Equity Advisory

Are you looking for an honest, transparent and independent equity research and advisory? www.intelsense.in is run by Abhishek Basumallick for retail investors. Subscribe for long term wealth creation.

Friday 27 May 2022

Weekend Reading


Important stats for the Long Term Research Services
Important stats for the Long Term Research Services
The Long Term Research Service provides a well-chosen portfolio of stocks with superior characteristics. It is a mix of high quality and growth.
For subscribing to any of our research services, visit https://www.intelsense.in/#!/Subscription
And now on to the weekend reading...
Peter Lynch's sell mantra
What I try and do is I try and sell stocks because something else is more attractive. Stock A is simply more attractive than Stock B. I don’t try and find out the last quarter, the last eighth, the last 10 points.
And my second rule – this is the hardest one to follow – if I make a mistake, I try and sell it. If I’m looking for something to happen – some product to work, the business to get better – and it’s clear that I’m wrong – this is the key thing – you really have to sell it. It’s difficult to do. But you just want to just hope and pray because you can wait for years to go on.
And the third thing, I think, is what I call bottom fishing. A stock, Avon Products, goes from 150 to 90. On that basis alone, they buy the stock. And then, you know, it can go to 18 as far as we know. A stock that’s down combined with a good fundamental story is good but just buying on that basis alone is very dangerous.
Wining. Losing. Learning.
“There’s a phrase out there that says, ‘Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn.’ I can’t stand that phrase. And the reason I can’t stand that phrase is because it implies two things. It implies that you can’t learn from winning. Like you win or you learn? No, you can learn a lot from winning. Success leaves clues.
What it also implies, losing is some word that no one says of, ‘Oh, I didn’t lose. I learned.’ No, you lost. Own it. You lost, you got beat today, and that’s life you’re going to lose sometimes. And instead of flowering it up and saying, “No, no, I didn’t lose. I just ran out of time. I didn’t lose.” No, you lost.”
Pivoting by startups was there even hundred years back
The Wrigley Co. didn’t start out making chewing gum. In 1891 at age 30, William Wrigley Jr. opened a branch of his father’s Philadelphia-based soap company in Chicago. To each purchaser of Wrigley’s Scouring Soap the young salesman gave a free sample of baking powder.
The promotion was so successful Wrigley soon switched to selling baking powder, including two free packs of chewing gum with each order. The gum was so popular that by 1893 Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint chewing gum became the company’s chief product.
The old business saying “innovate or die” doesn’t always hold true. Yet many great American companies that took sharp detours to survive ended up flourishing in unforeseen and spectacular new ways. Whether the result of relentless innovation or a happy accident, the detour turned out to be the best part of the journey. Side roads always offer the prettiest scenery.
Expertise can be a hindrance for learning
Investor Dean Williams once said, “Expertise is great, but it has a bad side effect. It tends to create an inability to accept new ideas.”
Marc Andreessen explained how this has worked in tech: “All of the ideas that people had in the 1990s were basically all correct. They were just early.” The infrastructure necessary to make most tech businesses work didn’t exist in the 1990s. But it does exist today. So almost every business plan that was mocked for being a ridiculous idea that failed is now, 20 years later, a viable industry. Pets.com was ridiculed – how could that ever work? – but Chewy is now worth more than $10 billion.
Experiencing what didn’t work in 1995 may have left you incapable of realizing what could work in 2015. The experts of one era were disadvantaged over the new crop of thinkers who weren’t burdened with old wisdom.
There is one set of skills that comes from being an expert, and another that comes from being a novice, unburdened by the weight of experience or incentives. The former is obvious, the latter too easy to ignore.
Avoid thinking about money and disputes
I’ve found there are two types of thoughts especially worth avoiding in the way they push out more interesting ideas. One I’ve already mentioned: thoughts about money. Getting money is almost by definition an attention sink. The other is disputes. These too are engaging in the wrong way: they have the same velcro-like shape as genuinely interesting ideas, but without the substance. So avoid disputes if you want to get real work done.
Even Newton fell into this trap. After publishing his theory of colors in 1672 he found himself distracted by disputes for years, finally concluding that the only solution was to stop publishing:
I see I have made myself a slave to Philosophy, but if I get free of Mr Linus’s business I will resolutely bid adew to it eternally, excepting what I do for my privat satisfaction or leave to come out after me. For I see a man must either resolve to put out nothing new or become a slave to defend it.

Thursday 19 May 2022

Weekend Reading



I was invited on ET NOW 9 pm primetime news on 17th to discuss LIC IPO. You can watch the interaction here.
ET Now - India Development Debate - 17-May-2022
ET Now - India Development Debate - 17-May-2022
I also published the monthly Q&A for April where I take questions on investing and finance from our subscribers.
Monthly Q&A - April 2022
Monthly Q&A - April 2022
And now onto the weekend readings...
The four-day workweek
Businesses across the globe are becoming increasingly interested in the benefits of giving employees an extra day off, encouraged by Microsoft’s August 2019 trial of a four-day workweek in Japan, which resulted in a 40% rise in productivity. Since then, many other organizations have followed suit. The British arm of camera company Canon is among the latest to try a four-day workweek without a pay cut. In the U.S., Kickstarter and Bolt are among the many companies experimenting with four-day weeks, as is Unilever, which announced last November that it would be piloting such a schedule in New Zealand.
Of businesses already implementing a four-day workweek, 68% (up from 63% in 2019) said flexible work arrangements are helping them to attract the right talent by demonstrating the organization’s forward-thinking approach to work, such as greater autonomy stemming from meeting-free days. These businesses also recognize that their potential employees expect the norm to be “portfolio careers” of more than one job.
Data is not information
Data is everywhere, but turning it into information isn’t free.
It takes focus, effort, consultation and time.
More information is only useful if it helps you make a decision. Knowing the temperature on Saturn isn’t useful. Knowing it to even more accuracy is less useful. That’s because we’re not making any decisions that involve the temperature on another planet.
We’re surrounded by data that our spreadsheets or networks or cohorts seem to want us to be aware of. How many people clicked yesterday, or what someone wrote in a comment, what a backlist book sold or the foot traffic in that store vs. this store.
But if you’re not going to use the data to make a decision, don’t spend the time to expose yourself to it. It’s resistance at work.
If you can’t do anything with the data, it’s never going to be information.
Google's supercharged Ctrl+F for the world around you
Google announced new enhancements for its Lens multisearch tool, which lets you conduct a search with just an image and a couple of words.
A new mode, called “near me,” will let users take a photo of an object and then find results locally. As Raghavan explained, you’ll be able to take a photo of a dish and then search for restaurants that serve that specific food. Google will then display a list of relevant restaurants near you. To make this feature happen, Google scans relevant photos from websites, as well as those posted by reviewers, and then matches them to the one you uploaded. Near me will be available in English later this year and will expand to more languages “over time.”
Google is also rolling out something called scene exploration. This will allow users to pan their camera and then enter a search phrase about the objects in front of them. When explaining the feature, Raghavan used the example of trying to find a nut-free chocolate bar in a supermarket. You’ll be able to scan an entire shelf of chocolate bars and then see overlays that provide “helpful insights,” like reviews about each object. We think Raghavan’s description of the feature sums this up quite nicely: “This is like having a supercharged Ctrl+F for the world around you.”
Environmentally Friendly LEDs Created Using Rice Husks
Scientists searching for a scalable method to fabricate quantum dots have developed a way to recycle rice husks to create the first silicon quantum dot (QD) LED light.
This new method transforms agricultural waste into state-of-the-art light-emitting diodes in a low-cost, environmentally friendly way.
Milling rice to separate the grain from the husks typically produces about 100 million tons of rice husk waste globally each year.
The technology makes use of porous silicon (Si), a material that is non-toxic and found abundantly in nature with photoluminescence properties, stemming from its microscopic (quantum-sized) dot structures that serve as semiconductors. Waste rice husks have been found to be an excellent source of high-purity silica (SiO2) and value-added Si powder.
Deal with the unexpected
Unforeseen circumstances happen to us all. We have disappointments and challenges. We all have reversals and those moments when, in spite of our best plans and efforts, things just seem to fall apart. Challenging circumstances are not events reserved for the poor, the uneducated or the destitute. The rich and the poor have marital problems. The rich and the poor have the same challenges that can lead to financial ruin and personal despair. In the final analysis, it is not what happens that determines the quality of our lives, it is what we choose to do when we discover that the wind has changed directions.
How quickly and responsibly we react to adversity is far more important than the adversity itself. Once we discipline ourselves to understand this, we will finally and willingly conclude that the great challenge of life is to control the process of our thinking.


The US Housing Industry - A Snapshot

The Federal Reserve (US Fed) is done watching inflation run away and has made it a priority to cool down one of its biggest drivers: the housing market. With rising mortgage rates, Americans will not have the easy money to purchase real estate which is expected to cool down the real estate in the US.

  • In December, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate sat at 3.11%. That rate is up to 5.27%—its highest level since 2009.

  • During much of the pandemic's housing boom, historically low mortgages shielded homebuyers, to a degree, even as home prices shot up nearly 35% over the past two years.

  •  An analysis provided by Moody’s Analytics finds that 96% of regional housing markets are overvalued, and 27% of markets are overvalued by more than 30%.

  • The most overpriced markets are Boise (by 75%); Austin (66%); Ogden, Utah (63%); Las Vegas (60%); and Atlanta (60%).
  • Case in point: The metros of New York City and San Francisco are overpriced by just 3% and 13%, respectively.

Why did the market rates of houses move up?

  • Work-from-home made houses more important than ever
  • Home prices continued to rise to create a Giffen effect on the population which created a FOMO effect on them, coaxing them to purchase a property
  • Demand is concentrated in specific areas, especially the suburbs as the rates in metro cities like NYC and Detroit were already high.
  • Inflation forced people to buy real assets like houses
  • The migration to suburbs to find peace and better quality of life has become more real than before during the pandemic
  • The continuous increase in housing prices has also reduced the supply of houses in the market. Homeowners are unwilling to sell their houses even though the prices have started to cool down from March.
  • The price of labour, housing materials and other expenses have also risen sharply in recent times

Monthly supply of houses in the US

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Average in the United States

As per JP Morgan, the nationwide nominal house price index is now 40% above its 2012 low-point and 4% above the peak reached in 2006.

Challenges faced by the industry

  • Rising Prices of materials, labour
  • Improper suburban settlement plans
  • Improper tax distribution across government states
  • Prices went on a bidding spree with only the upper class and upper-middle class being able to safely bid for a house in the market
  • The skyrocketing prices have led to a fall in demand as people are simply not able to afford the house
  • Homeowners are not interested in selling the house at current levels either, Supply is still shorter than demand thereby increasing the prices in the long run.

In summary: Although housing is a very local-driven market and aggregate data does not show the true picture, it definitely looks like the US housing market could be in for a period of consolidation and pause. Implications for businesses that are part of the US housing supply chain could see a definite fall in revenue growth and contraction in margins.

Thursday 12 May 2022

Weekend Reading


Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week. If you like this collection, consider forwarding it to someone who you think will appreciate it.


You can sign up to https://www.getrevue.co/profile/intelsense to receive all blogs from me directly into your inbox.

Risk is something that you don't really foresee

The biggest risk is always what no one sees coming. If you don’t see something coming you’re not prepared for it. And when you’re not prepared for it its damage is amplified when it hits you.


Look at the big news stories that move the needle – Covid, 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the Great Depression. Their common trait isn’t necessarily that they were big; it’s that they were surprises, on virtually no one’s radar until they arrived.


One truth is that if you’re only saving for the risks you can envision, you’ll be unprepared for the risks you can’t imagine every time. So the right amount of savings/security/liquidity is when it feels like it’s a little too much.


It should feel excessive; it should make you wince a little.


Most of the time someone’s caught unprepared it’s not because they didn’t plan. Sometimes it’s the smartest planners in the world working tirelessly, mapping every scenario they can imagine, that end up failing. They planned for everything that made sense before getting hit by something they couldn’t fathom.



Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think

Our time together is finite, but we fail to recognize it until it's too late.


Time is cruel. You’ll love it with all of your being, you may even pray for more of it, but the reality is that time doesn’t care about you.


Your relationship with time is the ultimate unrequited love.


We spend most of our lives playing a game.


Everything we do is in anticipation of the future. When that future comes, we simply reset to think about the next future.

It’s natural, but it’s a dangerous game—one that we will lose, eventually.


Time is our most precious asset and the present is all that’s guaranteed. Spend it wisely, with those you love, in ways you’ll never regret.



Importance of patience

Patience requires endurance against obstacles, both known and unanticipated. The longer your time horizon, the more disasters you’ll experience. Most people don't bear hardship well and quit. Depending on luck, periods of extreme hardship and under-performance may come before any success, leading to an expectation of failure.


And even if you’ve experienced a bit of success, or even a lot of success, the naysayers will always come out against you. See the many, many hit pieces on Warren Buffett at various stages of his career. The man has been “washed up” more times than a three-year-old’s t-shirt.



The case for optimism

Since we cannot be certain of the future, optimism is only a belief -- a stance that could be incorrect. On the surface, an optimistic belief might seem no more valid than the stance of pessimism. But the deep history of new ideas makes it very clear that the optimistic stance of believing something is possible is a requirement to make anything new real, and is thus more powerful than pessimism. In the long run, optimists shape the future.


All the evidence so far indicates that there are no limits for knowledge or improvement. We’ve encountered nothing we can’t potentially improve. Every question answered by science generates at least two new questions, two new territories of unknown things that we now know we don’t know. In this way our ignorance expands faster than our knowledge, which is healthy. Because behind this expansion there is a great asymmetry: what is knowable but still unknown will always be larger than what we already know, meaning there are more possibilities waiting to be discovered than have already been discovered. This asymmetry in knowledge is reason to be optimistic, because it means there are no limits to our improvement. We can always imagine a better way -- and we are also always improving what/who the “we” is. Optimism recognizes that our potential for improvement is infinite in all directions.



Market return are non-linear

This is an old blog but we need to keep reminding ourselves of the message

Returns will not be linear. Some quarters and years will be great. Some others will be horrible. If you don’t stick thr​​ough the horrible, you will not be there to see the great.


If you join at the wrong time and don’t stick long enough, you may actually lose money. Wrong time or right time is known only in hindsight no matter what is the market level, global news, or under/overvaluation. If you try to get in or out, you may end up doing worse.


The right question to ask is not what is the highest return strategy that is available anywhere but what is a high a return strategy that I can stick with for long periods and let my investment compound without getting scared out of it either due to volatility or my temperament not matching with something to do with the strategy be it the kind of stocks, buying/selling frequency etc. And this is something only you can decide.



Friday 6 May 2022

Weekend Reading

 Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week. If you like this collection, consider forwarding it to someone who you think will appreciate it.



My first interview in Hindi on ET Swadesh regarding the LIC IPO - https://youtu.be/UdNbPULYyNs


Being wealthy, not rich

I’m always interested in the difference between getting rich and staying rich. They are completely different things, and many of those skilled at the former fail at the latter.


Part of this topic is knowing the difference between rich and wealthy.


Rich means you have cash to buy stuff. Wealth means you have unspent savings and investments that provide some level of intangible and lasting pleasure – independence, autonomy, controlling your time, and doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, with whom you want to do it with, for as long as you want to do it for.


I want to be rich, because I like nice stuff. But what I value far more is to be wealthy, because I think independence is one of the only ways money can make you happier. The trick is realizing that the only way to maintain independence is if your appetite for stuff – including status – can be satiated. The goalpost has to stop moving; the expectations have to remain in check. Otherwise money has a tendency to be a liability masquerading as an asset, controlling you more than you use it to live a better life.



The wealthy mindset

All the energy you put into things you can’t control comes at the expense of things you can control. And because they focus on what they can control, the second mindset is far more resilient and adaptable than the first. And that makes all the difference.


When I talk to people about this, they often bring up the wealth gap. I hear things like, “It’s easy for the rich to hire tutors and teachers and childcare and keep their kids working hard.” Yes … and that misses the point.


It is easy to overestimate the role of money and underestimate the role of mindset. Often, we convince ourselves that if only we had the resources, we would apply the second mindset. But the second mindset isn’t a luxury of the rich, it is a necessity to build wealth in the first place.


When you focus on the money you miss the leverage of mindset hiding in plain sight.



Extreme Air Pollution Hampering India’s Solar Electricity Generation

India will struggle to meet a target of generating 100 gigawatts of solar power this year as high levels of atmospheric pollution are hindering the country’s ability to generate energy, a study has found.


Atmospheric pollution reduces solar power generation because it both absorbs and scatters the Sun’s rays, as well as leaving deposits on solar panels that reduce their efficiency.


A study carried out by IIT Delhi calculates that between 2001 and 2018 India lost 29 per cent of its solar energy potential as a result of atmospheric pollution - equivalent to an annual loss of £635m.


“Put simply, aerosols - which include fine particulate matter, dust, mist and fumes suspended in the air - significantly reduce incoming solar radiation in what we call the ‘atmospheric attenuation effect’,” said study author Sagnik Dey. “This needs to be factored in when undertaking large solar energy projects.”


Acid rain can also corrode solar power equipment and support structures which increases maintenance costs. Acid rain is caused by pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, released mainly through industrial and vehicular emissions, rising high into the atmosphere and mixing with water, oxygen and other chemicals to form corrosive acid droplets before falling back as rain.




The Library of Mistakes

The best investors learn from their mistakes. Even the most successful are wrong nearly half the time, which gives them plenty of material to dwell upon. A willingness to admit to errors, says Napier, indicates an open mind. Richard Oldfield, an experienced British fund manager, opens his witty and wise book on investment, “Simple But Not Easy”, with a chapter on his personal howlers. The investment advice imparted by Oldfield’s former employer, the merchant banker Siegmund Warburg, was to “always cry over spilt milk.” Every mistake makes one a fractionally better investor, says Oldfield.


George Soros places mistakes at the heart of his investment process. The Hungarian-born billionaire claims to have an acute sense of his own fallibility. “To others, being wrong is a source of shame,” Soros wrote. “To me recognising my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realise that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.” Soros’s approach as a hedge fund manager was to first establish a position and then consider how he might be wrong. In his view, the recognition and rectification of mistakes constitute the hard job of investing. The rest is a cinch.




Learning is a series of sprints, not a marathon

People often complain that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. That they have too many things to do, and not enough time to complete all of the work. The proposed solution is better time management: organize the hours in your day better and you’ll get more done.


Time isn’t what’s limited in the day (otherwise you wouldn’t waste so much of it) but your energy is. Energy runs out faster than time, which is why it’s easy to procrastinate, even when you have a lot of work to do.


This theory explains personal productivity much better than time management. If time were the limited resource, procrastination wouldn’t be an issue, only scheduling would be. It also explains why many new productivity systems work for a couple weeks and then fail. You can burn your energy reserves intensely for some time before they get used up and you slide back to a lower operating efficiency.


This also explains why focusing is so difficult. Focus requires a lot of energy to be used in a short burst. Learning is tough mental work, just as sprinting is tough physical work. Just as you can only sprint so long before needing to stop, or slow to a light jog, you can only learn intensely for a short period before you start getting distracted.


If you’re studying full-time, I recommend establishing a policy of not doing any studying on one weekend day and on evenings, after a certain hour. If you’re juggling a job and learning, I recommend picking specific hours to learn, in advance, and don’t study outside of them. Many people I’ve spoken with have found early morning most efficient, since they’re not exhausted from the day’s work yet.


Learning, when done well, is like a series of sprints, not a marathon. That means you have bursts of focus, followed by periods of rest. Both are essential.

Thursday 5 May 2022

What to do now?

The last few days have been extremely volatile. If you have watched the last interview I gave on ET NOW, I had mentioned that my sense is we will remain extremely volatile in the next 4-6 months before things get better. For those who might have missed it, here is the link. Margin pressure will ease because raw material prices are likely to stabilise. Inflation will also start looking better because last year's high base rate will come into the picture and year-on-year growth in inflation will look lesser. Also, with the passage of time, the knee-jerk reaction of market participants will also likely reduce.

One interesting phenomenon to watch for is the FII / DII / retail investor flows. My sense is, and I could be completely wrong, that we will see a reversal in trend and see FII inflows and DII/retail outflows. FIIs will come looking for a safe haven and where there is some semblance of growth in an inflationary world. Retail investors, many of whom are first-timers, will be seeing their portfolios taking a beating and their fundamental assumption that making money in the market is easy will get challenged. Also, with normalisation post-Covid, people would return back to their professions and free time and mind space to dabble in trading will reduce which is more than likely to reduce their fund flows.

Another point which I tell often and probably is a great time to reiterate now is that market returns are non-linear. A 20% CAGR does not mean you will get a 20% return every year. Returns over shorter periods will be all over the place. Some years we will see negative returns and some years we will see very large returns. In general, if you are investing in equities, always keep in mind that a 10% correction is likely every year, 20% every 3 years and 30% every 7-8 years.

As investors with a 3-5 year view, I think it is a great time to remain disciplined. Those who sip into the portfolio stocks, keep doing it. One slight modification you may want to do is increase the frequency of deploying your capital. If you were buying once a month, do it 3-4 times a month now. Buy on the days when the markets are crashing. That way you are likely to benefit in two important ways: 
1) you will get a better average price
2) you will feel happier that you have bought at a lower price (and this point is actually psychologically more important)

We are now going through a regime change. Years of easy liquidity policy is ending globally along with forces of deglobalisation and higher inflation. Any transition is painful, but fundamentally, I think India is placed in a much better position today than at probably anytime in the past. 

I am hopeful for the future.