Equity – The New Normal for Parking

Who’s the biggest…

…Ponzi…

…of them all?

Insurance companies?

There’s someone bigger.

The government. 

Legit.

Probably not going to go bust…

…at least in a hurry. 

Moves money from A to B…

…with minimum accountability. 

Resurrects skeletons and gives them infinite leases of life…

…with good, clean and fresh funds…

…that flow out of the pockets of helpless citizens. 

So, what about the government’s bond?

Sovereign debt.

The herd is flowing to sovereign debt, and to some extent to 100% AAA max 3 month paper duration liquid funds. 

This is after the johnnies at FT India miscalculated big-time, and had to wind-up six debt mutual fund schemes in their repertoire.

Should one do what the herd is doing?

Let’s break this down. 

First up, the herd exited credit-risk funds en-masse, post FT India’s announcement. Logical? Maybe. Safety and all that. Took a hit on the NAV, due to massive redemptions. I’m guesstimating something to the tune of 3%+. 

This seems fine, given the circumstances. Would have done the same thing, had I been in credit-risk. Perhaps earlier than the herd. Hopefully. No one likes a 3%+ hit on the NAV within a day or two.

Let’s look at the next step.

Sovereign debt is not everyone’s cup of tea. 

Especially the long-term papers, oh, they can move. 3% moves in a day are not unknown. 13-17% moves in a year are also not unknown. A commoner from the herd would go into shock, were he or she to encounter a big move day to the downside in the GILT (Government of India Long Term) bond segment. Then he or she would commit the blunder of cashing out of GILT when 10% down in 6 months, should such a situation arise. This is absolutely conceivable. Has happened. Will happen. Again.

There are a lot of experts advocating GILT smugly, at this time. They’re experts. They can probably deal with the nuances of GILT. The herd individual – very probably – CAN’T. The expert announces. Herd follows. There comes a crisis that affects GILT. Expert has probably exited GILT shortly before the onset of crisis. Herd is left hanging. Let’s say GILT tanks big time. Herd starts exiting GILT, making it fall further. Expert enters GILT, yeah – huge buying opportunity generated for expert.

More savvy and cautious investors who don’t wish to be saddled with the day to day tension of GILT, and who were earlier in credit-risk, are switching to liquid funds holding 100% AAA rated papers.

Sure. 

This is probably not a herd. Or is it?

Returns in the 100% AAA liquid fund category are lesser. Safety is more. How much are the returns lesser by? Around 1.5 to 2% lesser than ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration funds. 

Ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration funds all fall under a category of short-term debt which people are simply ignoring and jumping over, because apart from their large size of AAA holdings, a chunk of their holdings are still AA, and a small portion could be only A rated (sometimes along with another smallish portion allocated in – yes – even sovereign debt – for some of the mutual funds in this category).

The question that needs to be asked is this – Are quality funds in the category of ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration funds carrying dicey papers that could default – to the tune of more than 2%?

There’s been a rejuggling of portfolios. Whatever this number was, it has lessened.

The next question is, if push comes to shove, how differently are 100% AAA holdings going to be treated in comparison to compositions of – let’s say – 60% AAA, 30% AA and 10% A?

I do believe that a shock wave would throw both categories out of whack, since corporate AAA is still not sovereign debt, and the herd is not going to give it the same adulation. 

The impact of such shock wave to 100 % AAA will still be sizeable (though lesser) when compared to its cousin category with some AA and a slice of A. Does the 2% difference in returns now nullify the safety edge of 100% AAA?

Also, not all corporate AAA is “safe”. 

Then, if nobody’s lending to the lower rung in the ratings ladder, should such industry just pack up its bags? If the Government allows this to happen, it probably won’t get re-elected.

The decision to remain in this category encompassing ultra-short, floating-rate and low-duration bond mutual funds, or to switch to 100% AAA short-term liquid funds, is separated by a very thin line

Those who follow holdings and developments on a day to day basis, themselves or through their advisors, can still venture to stay in the former category. The day one feels uncomfortable enough, one can switch to 100% AAA. 

This brings us to the last questions in this piece. 

Why go through the whole rigmarole?

Pack up the bond segment for oneself?

Move completely to fixed deposits?

Fine.

Just a sec.

What happens if the government issues a writ disallowing breaking of FDs above a certain amount, in the future, at a time when you need your money the most?

Please don’t say that such a thing can’t happen.

Remember Yes bank?

What if FD breakage is disallowed for all banks, and you don’t have access to your funds, right when you need them?

Sure, of course it won’t happen. But what if it does?

You could flip the same kind of question towards me. What happens if the debt fund I’m in – whether ultra-short, or floating-rate, or low-duration, or liquid – what happens if the fund packs up?

My answer is – I’ve chosen quality. If quality packs up 100%, it’ll be a doomsday scenario, on which FDs will also be frozen dear (how do you know they won’t be?), and GILTs could well have a 10%+ down-day, and, such doomsday scenario could very probably bring a freeze on further redemptions from GILT too. When the sky is falling, no one’s a VIP.

Parked money needs to be safe-guarded as you would a child,…

…and,…

…there spring up question marks in all debt-market categories,…

…so,…

…as Equity players, where do we stand?

Keep traversing the jungle, avoiding pitfalls to the best of one’s ability. 

How long?

Till one is fully invested in Equity. 

Keep moving on. A few daggers will hit a portion of one’s parked funds. Think of this as slippage, or as opportunity-cost. 

Let’s try and limit the hit to as small a portion of one’s parked funds as possible. Let’s ignore what the herd is doing, make up our own mind, and be comfortable with whatever decision we are taking, before we implement the decision. Let’s use our common-sense. Let’s watch Debt. Watch it more than one would watch one’s Equity. Defeats the purpose of parking in this segment, I know. That’s why we wish to be 100% in Equity, parked or what have you, eventually. 

As we keep dodging and moving ahead, over time, the job will be done already.

We’re comfortable with the concept of being fully parked in Equity. 

Whereas the fear of losing even a very small portion of our principal in the segment of Debt might appear overwhelming to us, the idea of losing all of one’s capital in some stocks is not new for us Equity players. We have experienced it. We can deal with it. Why? Because in other stocks, we are going to make multiples, many multiples, over the long-term.

Equity seems to be the new normal for parking

Bonding

As Equity players…

…we enter the bond segment to…

conserve capital.

There is no other reason.

Return?

We do make a slightly better return than a fixed deposit.

We’re not in bonds to make a killing.

That is outlined for the Equity segment.

We’re Equity players, remember. 

I was just going through the top ten holdings of each of FT India’s now “discontinued” (new word for mini-insolvency?) debt funds. (I’m uncertain just now what word they’ve used, was it “stopped”? Or “halted”?) [Just looked up the internet, the words used are “winding up”].

My goodness! 

The fund managers in question wanted to outperform all other funds at the cost of asset-quality. 

Many of these top ten holdings (for six funds, one is looking at six top ten holdings) one would not even have heard of. 

A top ten holding constitutes the backbone of the mutual fund being studied. 

If the backbone is wobbly, the whole structure trembles upon wind exposure. 

This corona black swan is not a wind. It’s a long-drawn out cyclone, to fit the analogy. 

This particular structure has crumbled. 

Fund managers concerned have acted out of greed – that’s the only explanation for above top ten holdings. 

No other explanation comes to my mind. 

That they are also holding large chunks of Yes Bank and Vodafone is more an error in judgement, albeit a grave one. 

People commit errors in judgement.

Could one still overlook the a large chunk’s (10%?) segregation in FT India’s Debt folios, where Yes and Voda bonds have been marked down to zero?

Such a hit is huge in the debt segment.

Why are we in debt?

To conserve capital. 

10% hit in debt?

NO.

Wobbly top ten holdings?

NNOO!

Had no idea that the FT India debt portfolio had so many red-flags. 

Till they dropped the bombshell that they were discontinuing their six debt-funds, from last evening, one had no idea. 

Now that it’s dropped, one digs deep to understand their mistakes.

Why?

One doesn’t want to make the same mistakes. 

One doesn’t want to be invested in any funds in the debt segment which are making the same mistakes.

However, another look at their holdings reassures one that one won’t be making such mistakes, of greed, and of comprehensive failure to read managements and road conditions – in a hurry.

Nevertheless, one wishes to be aware.

Now that one is, all measures will be enhanced to prevent even an inkling of such an outcome for oneself. 

Wait up. 

Such measures were already in place. 

Greed? In bonds? 

We’re in bonds to conserve capital. 

No greed there. 

Top ten holdings?

Rock-solid. 

That’s the fundamental tenet one looks for while entering any mutual fund, whether in the debt or in the equity segment. 

We’re good. 

Inflammation Anyone? 

Inflammation… 

… needs a reason to be… 

… and a reason to go. 

Let’s talk about the most common inflammation afflicting mankind. 

Sugar induced obesity. 

Human body recognizes Glucose and metabolizes it. 

However, the same human body treats isolated Fructose as poison. 

HFCS, short for high fructose corn syrup, is therefore full of poison. 

HFCS is much cheaper than table sugar. 

HFCS is used in big volumes by the food industry. It’s replacing normal sugar. Everywhere. It’s sheer… poison. And it’s cheap. Very cheap. 

It’s in cola, it’s in ketchup, it’s in almost all processed foods.

What happens to it in the body? 

Well, what happens to poison?

It goes straight to the liver. This wonderful and magnanimous organ tries to break it down. 

One big side-effect of the breakdown mechanism is the triggering of inflammatory enzymes. Body cells then start to swell up to protect themselves from poison. To and fro is impaired. They don’t want poison coming in. Unfortunately, good stuff, like insulin that throws out excess sugar, is also not allowed to enter.  Mankind is poisoning itself to obesity. 

Cut out the HFCS. 

Exercise to shake out inflammatory mechanism. 

See how your inflammation vanishes. 

Now let’s talk about the most common financial ailment afflicting mankind. 

Debt. 

We are in debt. 

We take more debt. 

We surround ourselves with useless paraphernalia, to ward off reality. 

Inflammation, again, disguised, but inflammation. 

Ultimately,  the mountain of due interest buries us under it. It chokes off our air-supply, just as obese cells produce “bad” lipids that deposit as mountains of plaque in our arteries, and choke off our blood supply. 

Let’s nip the problem in the bud. 

Like no HFCS – no debt. 

Craving for sugar? Fine. Control. To a point. Still craving. Fine. Have. But have normal sugar, along with fibre. Don’t have anything that contains HFCS. Shake off the relatively minor inflammation caused by normal sugar with exercise. You’re good. 

Longing to spend money? Control. To a point. Still longing to possess that something? Fine. Save. Consolidate. Accumulate cashflow. Only use debt when upcoming cashflow nullifies it in very foreseeable future. You’ve gotten your something, and you’re either debt-free already, or are going to be debt-free very soon. 

You’re good. 

🙂 

Happy Sixth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Phews…

…game’s getting interesting…

…as we turn six. 

We’re thinking of endgame scenarios. 

We don’t consider endgame-discussion to be silly anymore. 

We’re not treating an endgame as far-off. 

We’re financial-health-conscious. 

We’re learning to detest debt. 

We understand that debt is a virus. 

It starts to eat us up from inside. 

The only avenue when we do consider debt as a tool is when cashflow fills up any void soon enough, annihilating whatever debt that’s been incurred. 

Debt-free-ness is our goal. 

Maintenance of debt-free-ness becomes our natural endeavour. 

Why?

Such a condition leads to burgeoning financial health,…

… ultimately culminating in full financial freedom. 

We take “two minutes of freedom” to think about what financial freedom means. 

Not needing to worry about repayment of any bill, whenever, whatever, however much…wow!

That’s where we want to be. 

If we’re not there yet, we’re defining conditions that’ll get us there. 

If we’re there, we’re ultimately starting to realize, that one can’t eat money. 

Money is a force. It’s physical existence is in the form of paper. However, the force nature of money is what we’re in the process of understanding. 

Force can be used to do the highest good, but also its opposite. 

A part of our excess force is diverted towards doing good. 

Charity. 

Upliftment.

Legacy. 

What are we if we don’t leave behind a legacy?

What will we have lived for?

This is our one shot, and it’s a big one. 

We’re making it count.

Slowly, realization is taking over. 

We’re evolving. That’s one side-effect of financial freedom, but one needs to want to evolve too. 

Our evolution is making us divert more and more funds towards the greater good. 

We’ll take that. That’s fantastic. No further discussion required. 

Happy reading!

🙂

From Strength to Strength 

Baby steps… 

… into freedom. 

What kind of freedom are we talking about? 

Universal freedom? 

If you insist, smarty, but first things first.

Financial freedom. 

That’s the kind of freedom that sparks off every other kind of freedom. 

Our first and foremost goal is to achieve financial freedom. 

What is the one big nemesis of financial freedom? 

Debt. 

Tear off debt. 

Detest it with every cell of your body. 

If it comes towards you, move in the other direction.

Don’t allow it’s tentacles to engulf and then strangle you. 

You do all that by nipping it in the bud. 

A new world order in being defined. 

The debt-free… 

… and the in-debt-ones. 

Where do you wish to belong?

The former category calls the shots. 

That’s where you belong. 

Your every move… 

… takes you from strength to strength… 

… towards debt-free-ness. 

Full financial freedom is a short walk from there. 

Story doesn’t stop there, sure, your strength-momentum sees to that.

However, it’s the first debt-free million that’s always the hardest-fought, and the most-fondly remembered.  

Nath on Equity – Yardsticks, Measures and Rules

Peeps, these are my rules, measures and yardsticks. 

They might or might not work for you. 

If they do, it makes me happy, and please do feel free to use them. 

Ok, here goes. 

I like to do my homework well. 1). DUE DILIGENCE. 

I like to write out my rationale for entry. 2). DIARY entry.

I do not enter if I don’t see 3). VALUE.

I like to see 4). MOAT also. 

I don’t commit in one shot. 5). Staggered entry.

I can afford to 6). average down, because my fundamentals are clear. 

My 7). defined entry quantum unit per shot is minuscule compared to networth. 

I only enter 8). one underlying on a day, max. If a second underlying awaits entry, it will not be entered into on the same day something else has been purchased. 

I’ve left 9). reentry options open to unlimited. 

I enter for 10). ten years plus. 

Funds committed are classified as 11). lockable for ten years plus. 

For reentry, 12). stock must give me a reason to rebuy. 

If the reason is good enough, I don’t mind 13). averaging up. 

Exits are 14). overshadowed by lack of repurchase. 

I love 15). honest managements. 

I detest 16). debt. 

I like 17). free cashflow. 

My margin of safety 18). allows me to sit. 

I pray for 19). patience for a pick to turn into a multibagger.

I keep my long-term portfolio 20). well cordoned off from bias, discussion, opinion, or review by any other person. 

There’s more, but it’ll come another day. 

🙂

Market-maker

Manipulation. 

Recognition. 

Alignment. 

Trade. 

Spike. 

Out. 

How does one recognize manipulation? 

On the charts. 

After eyeballing many many charts, one gets a feel for it. 

Manipulated strike-points become pivot points. 

It’s a push from a fund-heavy conglomerate. Push becomes a cascade as traders join in. 

After the spike, the market-maker pulls out funds so cleverly that rates don’t fall. 

Funds are now ready for the next push. The same funds. 

Repeat. Same loop. 

Till strategy fails. 

Then, maker starts manipulating in opposite direction. 

Life’s busy for the maker. 

There’s trouble with the authorities. Ends on a compromise. Maker will step in when authorities need to prop the market. 

No maker – no market. 

Why do you think there’s always a quote to your underlying? 

Because of the maker. 

After a market has crossed critical mass, makers sit on their spikes. They roll-over on expiries, and enjoy the ride. 

Ride is not always smooth. 

Makers often get greedy and break their own rules. Functioning with no safeties, many makers get wiped out. To add to their woes, a large percentage functions on borrowed money. 

Makers have an electronic life, which loops from cellphone to terminal and back. It’s a life that’s punctuated by headaches, physical and mental. 

Don’t envy a maker. 

He or she is just doing his or her job. That’s all. 

Trade the maker.