Saion Mukherjee of Nomura India speaks on Banks, insurance, infra & pharma key overweights. How quality financials to benefit from the lower cost of funds and budget fairly acknowledged NBFC crisis. Budget reforms cap chances of deeper NBFC slowdown. Select corporates will benefit from a fall in the cost of capital and more.
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you're watching this special chat with Simon mukerjea phenomena today they recently come out with a note begging the nifty target by March 2028 closer to thirty thousand levels so I have it this I on because you're joining us on the show today to take the discussion on markets and macros further thank you very much as I on you know you're a rare voice interact very very you know rarely to media media and regarding the your notes but the recent one was quite interesting one closer to 13,000 in such an environment where collapse of growth is really concerning almost every market participant what makes you constructive on the market at this stage so I think I you know the growth concerns have been there for quite some time and you know if you look at some of the segments specially consumption oriented segments like autos for instance we have been seeing bad numbers and it's getting reflected in the stock prices as well what makes us somewhat constructive is the fact that on the macro site if you see the way the cost of capital has come down or you know the interest rates have fallen I think clearly from the budget where we saw the government sticking to its fiscal in fact you know it has surprised us positively by delivering a three point three percent fiscal deficit number and also the other measures which have been announced in the budget whereby you know there is an intent to attract foreign capital I think the environment is set for a lower cost of capital which actually supports valuations for the equity markets the other factor which we have been worrying about is you know this whole NBA FC related issues and I think the key takeaway from the budget are one of the positives we felt was that clearly there was an acknowledgement of the problem some kind of a support was given now how effective is it that's going to be is something we have to wait and see but clearly there's a recognition of the problem and you know a statement of intent is there that the government or the policy makers would like or RBI would like to you know step in as and when the case may be so that probably eliminates the risk of a major slowdown or a very deeper slowdown so if you look at what our macro team or economics teams are forecasting is essentially a revival in growth so we are below 6% today but by the first half of calendar year 20 we are saying we will be closer to 7 or even higher than 7% growth so essentially our growth trajectory is upward from where we are today supported by a lower cost of capital so that's largely the framework which gets us in fact you know cost fallen cost of capital is the you know just gives boost to the valuations overall but cost of capital has been edging lower for some time now maybe the acceleration in bond yield fall is last couple of days and weeks but rate transmission was not happening they have been three cuts by when of which quarter do you see the benefit of lower cost of capital start flowing in corporate India but at a much more accelerated pace and mainly financials which you're you know essential argument is that will be the beneficiary of lower fall fall Anita you know since the elephants crisis came to the fore in in you know later last calendar year I think we have been grappling with lower liquidity in the in the banking system you know there were factors there were concerns on current account at that point when oil prices were kind of moving higher foreign inflows were also quite low because there was an impending elections and there were concerns around there so in general the liquidity environment was quite tight now for the first time I think in from sometime mid of June or early June we have started to seeing a good amount of liquidity in the banking system so I think you know a higher amount of liquidity is something which would be required for transmission of rates to happen so I think we are at that point and I am hoping and we have to wait and see how this plays out there is a reluctance to lend right I mean because there is an element of cautiousness among lenders so that's obviously is understandable but as liquidity improves it kind of helps at the margin to pass on you know the fallen rates so we are expecting you know rate transmissions to gradually improve from here on so your conversation with corporates mainly the financials and in BFC heads what is the what is the kind of feedback you get in your own calculation because first quarter you know the mother expected to be washout across sectors but sequentially do you see numbers improve from here on so you know essentially the interesting thing is that you know you you have corporates where what would be the beneficiary of this fall in cost of capital you know are or NBF sees or financial intermediaries who are beneficiary of a falling cost of capital because they are perceived to be somewhat better quality names right so they can have access to capital at a lower cost at the same time because there are lenders and intermediaries who are in stress they are in a position to gain market share so we are looking at pockets where companies are or you know the lenders are able to borrow at a lower rate and also gain market share in the end market right and the pricing still is quite good there so there is an argument for improvement in spreads for those financial intermediaries so that's the that's something which we are expecting will play out if you look at financials which obviously is you know one of the bigger contributors to our growth forecast earnings growth forecast over the next couple of years you know for this quarter our analysts forecast I was just looking at it you know for most of the NBS sees and corporate banks that we cover and which matter it's almost all almost you know 19 20 percent kind of a growth that we are seeing in operating profits of people for these companies so I think it's it's not really that bad it's showing signs of revival and on the asset quality side we are keeping a watch because there is incremental stress on NBF CS and HF C's but we at this stage believe that it's kind of assumed in our numbers but we are definitely keep an eye on that so the biggest sector financials we are quite okay with the kind of earnings delivery that you know we intend to see this quarter the other big worry in the mind of the market is the kind of announcement on divest him spend which is happens on the government side and people fear that one announcement and divestment and other the change of norm higher you know share coming into the market and lowering a promoter share is actually crowd out the market in a way and will increase supply but you have a control of you that it may not be midget and you know yeah I mean you're right so you know I think this investment target we have seen numbers you know closer to 80 thousand crows so they're about the fact is it has inched up higher compared to what was there in the interim budget it's not a very big number I mean there could be other ways of monetizing also which could include you know monetization of certain assets you know like toll revenues for instance which can get monetized so there are other ways of monetizing as well so the number per say compared to where it was in the interim budget has gone up but it's not really that dramatic you know to have a you know a completely different view on on divestments and the other question you mentioned about was changing in ownership yeah that's something which is a proposal at this point right which is the proposal to Sebby and it's something which we don't know how and how long so it's going to be a very gradual process no immediate or major supply expectation that we have however these things this increase in free float essentially could increase the weight age of Indian stocks in the benchmark indices you know which in turn would lead to inflows so that's something which you know we can negate the supply that we are you know kind of talking about and if you look at you know some of the very Maki names would you know figure there I think there is very good demand and there should be good demand for some of those people so when you were talking to the universe of clients all kinds of FI eyes what is the feedback you got regarding the the kind of higher taxation or surcharge they'll tell some of them will start getting now will be levied because of a opiez what's the feedback there so the feedback I mean obviously we have seen in the market reaction and the voices which have been raised so obviously incremental taxes is something which is negative it eats into the returns clearly now is there a way to kind of work around that I frankly I don't know I mean one has to wait and see how that plays out but yes at the margin that's definitely incremental for the set up for many of the investors today you're : autos most of the auto stocks are at 52 week low anyways apart from two wheeler which are seeing relative buying and you are structurally negative on it now how prolong could this slowdown be and how risky could it be for investors to try and hunt for value there at this stage or do you think at later stage perhaps there could be a case for relook they were at least for now it's a strict no no so you know autos actually we are probably it's likely gone more negative than what we were earlier so obviously you know the stocks have been correcting because of slowdown and one of the argument was that we kind of thought of you know the these are like well done companies generates a lot of cash flow so you know there's a high cash flow which should give support to these companies but what we are seeing is that there is you know continuous erosion or earnings cut which is still happening right I think you know given the nature of the sector you know it's it's we could see further cut in earnings so that worries us so we have cut our numbers but still there is a scope for further negative surprises as far as earnings are concerned and then on top of it we have to deal with the structural issue where you know the government is trying to make a push for electric vehicle in a very serious way I think you know I mean for the for the country there are a lot of positives which can come out over the longer term but it's and I'm sure a lot of you know the auto companies are taking steps to participate in in move towards electric vehicle but that uncertainty remains so whenever there is a disruption how that kind of plays out is very difficult to kind of predict so what I sense is that when you do not have an earning support and the structural overhang and and and some of the pockets the ownerships have been high so I think we may have to wait for somewhat more where we expect the multiples to in somewhat lower and then probably you know relook at these names and hopefully we will get some clarity on on the EEV strategy etcetera but that's not in the immediate future farmers space you have been positive on but now you believe that there's a bigger turnaround at clean selectively stocks have started looking positive there can you talk about any stuff frankly you've been positive it hasn't really you know worked out so far yeah I mean it's been very range found and you know we haven't seen a clear break out in those names and understandably because you know again you know we have seen big amount of disruption there and you know earnings volatility has just been quite you know significant but you know what we think is that we are closer to the bottom and maybe we can debate as to how long will it take for the earnings revival and the stocks to perform but I think at the margin risk reward is favorable and I think if you take a cup you know two years view I think a lot of the issues will fall in place so I think the biggest pain point has been the US generic space and what we are seeing there is that I mean it's still challenging but it's not deteriorating any further as far as you know the pricing environment is concerned and on top of that there is an acknowledgement of the issues and companies are taking steps to you know get this structure right get their cost structure right I think that's yet to kind of you know play out and I think the expectations are quite low on any of the new initiatives of the company of stake here companies have taken on speciality innovation etc which can potentially play out right so if you add up all I think the risk/reward is favorable though it has been a Lagarde for quite some time and it hasn't really worked in the last one year or so but we are holding on to our call and we think you know we won't lose much money from where the levels are yeah I mean it's debatable whether it's a one year or two year but I think if we have a two year window it's a good time to accumulate what's your view on utilities and some of the energy stocks for that matter because at least utility that also a beneficiary of lower falling heels and lower cost of capital are you constructive yeah so I mean we don't cover utilities stocks at this point but yeah I mean from a strategy perspective we have overweight in our model portfolio as far as utilities is concerned I think clearly again I think as you mentioned right fall in rates is is something which is positive for these names in addition I think as you know the growth revives over period I think and of course the push for electric vehicle etcetera I think the electricity demand expectation from a longer-term perspective is is constructive so yeah so the combination of the two make makes us over it on this particular space and talk to us about your recent interactions in the align community or some of your last visits in the region how are they looking at emerging market as a pack in India with in that pack because we are almost there for a rate cut cycle to begin in us as well we are in a middle but they are also starting off so how will India stand in in that view so you know in fact you know mind I mean I feel that there has been a material change in in way people kind of look at India I think before the elections in early part of this calendar year there was a lot of skepticism you know of course there was issue with growth the NBF see and I elephants crisis came up at that point in time on top of it you had an uncertainty around the elections I think from end of February we have seen increasing interest in India among investors and you know on a relative basis right in the region the uncertainties around trade war and India being less exposed to those uncertainties make it relatively more attractive compared to the other markets so my interaction do suggest that there is higher interest today than what it was let's say the start of the year and you also sound relatively less worried about the growth you know there's a lot of gloom and doom on the street at least regarding growth you think in the next couple of quarters growth will chuff out and we are almost at the bar so we may not I mean so it it will tougher as you said right so we have gone below 6% on on growth and if you look at our forecast which our economics team is expecting you know we are talking about six and a half or slightly more towards the second half of this calendar year and going up to seven plus in the next calendar year so yeah there is a there is a gradual recovery trajectory which we are factoring in so yes so that's something which is quite critical and we think that the potential deep slowdown is not our base case so when your clients you know your interactions happen with them where do you think they eagerness to buy life and hence the inquiry the highest where are they curious to know more about but still not wanting to step their feet in – and which are the areas they are completely staying away from even if you recommend something there yeah so I think clearly you know the banks and financials is one space which gets the most you know I would say interest clearly there is a story out there because there is a disruption and the market dynamics are changing and you know as we had discussed last time there is change in management which kind of August well for some of these banks so I think there's a fair amount of interest in the financial space also I think you know the government's focus on investment led growth is something which makes investors interested to look at you know infra construction space I would say these are the two spaces where we see a quite a quite a lot of interest I think autos again because the stocks are corrected and there is a lot of I do see eagerness you know among investors to look at that space so I think these are the areas the key key areas where I think we get a lot of interest obviously I think you know given you know India has been a consumption led story so there is obviously an interest there but you know what we find is you know one of the earnings expectations on consumption side is still still high and we just find the valuations too rich and there is a very limited scope for error so given the performance we do see a lot of interest in in these names as and when they correct but I mean what we think is that maybe it will be an underperformer from here on for quite some time sure you know one view I would like to get from you as a market participant as a strategist on the broader market you have your Universal mostly large cap but still an observation point of view because market did become extremely concentrated last couple of months only a select basket of stocks are moving up historically when this kind of phase happens low growth phase and broader market is shunned by a large section when does interest come back you know going forward you must have seen previous phases as well no growth phases or do you think market will be led by large caps or recovery will be led by large caps only yeah no I think you know it's very selective market I mean that's what we have been saying that you know one has to it's it's look at you know bottoms up you know stock selection of portfolio making I think I think there's a you know good time to look at the smaller and mid cap names which you as you said because of growth concerns etcetera they are kind of shared out if our hypothesis works out right where there's a revival in growth you already have lower cost of capital I think you could see a lot of confidence coming back to the mid caps and and relatively smaller names so from I think again you know this is a very good time I think to kind of look at that name and and of course there could be good names in the last cave space also but as you mentioned that you know this is this is a segment which has been more or less ignored by the markets and I find in in certain store that I cover the valuations are quite attractive and I think the expectations are a lot lower yeah the universe itself is at a five year low in terms of valuation so I'd like to end with the you know at this point of yours can we out of all the conversation the entire conversation I had with you can we infer that in the next three four years the current the six months from here would be the lowest in terms of growth and some of the weak parameters or high frequency indicators formed in the next six months perhaps could be the lowest we may see next three four years yes I think so I mean that's the base case that we are seeing so we are probably maybe a quarter or two quarter where we kind of grapple with you know the impact of the slowdown which gets reflected in earnings and that's when things starts to stabilize and you know the market I would say is forward-looking right so it tends to incorporate those things you know before the event happens actually so so therefore you know I think similarly when when the revival signs will start to pick up you know you will see revival happening so I would agree with your assessment that you know the next couple of quarters would be the time when we will probably you know the in terms of worry would be the bottom point and from there we would see a reverse so if one were to go about making a nice portfolio stocks or basket of stocks probably the next six months could be absolute all right and on that note I'll let you go thank you so much for your time thank you wonderful chatting with you yeah pleasure thank you okay I respect you