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Monday, October 10, 2011

Smart Investors Always Focus on Fundamentals

Fear or greed may move the market over the short term, but sooner or later economic fundamentals take control.

Stock market bubbles happen when greed (or at least the excitement of money to be made) pushes prices to unrealistic heights.

Conversely, bear markets, when there is more pressure on the sell side than the buy side, happen when investors become disillusioned with over-priced equities.

Bull and bear markets tend to raise or lower all stocks, but often hit some sectors harder. Not surprisingly, the stock sectors that take the biggest hits are often those previously floating on the bubble.

We all have experienced last bubble which was lead by Realty Stocks. Stocks like Unitech, DLF, HDIL which were the darling of many Investors in last bull run are making new lows today. These stocks have massively eroded the capital of investors since 2008.

HDIL - A mumbai based realty company, was trading at 4 digit price in Jan 2008, made all time high of Rs. 1114 on 10th Jan 2008, couple of months after listing in stock exchanges, today trades at 2 digit price of Rs. 92. Investors who bought this stock on that day have lost almost 91% of their capital as on date. Investors during that period was fascinated to invest in these companies.  Every thing was rosy in terms of realty stocks, huge land bank, mega township projects, expansion in tier 1, tier 2 cities etc. No body wants to think and analyse the changed scenario as of today.        

It is easy to assume that markets are either driven solely by fear or greed. While that may be the case when markets are expanding or contracting, it doesn’t explain how the markets behave in between raging bulls and roaring bears.

Stock Fundamentals Rule

During these times, fundamentals rule rational investing - there will always be those who impulsively jump into and out of the market.

It is easy to overlook the fundamentals, both economic and market related, in the heat of a soaring or crashing market, but you do so at your own peril if you are a long-term investor.

Just as in the boom, companies still need to earn a profit and pay their bills to prosper. There is no excuse for dismissing these fundamental truths.

No matter what the market is doing, companies that have a sustainable business model, strong cash flow and little debt are going to come out of any boom or bust in good shape.

Investment Truths

It is worth repeating these investment truths:

• The economy is not the stock market
• Stock prices may or may not represent a company’s true value
• Good companies are long-term good investments

A stock’s price is only important in establishing when is a good time to buy or sell.

Long-term investors have time on their side - time to let aberrations in the market work themselves out. Take advantage of time and let good companies show their true value. Don't be in a hurry to make lot of money from stock market.