Is Your Mutual Fund Portfolio Strategically Placed As The Economy Slows?
Sep 03, 2019

Author: Divya Grover

(Image source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

The GDP data, for June 2019 quarter released on August 30, 2019, came as a shocker even as everyone was expecting an economic slowdown. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed that real GDP growth for the quarter was just 5%, plunging to a six-year low.

The two crucial sectors namely agriculture and manufacturing, which employs a majority of the population, suffered a decline in growth. GVA from agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector grew by 2% as compared to a growth of 5.1% in the year-ago quarter, while the manufacturing growth was flat at 0.6% as compared to 12.1% during the same quarter in the previous year.

Another worrying factor revealed by the data is the slow growth of private consumption expenditure, which accounts for around 55% of the GDP and gross fixed capital formation which accounts for around 32% of the GDP.

The RBI, in its annual report for 2018-19, acknowledged that a broad-based cyclical downturn is underway in several sectors and mentioned that there are still structural issues in land, labour, agricultural marketing, and the like that need to be addressed.

Recently, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to encourage the growth of the economy.

[Read: How To Ensure The Current Economic Downturn Does Not Impede Your Retirement Plan]

The levy of higher surcharge on FPIs, which lead to massive erosion of gains from the stock markets, was withdrawn to boost investors' sentiments. However, this move only revived the market for the short-term as bigger issues plagued the economy.

The auto sector is a key indicator of the economy's health and to address the on-going slump in the auto sector the government announced several measures. It was announced that BS-IV vehicles purchased till March 2020 will remain operational for the entire period of registration. The hike in registration fees has been deferred till June 2020, while for vehicles purchased till March 31, 2020 there will be an additional depreciation of 15% to encourage faster replacement.

It has further announced lifting the ban on purchase of new vehicles by the government's departments. The centre is also mulling GST rate cut on automobiles.

Though these measures can positively impact sales to an extent, without rise in income at hands of the people, especially in the rural areas, there will not be significant rise in auto sales.

[Read: How Nirmala Sitharaman's Recent Announcements Impact the Mutual Fund Industry]

The government will infuse Rs 70,000 crore into PSU banks for credit growth, as was announced in the Union Budget. In addition, Finance Minister said that banks will pass on the RBI's rate cut to customers.

Liquidity support for housing finance companies will now be Rs 30,000 crore, up from Rs 10,000 crore earlier to help ease the liquidity crisis in the NBFC sector.

Tepid investment and low demand is at the core of the current slowdown in the economy. The passing on of the lower rate to customers and liquidity support to banks and NBFCs is important to make working capital loans cheaper and to help revive investments.

Another major announcement in the banking space was the merger of 10 PSU banks into 4. According to the minister, the merger would help to manage the capital more efficiently and utilise the synergy.

Revival of infrastructure is another key aspect to economic growth, and for this the government will form an inter-ministerial taskforce to review infrastructure projects.

Furthermore, it will provide relief on angel tax for startups registered with the DPIIT. To help MSMEs overcome their challenges with capital requirement, all pending GST refunds to MSMEs will be made within 30 days. In the future, all GST refunds will be paid within 60 days from the date of application.

The revival of the economy would depend on the fiscal and monetary measures announced and more actions which might be announced in the coming weeks. These actions may start showing results in the medium to long-term.

The slowdown in the economy has heavily weighed down on the equity markets and may continue to impact it in the short-term. This, in turn, could impact the returns on your equity mutual funds. The SIPs of many schemes have been generating negative returns in the past few years and there are no clear signs of lift-off in the near-term.

But as an investor, you must not let the fear of uncertainty grip you. Volatility is the very nature of equity markets. By sticking to your investments even during volatile times, you can create wealth in the long-term if your portfolio is strategically placed.

[Read: Market P/E Ratio Driving Your Mutual Fund Decisions? Big Mistake!]

A strategic portfolio is the one which is based on the `Core & Satellite' approach to investing. The term `Core' applies to the more stable, long-term holdings of the portfolio, while the term 'Satellite' applies to the strategic portion that would help push up the overall returns of the portfolio, across market conditions.

This strategic portfolio lets you focus on the stable schemes with a long-term view and at the same time capitalise on short-term opportunities.

[Read: Are You Waiting For The Right Time To Invest In Equity Mutual Funds? Read This!]

Large-cap fund, multi-cap fund, and value style funds should form the core part of your portfolio, while, the satellite part of your portfolio should include a mid-cap fund, large & mid-cap fund, and an aggressive hybrid fund.

The `Core & Satellite' approach aids in diversification across categories and investment styles and thereby reduces the risk to your portfolio. It can provide a cushioning during the downside in a bear phase and outperform during a bull phase. If your portfolio is strategically placed, there will be no need for constant churning of the portfolio and you will be well placed to tide over the market volatility.

Editor's note:  If you are looking for high rewards with moderate risk, consider PersonalFN's Premium Report, "The Strategic Funds Portfolio For 2025(2019 Edition)".

With this, you gain access to a ready-made portfolio of top recommended equity mutual funds for 2025 based on the Core & Satellite approach to investing.

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