Cohorts, the flagship program of TiE Hyderabad is shaping up very well. We have five Cohorts in operation and their leaders have given a thumps up for the way the members are experiencing the Cohorts. We have announced the training for the next batch and I am very keen to start the 6th Cohort before we say goodbye to the year 2018.
We are also launching Spouses Cohorts in the coming weeks. The idea is to make TiE Hyderabad a great circle of close knit family friends. In fact, I had launched a Youth Inner Circle for the children of CEO Club Members a few years ago. I want to start a Youth Cohort in TiE as well and I am collecting data on the age profile of the children of CMs.
In order to bring awareness of the best practices in the functioning of CEO Peergroups (Cohorts), we have planned a presentation by Sanjay Upendram on 27th of this month. Please do attend the presentation as Sanjay is the best CEO peer group coach available in India. He is the person who had developed our Cohort Manual.
Another important program we need to start to leverage on TiE’s global presence is Customer Connect. Many large global organisation have started identifying the start-ups working in their space to mentor, invest or give them the business. All these are very crucial for start-ups and TiE is in a position to play that role as a platform. We need two committed volunteers to take this program forward.
We have launched a few surveys in the last few months including the latest one on Hyderabad – a Complete City. We received good response from the active members but we need more to make it one of the best documents on how to make Hyderabad a complete city. Please do take out sometime to complete the survey and also encourage entrepreneurs or senior professionals in your circle to do the same.
Any professional organisation can be as effective as its members involvement. Your active involvement in organising and attending the programs makes all the difference between a great association and an also ran institute. Please keep bombarding the Tie office with your feedback and suggestions so that we will always be on our toes.
What is success? Does becoming rich make one successful? How about earning a degree from an ivy league or even winning a lottery? How about building a drinking water well in your village? Is it success? Success means an accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Success doesn’t necessarily turn one into rich. It turns one into an accomplished person. If someone is successful, does it means she is intelligent? Having intelligence would definitely help. Intelligence is our ability to acquire a skill or knowledge and apply it. Even awareness that one is not intelligent helps her achieve her goal and hence be successful. such awareness helps her bring people more smarter than her on board.
Image Source: theimpactnews.com
One neither need to be intelligent nor needs to be entrepreneurial to accomplish her goal. All IITians are highly intelligent by the virtue of their admission into these ivy leagues of India. Does it mean, IITians have greater success? You may say 13 IITians run India’s billion-dollar startups. Yes, those 13 IITians have accomplished their goals. It doesn’t make a non-IITian working for a non-profit less successful. The sense of achievement one gets after she meets her goal or purpose makes her successful. It is not relative and is very subjective. Success is not a quantitative number but a qualitative feeling. One may see you as highly successful but if you feel internally miserable, then you are not successful yet.
IITian or not, Unicorn or not, Startup founder or not, if one can hit the bed with the feeling of a sense of achievement and fulfilment of her goal, she is successful. She may wake up the next day with a new goal and chase it. Success is a continuous process. Success begets success. One goal leads to the next. Don’t quantify your success with the success of others. Instead, question the goal you have set for yourself first. Sometimes, there is a success remorse. After accomplishing what she wanted, when she looks back, if she finds the journey was not worthy of her time, then it would be too late.
Success will come. Success will come to you, your driver, that poor boy on the street side. The question one needs to ask is “what goal shall I choose?”. I read a story where a poor protagonist visits a filthy rich estate and sets his goal to build an estate much filthier than that. In the end, he achieved the goal he has set for himself. The story ends where the protagonist sits in the middle of his mile-long estate as a very lonely person sans smile in his face.
First, choose the right goal or purpose. This is a crucial step. Choose a goal worthy of you. Value is the key here. Then give your best and reach the goal. Cherish the success thoroughly on the day you achieve it and wake up the next day morning with a newer goal. With each success, make sure your happiness quotient goes higher and higher. What defines happiness is an entirely new topic for another day.
A Versatile Entrepreneur…
An hour into the conversation with Suresh Challa, I wondered to myself, “how can he be in a perfect storm, every time?” It may have been coincidence or pure timing, but every time Suresh started a new venture, he found himself in a perfect storm.
He knew how to navigate his entrepreneur-ship out of those storms and into blue oceans. When he returned to India in 1989 the first time, India was going through the storm of twin deficits at that time. Right in the turbulence, Suresh took Asian Coffee Limited, a pioneer in coffee exports, public in 1991, and successfully exited it to the Tata’s in 1993.
Soon after, back in the Silicon Valley to start Post Modern Computing, which went public on Nasdaq in 1996 as Visigenic at a $120 million valuation, later acquired by Borland. He ventured into health-tech to found Neotrax, that automated personal health records. Once again he navigated it through the dotcom bubble and exited successfully in 2003. Forget top business schools, Suresh didn’t even have an MBA degree. Yet, he mastered “Start, Scale, Succeed and Exit” mantra by learning on the go.
Suresh’s business acumen is exemplary, and he prefers an uncluttered life. Spending time between Orange county and Hyderabad, Suresh is on a mission to visit 100 countries, he is 10 shy. When not traveling, he spends his free time honing his only passion – golf.
– SSPDL Ventures Pvt Ltd, part of SSPDL Group, a construction services and Real Estate company.
– Vista Pearson school (under Pearson management) is into K-12 education
– Fortune Biotech manufactures neem-based bio-organic pesticides.
Startup portfolio: Invested in 15 startups including GreyCampus, Thrillophilia, India Money, Pathasala and more.
Family: Wife Sridevi is a homemaker and Suresh is proud that she brought up the kids very well. His daughter, Sandhya, is an architect based in Orange county, California. Suresh said happily, “she is a dream child. Not a single day or moment that I recall where we were concerned about her. Sandhya is very mature and exactly knows what she wants.” His son Sanjay goes to University of California at Irvine.
Suresh Challa was born and brought up in Hyderabad to parents who hailed from Anantapur. His dad served as the chief justice in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh. After schooling at St. Paul’s and mechanical engineering from JNTU Hyderabad in ’82, he earned his masters in 1984 in Industrial Engineering from University of Texas, Austin.
After landing in USA
“When I landed in USA, after the first semester, I wanted to earn money and pay for myself. I joined a bookstore. My job was to refurbish old books. We worked so hard that we completed a six-week job in three weeks and we got fired. I chose to work as a janitor for the remaining three weeks. Instead of mopping the floor, I left puddles all over and got an earful from the supervisor.”
“My first job was at National Semiconductor (now Texas Instruments). The first day was into fabrication and I was given a toolkit and made me an apprentice under a technician for six months. That technician was reluctant to share his knowledge with me as I was a high-paid engineer. I took a graveyard shift to work with the night-shift technician who was more helpful.”
Story of Asian Coffee
Suresh’s brother started Asian Coffee, manufacturing instant coffee in India and he was persuaded into joining the company. Asian was the first coffee company to export soluble instant coffee. India grows both globally popular flavours – Robusta and Arabica. Asian processed green coffee and was a 100% export oriented unit, globally supplying coffee to companies like Nestlé. The company grew rapidly and went public in 1991 and was eventually acquired by what is now known as Tata Coffee 1993 at a valuation of Rs.190 crores, 5 times the top line. Tatas and ITC got into a bidding war, which helped a higher valuation, resulting on one of the first Indian exits. People didn’t know one can exit a business and move on for good reason.
Back to USA again
Post the sale of Asian Coffee, Suresh went back to the US and started Post Modern Computing (PMC) with a childhood friend Prasad to develop components for application interoperability using C++. PMC talked to systems at the app level instead of TCP level. We created a library that helped us customize applications for interaction. Two of the co-founders were Stanford grads. Suresh led the business development among the four founders, the other three being quintessential techies.
While they figured out how to get there, CORBA had emerged as an interoperability solution. “I would go to the Stanford library to search for communications related information in those pre-internet days.” Information superhighway was coming and Post Modern Computing positioned themselves as the “on-ramp” to the information superhighway. “I began to write spam emails to influential people from the Stanford library as there was limited email service.” He connected with Iridium Communications, a Motorola company and the world’s first satellite communications company, through a professor at the University of Arizona.
“They wanted to visit us, seven of them, but we were working out of an office for four. So booked a conference in Palo Alto community center. The meeting lasted all day. We gave solutions to whatever problems they threw at us. Our licensing model was per user and the opportunity was huge.”
“Towards the end of the meeting, they asked us our views on CORBA, we bragged that we were better. That lost the deal for us. They instead chose to go to Dublin to meet with Iona Technologies who had a CORBA-based product.” Motorola focused on standards and chose Iona. “If we had agreed to work with CORBA, that contract was ours,” Lessons learned.
One of the founding Java software developers was a good friend of a co-founder and that helped Prasad port the C++ code to Java, creating the first Java ORB in the market. Post Modern Computing got a lot of attention in universities as we gave away free licenses.
“Distributed Object Technologies were very new, but ours was easier to work with.” The CORBA version was called Orbilean and the Java version BlackWidow. Blackwidow became popular at an event organised by the Object Management Group. “They created a game that players could start in one booth and continue to play at another booth and so on. We were the hub.”
Netscape was the rising star in 1994 and Marc Andreesson looked to acquire Post Modern Computing and offered to buy it $14 million. “When Netscape embedded our ORB in their browser, we got the maximum visibility. Informix was keen to acquire us.
We still had just five people.”
While talking to a senior executive at Informix, he figured Netscape was likely to acquire Post Modern Computing. Informix offered $17 million in cash to acquire the company. “We hired Hambrecht & Quist as our investment banker, who advised us to play big and introduced Visigenic, founded by Roger Sippl, who also founded Informix and Vantive Software.”
Visigenic sold ODBC drivers after buying licenses from Microsoft and built a huge team. They had everything except a product and we had the product. Roger valued Post Modern Computing at $30 million and offered to merge with Visigenic to create a $90 million company. “We wanted cash, but he convinced us and took the company public in August 1996 at valuation of $120 million. The world had begun to move to web servers and Visigenic was acquired by Borland.”
Tip: When there is a buyer, find out who else is interested. Then things move really fast. Always have a competing bidder.
Huge opportunities were emerging with the Internet, but there weren’t enough smart people. The outsourcing boom had begun. Around this time, Suresh was offered an opportunity by his president at Borland (Inprise), Mark Hansen to provide support services, which prompted Suresh to become – Inprise’s consulting arm and founded Neotrax to focus on healthcare technology. “Our first large project was for Kaiser Permanente to unify the clinical information of all their customers. We offered to build a connect between different sets of information, but they wanted to build it on their own. This got him interested in medical records, and Neotrax created a medical information portal called PersonalMD.
PersonalMD was the first online system that allowed an individual to take control of “his/her” medical records by “having the ability to access his/her medical records anywhere in the world and the best part was they could access their records even if they didn’t have any internet connection – all within a few seconds with the help of an automated system”.
PersonalMD offered data services to insurance companies. “An interesting anecdote made us popular. We got a call from a person in Atlanta who told us we had saved his life. He met with an accident. The EMT used the victim’s Personal MD card and accessed the records. The EMT guy gave a TV report mentioning how PersonalMD helped save the victim. EHG, an insurance company that focuses on insuring fortune 500 executives acquired Neotrax in 2003 post the dot-com bust. “The system still exists. Some of my employees still work there.
Suresh was an early investor in Vijay and Vishal Sikka’s company called iBrain software. Vishal was 27 when Suresh invested $75,000 in the company.
Interesting fact: “One investor told us that consulting revenue was a distraction. I will fuel you but you do innovation. Then the same investor flipped on us.”
Bhat: What would be your lifelong dream?
Suresh: Be a happy guy. I have done moderately well in financial stability. Relations matter to me the most. At this point in life, I am living the dream. The ability to do what you want to do when you want to do. I am doing that just now. I am blessed that I could do it now. Things fell in right place very early in my life so I could do what I am doing today.
Bhat: If you are stranded on an island, what two things would you take with you?
Suresh: Fishing rod and golf club.
Bhat: What compliments do people give you the most?
Suresh: “I smile a lot” is what people say.
Bhat: What have you done that you are most proud of?
Suresh: All the companies i have built are still in existence and are doing well.
Bhat: Leader or a follower?
Suresh: More of a leader. I don’t follow others in doing things, in that sense.
Bhat: Define happiness?
Suresh: Ability to do what you want to do when you want to do.
Bhat: When was the last time you laughed out loud?
Suresh: Every day. As early as yesterday, I had a good time with my childhood friend and reminisced past experiences and had great time.
Bhat: Four things you would change about yourself?
Suresh: I wish I could learn new skills at this time. I am having hard time. Better public speaking. I wish I picked golf early, something that looks very simple but is frustratingly hard.
Bhat: What is the first thing you think of in the morning?
Suresh: Things do for the day come to my mind. Read three newspapers for couple of hours.
Bhat: What will you never do?
Suresh: I never talk behind people’s back.
Bhat: Who instilled in you to go big?
Suresh: My dad was a huge influence. Humble background of farming “family”. He was a self-made man – became a leading lawyer and went on to become the Chief Justice of AP”
Bhat: The next big thing?
Suresh: Way of living. Designer drugs, 3D printing, how we manage our free time and virtual world.
Bhat: What do you fear the most?
Suresh: Political environment not just within India but globally.
Bhat: One final message for first-time entrepreneur.
Suresh: Have the risk taking appetite. Don’t shy away from failure. Product is only 30%, selling is 50% and finances are 20%. Stop polishing that apple. Take it to the market. Bring complimentary teams.
LEADERSHIP SERIES – MR. C. PARTHASARATHY, CHAIRMAN & MD, KARVY GROUP
Karvying niches at scale
It is rare to find people who have lived with a single mission for a lifetime. What is wondrous is, when they exude the same enthusiasm and passion every time you hear them talk. In a TiE exclusive evening, Sanjay Jesrani of TiE Hyderabad engaged in a fireside chat with C Parthasarathy, Chariman and Managing Director of Karvy shared insights into his life, journey at Karvy, and his mantra to “Keep Growing.”
After being a part of a company that he helped found, and steered it to the heights that it has achieved over the past 35 years, C Parthasarathy (CP, as he is known within Karvy and in the industry) doesn’t have his initials in the company’s name. Karvy I made from the first letter of each founder’s name. Yet, CP’s legacy is etched all over the business and Karvy’s 35-year history.
KARVY, founded by a group of finance executives in 1983 all in their 30s then, is a financial services powerhouse that has (almost singlehandedly) changed the way people in India access stock markets. “It took us a while to get going, even after we decided to start on our own,” he reminisces trying to track down all the different ideas they pursued in the early years of Karvy. But his insights were spot on when he realised that the financial services would transform the way manufacturing did in the 80s.
CP grew in a household that advocated free thinking. Brought up in a family of doctors, his has been a financial brain from early days. He went to the Hyderabad Public School and went to become a Chartered Accountant. “I knew Hyderabad was going to be where I would settle down, to keep a promise to my mother.”
He initially worked as a chartered accountant in the purchase department at DCM Shriram, before he decided to come back to Hyderabad and join his friends at Karvy. “We were evaluating various opportunities at that time. We recognised the need for automation of accounting and finance fairly early and developed solutions that made it easy for us to perform audits.
“We lived in a state of doubt for quite a while, trying to figure out what business line would make us successful,” he admits adding, “but I had no fear of failure, only wanted to get it right as quickly as possible.”
“Around 1986, we bought our first computer from Mohan (good friend BVR Mohan Reddy, founder of Cyient), who was then the sales manager at HCL. We bought it for Rs 4.5 lakh with a loan from Andhra Pradesh State Finance Corporation,” he rewinds, “it was a big bet, but one that helped us ideate and define a new service.”
While working with Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (APIDC), CP saw that the corporation didn’t have enough resources to manage their project appraisals. “We helped them automate some of the appraisal process which helped them evaluate the project appraisal statements faster. This APIDC opportunity led to a new service line. Soon we had a sizeable clientele who wanted our services with their project appraisals, and their accounts and auditing. But it quickly died when IBM launched their PCs,” he added, signalling a new era for their business.
Forced to correct course within two years of starting Karvy left a paranoia that forced CP to keep exploring new opportunities. “I still live in that paranoia,” he admits. It was around this time, he was curious to know more about the services required for the stock markets. “I was on a flight to Bombay (then) and trying to make sense of documents relating to IPOs, when a gentlemen in the next seat interrupted out of curiosity. It was a chance meeting with FC Kohli, the founder of TCS. And it changed the course of Karvy for good. We decided to enter into stock market services.”
Karvy created new service lines early on within the financial sector like investor relations in the backend, and IP management services in the front. The company more recently diversified into social services like financial inclusion. Karvy was the largest issuer of Aadhaar cards in India.
More than all that, Karvy has become the modern synonym for the city of Hyderabad.
Keep Growing at scale
By the 1990s, Karvy was a leader in IPO management, IPO collections and Registry Services. The 90s were the real growth period. Karvy forayed into stock broking and advisory business, capitalising on the new found enthusiasm among people to participate actively in the stock markets. This was the post liberalisation period.
“We started to build an organisation that was much larger than any of us founders. I realised around this time, that I needed to create a work culture that creates an aspiration – to be the biggest and the best in the market. The company made rapid strides acquiring large corporate accounts in investor relations, creating a monopoly of sorts.
While Karvy managed numerous IPOs, the company itself never went public. To a question why they never did, “we were lucky to find partners who invested in us when we needed to grow,” he said, “Jardine Fleming invested in our business in 1995, our first. Since then we have had many investors come in and exit.”
Diversify into Competence
Early in the new millennium, the company ventured into commodity trading, and later into currency trading services. It also built a large network to distribute financial products like mutual funds and IPOs.
Over the past 35 years Karvy has grown into a financial services behemoth, yet they are not a bank. With over 35000 employees, 900 offices in over 400 locations, the company is steered well by its leaders to remain relevant and modern with the changing times. Perhaps the best testimonial to their success is the fact that Karvy is among the top 4 service providers in every line they operate in.
“It required a deep involvement and keeping our ears close to the ground. For instance, we saw the dematerialisation of of shares coming, at least a few years before it happened. So we were ready,” he said in response to a query on how they managed to stay relevant over the years and stayed aligned to the changes in the market.
Beholding a happy future
Into the current decade the company created newer services in eCommerce enablement, and into data management services through an acquisition. “This has enabled us to innovate and continue to offer newer services to our clientele, besides modernising ourselves,” he added “maintaining sensitive data was always part of our business, with all the shareholder information lying with us.”
CP beholds a happy future for India and its economy, admitting that he regrets being born early by 20 years. “We are in an era of continuous growth. This will sustain for a while,” he said signing off.
“ReThink – TEDxHyderabad urging the world”
India’s Best Quality and Amongst Worlds elite TEDx events – TEDxHyderabad 2018 organised and curated by our CM Viiveck Verma.
Over the past 4 years our Charter Member Viiveck Verma – Chief Strategy Officer for Srinivasa Farms has been working on building and growing the TEDxHyderabad platform to become India’s best quality and amongst the top few events globally and the event for this year was held on 16th September 2018 at JRC Convention which saw 2600 attendees and 15 speakers besides amazing performers and experience zone.
TED and TEDx videos have taken the internet by a storm in the last few years, and they have been immensely powerful in making sure that the seeds of ideas are planted far and wide. In November 2014, Jay Heratti, the Director of the TEDx Program in NYC expressed deep interest in laying down the foundations of a strong TEDx community in Hyderabad, which led to the creation of TEDxHyderabad community, and I am the proud licensee and curator of the events that we host for this community. We organize these events under a not for profit organization SAHE (Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour) that aims to catalyze impact in the city by building a community of Thinkers, Enablers and Doers! Yes! We created our own full form for the acronym TED.
I do hear the argument sometimes that when one can watch the videos rather than attending an event in person – what’s the difference anyway? And Virat, a management professional who has not missed a single TEDxHyderabad event so far answers it for us. “It’s not just the talk in itself, but the electrifying atmosphere and the immersive learning that inspires you to take that leap of faith. I can watch videos non-stop on YouTube, but then, I’ll switch it off and carry on with my work. When you are present at the TEDx event, you have the opportunity to take your idea to the next level right there”, says he. The event is an active networking space, where you meet thousands of like-minded individuals, who are keen to make a difference. The LiveTheLakes initiative by SAHE or the award-winning movie on agrarian crisis “Mitti” are both testimonies to the fact that we have turned the ideas germinated at TEDxHyderabad into a beautiful impact, taking the meaning of community to achieve truly worthwhile and visible results.
Through 2015 – 2018, I have created a sustainable engagement with the local attendee community. I organised various TEDx event formats and initiated a few social initiatives. We have successfully organised 22 different events so far. The event in 2017 was the first TEDx event in India to be held in an Indoor Stadium. Our time-lapse videos have been played for the past 3 years at TED in NYC. The success of our event in 2015, led us to be chosen for an Anchor Program by TED for 2016/2017 which is for select teams across the country.
Some fascinating statistics of our events so far – 4 years, 6000+ attendees, 23 events, 120k+ social media reach, 2.5 million+ views, 60+ speakers
10 Interesting things about TEDxHyderabad
- We have our own interpretation of TED – Thinkers, enablers and Doers
- We have a strong people connect through social media. In fact the TEDxHyderabad family met on Facebook with a simple post by asking interested individuals to join hands to be a part of the organizing team.
- We love community building activities, be it LiveTheLakes, Save10KBores or Mitti
- We celebrate our attendees and speakers both and look out for future speakers and volunteers from our attendee pool
- We like to have a varied team – students, corporate employees, doctors, engineers, CXOs – we have them all!
- We make friends for life with good like-minded individuals coming together to learn and experience new technologies with embedded human values.
- Our venues are unique and chosen with passion
- TEDxHyderabad salon events “bus” full of curated attendees and thought leaders was recognized at the TED Summit in Banff as one of the most innovative and interesting salon event globally.
- For us “impact” matters and we constantly explore the opportunities to maximize community building and strengthening the community engagement with strong network.
- Curation is sacrosanct to our team, for inducting team members, speakers and audience.
- Our team vision is aligned for the volunteers that get handpicked from hundreds of applications and are coached with a powerful vision exercise by a professional coach.
- We are all volunteers with values of inclusiveness and transparency firmly in place
- Our ticket to TEDxHyderabad is ours!
The speakers at the event this year were as follows:
- Gen V K Singh – MoS External Affairs
- Tabu – Film Personality
- Dr S K Joshi – Chief Secretary Telangana
- Sanjay Thumma – Celebrity Chef
- Colleen Lightbody – Leadership Coach
- Bel Pesce – South American Entrepreneur
- Aishwarya Boddpati – Naval Sailor
- Anshul Sinha – young Film maker
- G V Ramanjaneyulu – Agriculture Reformist
- Dr Vikas Singh – Economic Thinker
- Meghana Reddy – Indian Gymnast
- Falguni Oza – Marketing Guru
- Harish Sadani – Male Feminist
- Vijay Chadda – Educationist
- Sandeep Sangaru – Design Thinker
Lessons from September and October months
By Suresh Raju, Jupiter Alternative Investment Fund
In the months of September and October, the NIFTY fell around 1,300 points (down 11% from end of August) and the SENSEX was down 4,200 points (down 11%). For equity investors, the sudden increase in volatility was alarming. News of market crash making headlines could not be ignored. The breadth of sell-off led to one of the steepest drops since 2008. 45 of the 50 Nifty constituents had negative returns across the two months of September and October.
This rout was more significant in mid-cap and small-cap companies. Over 90% of Nifty Mid-Cap and Nifty Small-Cap constituents had negative returns across the two months of September and October.
For most of the year, India’s macro-economic factors were stable, but then fears of a trade war between the US and China started haunting investors, although it did not act as a trigger. But, a steady climb in the price of oil (India’s biggest import), a fall in rupee, a bloated current account deficit and loan default by a major infrastructure financier (IL&FS) created the perfect storm for investor sentiment to turn bearish and “traders” taking every opportunity to sell and exit. Domestic institutional investors kept pumping funds into the stock market. On the other hand, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold Indian shares as they were cautious.
Macro-economic factors vs. fundamentals?
There is hypothesis and statistical evidence suggesting that Indian stock market returns could be explained more by macro-economic factors rather than individual company related matters.
Referencing two articles here: a journal article by Kiran Kumar Kotha and Bhawna Sahu titled, “Macroeconomic Factors and the Indian Stock Market: Exploring Long and Short Run Relationships”, and a recent article by Saurabh Mukherjea, “Why the Indian Stock market is unique in the world”
Quoting here some of the findings:
Further, the study observes that three out of four factors (viz., WPI, money supply and T-bill) are relatively more significant in a long run relation. Turning to short run relations, the study reports bi-directional causality between Sensex and exchange rate. Inflation and money supply show positive and significant relation with stock returns. Interest rate shows negative and insignificant relation with stock market returns
60% of the variability in stock prices in India is driven by macro factors. In contrast, in the two biggest stock markets in the world – USA and Japan – the corresponding figures are 34% and 35% respectively, implying that in these markets company-specific factors are responsible for two-thirds of shareholder returns
Therefore, an argument can be built that for investing in Indian stock market understanding the macro-economic factors are more important. So, what are the primary macro-economic factors? The following are the most important macro-economic factors to understand and monitor closely:
- Interest rate: fundamental macro-economic factor having significant impact upon stock returns. Reduction in interest rate reduces the cost of borrowing, serving as an incentive for firms and increasing their stock prices.
- Exchange rate: US Dollar to Indian Rupee affects international trade and trade balance (Oil being India’s biggest import). Depreciation of domestic currency induces investors to shift funds from domestic assets to foreign currency assets, depressing stock prices. Depreciation of currency leads to an increase in demand for exports, thereby increasing cash flows in the country under the assumption that demand for exports is elastic.
- GDP growth: Stock returns depend upon level of economic activity, and GDP is the most comprehensive measure of real economic activity in an economy.
Considering the steady climb in the price of oil and a fall in rupee in the months of September and October, which led to a bloated current account deficit, we could hypothesize that the Exchange Rate was the primary macro-economic factor causing the sharp decline in stock prices in India. May be, foreign institution investors understand, and track macro-economic factors very closely, and thus could be ahead of the curve.
One could argue that the Indian stock market is showing signs of higher market inefficiency, because of higher relation between stock returns and macro-economic factors. With broadening of investor base from within India (ever growing domestic institutional investors’ capital and increased ownership of stocks by individuals) a higher variability in stock prices in India, hopefully, will be driven by company-specific fundamental factors, rather than macro-economic factors.
In addition, “bi-directional causality between Sensex and exchange rate”, implies that as Sensex falls, potentially some foreign institutional investors are liquidating/selling their rupee positions and buy backing US dollars, which adds to pressure on Exchange rate, and rupee depreciates further. In volatile market conditions, this bi-directional causality may cause “excessive” near term reactions. In the short run, stock prices react significantly to technical factors and investor sentiment, which impacts supply and demand for stocks. This results in both unpredictable and irrational stock price movements.
In the long run, value creation is driven by fundamentals and company specific factors such as company’s earnings, demand for products, management skills, IP and so on.
Being alert and aware of the current situation enables an investor to optimize his portfolio and take advantage of opportunities provided by the market.
Time to re-enter and buy the Dip?
Some investors were cautiously buying quality stocks as valuations had dropped significantly. Investors will be well rewarded probably on a 12 to 24 months time frame. During the volatile month of September, the Sensex trades close to 16.5x profits estimated for the next year. At its peak, its valuation was the highest in at least a decade.
The above material is neither investment research, nor investment advice. Jupiter AIF does not seek payment for or business from this article in any shape or form. Jupiter AIF is a SEBI registered fund, as an Alternative Investments Fund, Category 3.