Dehradun: Naina Saagi is 55, but her investment portfolio could be that of a 20-something—no debt, no mutual funds, and only stocks.
“Debt products are not the best way to beat inflation. I don’t think I can sustain even my domestic help going by the way costs are skyrocketing”, said the hotelier from Mussoorie, one of the 200 who attended an investor camp organized by business news channel CNBC-TV18 in Dehradun last week.
Dehradun, capital of Uttarakhand, has a population of around 8.5 million and is representative of a group of smaller cities where interest in the stock market is reviving. The interest first emerged during the bull run of 2006-07. In 2007, according to data provided by the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the proportion of shares traded by investors outside the top four metros was 19%, up from 14% in 2002.
While Mint couldn’t immediately access numbers for 2008, it is likely that investors in cities outside the top four metros went cold on stocks that year, courtesy the sharp fall in the market.
The behaviour of people such as Saagi could be indicating that such investors are now returning to the market.
Like Saagi, who tracks stockmarket news, subscribes to stock tips, and plays the markets intraday while single-handedly managing a boutique hotel in the hills, the others attending the camp were keen to learn the secret of stock market investing.
“This is my 50th investor camp and I see an increase in the presence of young people who come to take stock advice. It is no longer limited to just traders, but people from all walks of life actively looking at stock market investment,” said Ashwani Gujral, chief market strategist, Ashwanigujral.com, an investment portal.
Gujral was one of the speakers at the event. The other speakers included Phani Sekhar, fund manager, portfolio management services, Angel Broking Ltd (a sponsor of the investor camp), and P.N. Vijay, director, PN Vijay Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. Vijay is a regular on the investor camp circuit and has spoken at around 80 of them.
The mood of the speakers was uniformly bullish.
Vijay was convinced 2010 will be the “year of making money without tension.”
“Although tightening of interest rates next year and a rollback of the stimulus package may reflect on the stock market, but only for the short term. Good valuations this year led to the sharp rise in the market and the trend will continue next year. Emerging economies will witness growth and will get a chunk of the global pie,” he added.
Gujral and Sekhar were equally bullish but advised caution.
“Typically, it is seen that an investor buys fear and sells greed. So, when the television flashes that a particular stock is looking good, that is the time majority enters the stock when all the shrewd investors would have made their money and pulled out of the stock,” said Gujral.
And Sekhar stressed the merits of right valuation.
“A business maybe good but that’s not all. You need to be able to buy the stock of that business at a reasonable price. Hence, valuation of a company is just as important”.
The audience lapped it all up, and there were several people new to the business of investing in the group. Among these was Geetika Kakkar, who runs a non-governmental organization called Gauri International, which works to empower women. Kakkar isn’t an investor.
“I am here to learn and then impart the teaching to the women I work with. I want them to be able to invest on their own. This is the first time I am attending an investor camp,” she said.