Six months into Modi Sarkar, the ring of achhe din seems to echo louder of Indian stock market heavyweights and foreign institutional investors. While former BJP minister and an early Modi backer Arun Shourie felt disappointed with the pace of real time reforms (there’s so much noise of the plates being readied, but the food just doesn’t arrive, he recently quipped quoting the Urdu poet Akbar Allahabadi), a new report from Credit Suisse (CS), a large financial group, talks up the Modi-led India to be the last bastion of growth. “...in a world struggling for growth (CY15 growth to be only marginally better than the anaemic CY14), India stands out. Promising medium-term prospects come from an extremely low base, and a stark improvement in state-level governance. Credit Suisse economists project India to see the fastest USD nominal GDP growth in 2015, with the growth gap between India and the rest of the world expanding,” said the report’s authors and CS analysts Neelkanth Mishra and Ravi Shankar.
The CS researchers find that the Indian stock markets, currently trading near record highs “are not expensive on both absolute as well as real terms”. “Given the better medium-term growth outlook, we expect market multiples and companies with strong medium-term earnings growth visibility to remain attractive for investors,” adds the report.
CS’s preferred stocks in the Indian market largely consists of companies in the financial sector and private consumption. Some of its picks include Gujarat Pipavav, Havells, HCL Tech, HDFC Bank, Shriram Transport Finance, Kajaria and Maruti and Sun Pharma.
Bharti, SBI, BHEL and Tata Steel are some of CS’s no-go areas.
The report however warns that India’s greater-than-assumed global linkages pose potential risks. The windfall from the commodity price crash too could have been overestimated. “The consensus view of lower commodity prices being a boon for India is perhaps directionally appropriate, but it overstates the advantages as economic impact is likely to be only neutral to slightly positive. Of the three factors impacted: (1) we believe balance of payments surplus is unlikely to be higher than the $40-45 billion we had projected beforethe fall became steep—weaker exports and capital flows would offset the gains from cheap oil; (2) first order impact on inflation would be insignificant, and second order effects could get muted by the recovering economy, in our view; and (3) we think the government’s fiscal situation should improve.”