Equity Advisory

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Friday, 20 September 2019

Good Times Ahead (I hope!!)


Below is the note I sent to the subscribers of the Intelsense equity advisory earlier today.


Today was a momentous day for Indian markets. Not only did we see a huge upmove, we also saw a complete U-turn in policy stance. The government had been projecting a very aggressive tax stance during the budget and after it. I think the realization that the economy was really in big trouble had not sunk in. Today's announcements of reduced corporate taxes come as a relief to me simply because this is the first real "action" the government has taken. I am ignoring the small tinkering with minor policies over the last few weeks as inconsequential.

The action is really big and bold. Cutting peak tax rates for corporates this drastically is HUGE. It signals that the government is willing to bite the bullet, take the pain of much higher fiscal deficit to spur growth. Some of the larger corporates were paying upwards of 33%-35% and a reduction to 25% means a 33% reduction in their tax outflows. This is itself would boost earnings growth significantly (around 8%-10%). Earnings growth was what has been missing from corporate India for a couple of years now. So, the markets should re-price stocks at least 10%-15% higher wherever the tax benefits are significant.

But. And there is always a but.

But, that is a one time benefit. Say a company was earning Rs 100 as PAT today after paying Rs 35 as tax. If their tax reduces to Rs 25, then the PAT directly jumps to Rs 110. Now the company has an extra Rs 10 in hand. So, those companies which are able to reinvest this additional money most efficiently would reap the most long term benefit.

Companies will have multiple options to decide what they do with the additional cash. Some could be:
- repay debt
- invest in capex
- reduce prices to spur growth
- pay more dividends / do buybacks
- incentivise employees to produce / sell more
- waste it by splurging on inconsequential or reckless spending
- all of the above

Any or all of the moves would have second and third order consequences most of which should be good.

A major beneficiary of this move could be that as the markets become more buoyant, it will be possible to carry on large disinvestment programs of PSUs.

The other major benefit is that we will become a much more tax competitive nation for global corporates when they decide on moving their supply chain to. Today, there is significant issues in China (China-US trade war has spurred an uncertain environment for global companies who have very large setups in China. Now, they are aggressively looking at alternative locations to hedge their bets. India will now be a possible favourable destination. If we can get our act together on land and labour reforms we will be unbeatable, but that is probably asking for too much!!

The global situation continues to be problematic. Large countries are facing severe economic headwinds. Close to $18 trillion dollars are currently in negative yield and projections are there that US will have to continue to cut policy rates significantly. All the large economies are struggling. China, which fuelled, the last global commodity rally by its consumption, is facing tough times of its own. China-US trade war, the drone strike on Aramco, Brexit looming its head again continue to pose serious challenges to the macro environment. We will keep that at the back of our minds but continue to focus on individual companies that we own and would like to own.

My sense is that we will move from a negative growth spiral which we had got ourselves into and into a positive growth spiral now. Our job of identifying good quality, well managed, growing companies do not change. I will be reviewing the portfolio stocks and the allocations over the weekend and will communicate any changes. If nothing else, today’s announcement has boosted my sentiments from cautious for somewhat more bullish!! ;-)

Hoping for the best!


P.S.: If you think you or someone you know will benefit from the equity advisory, you can visit www.intelsense.in

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