes that if the industry is doing good– the chances are that the stocks in that industry will perform too.

A few of the major areas where the top down analysts pay attention are economic growth, GDP, monetary policy, inflation, prices of commodities, bond yields etc before moving into the specific industry study.

top down approach investing

The biggest advantage of top down approach is that there’s no pre-conceived notion about what may work and the selection of economy, industry & stocks are based on the real-time studies. Further, as they focuses on the strong sectors, the chances of underlying companies performing well are favorable.

However, one of the major flaw of top down approach is that here you may miss out a few good bargain stocks in the eliminated industries.

Also read: 

Bottom up approach

This approach is exact opposite of the top down approach. Here, you first start with company research and later move up to find the other details.

Bottom up approach tries to study the fundamental of the company regardless the market conditions, industry or the macroeconomic factors. While performing the bottom up approach, the investors studies how fundamentally strong the company is by focusing on its revenues, earnings, financial ratios, products/services, sales growth, management etc.

The key here is to find the potentially strong company which may outperform the industry and market in future. If the fundamental factors are good, then regardless of what the industry is doing, the bottom up investors will pick such companies to invest.

The biggest advantage of the bottom up approach is that the investors may find the best potentially strong company which can outperform even if the economy or industry as a whole declines. Bottom up approach helps in picking quality stocks.

On the other hand, one of the cons of bottom up approach is that the investor may have some pre-conceived notion of the company and in such condition, their investment decisions may be a little biased. Further, as these investors ignore the longer economic influence and market conditions, some investment returns may be adversely affected because of these factors.

Closing Thoughts

Top down and bottom up are entirely different approaches to analyze and invest in stocks. However, both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The top down approach first looks at the broader economy and macroeconomic factors, and then move to the specific industry and the company within. On the other hand, bottom up approach starts at the company level and later moves up for the other important details.

In general, top down approach can be little easier for the less experienced investors as they do not have to perform the intense stock research and analysis. They can start studying the most appealing industry and find the companies within to invest.

Anyways, both approaches have their own effectiveness and hence, difficult to say which one is better. Moreover, it also depends on the knowledge and preference of the investor. My final advice would be to better try out both the approaches and find out which one suits you the best for your investment strategy.

Hi, I am Kritesh, an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting