Chris Wood bullish on only ‘real private banks’ in India, not ‘pseudo-private’ ICICI Bank and Axis Bank

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Updated: April 18, 2018 1:46:48 PM

Chris Wood says that he is bullish on India's private bank stocks, affordable housing theme as well as residential real-estate stocks. However, he is not buying shares of ICICI Bank and Axis Bank for a reason.

Chris Wood, CLSA India strategist, Chris Wood on ICICI BankApart from ‘real private sector banks,’ Chris Wood is buying is bullish on the affordable housing theme and residential real-estate stocks.

Following the Rs 11,400 crore PNB scam, even as we continue to see major scandals in the Indian banking space, Chris Wood of CLSA says that there has been a banking issue in India for several years and he is hopeful that all this news flow creates more determination for the government to let the whole bankruptcy resolution process work as outlined in the new legislation. In an interview to ET Now, Chris Wood, Equity Strategist said that he is bullish on India’s private sector banks.

When asked specifically about ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, with ICICI Bank CEO in focus due to recent reports of alleged impropriety in Videocon loan case, and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma’s curtailed term, Wood says that he is buying only ‘real private sector banks’. “They are called private banks but actually they are not private banks because they are historically public sector banks. I would call those two entities pseudo private sector banks. My equity allocations are in real private sector banks,” Chris Wood told the channel.

Apart from ‘real private sector banks,’ Chris Wood is buying is bullish on the affordable housing theme and residential real-estate stocks. He is particularly enthusiastic about the RERA enactment. “The areas I want to play most are affordable housing in India which is a five-year story and I want to play the real estate sector based on the consequences of this RERA legislation which I believe will lead to a healthy consolidation,” he said in the interview.  

Chris Wood said that implementation of LTCG tax on equities from this fiscal year could lead to drop in inflows overall. Calling the decision unfortunate, Wood said that foreign investors are looking at dollar returns. “The rupee not being very weak is a positive but the long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax to me is an unfortunate decision to take when you had big inflows finally coming into equity mutual funds. Another big issue for India this year is what happens to these inflows? Do they suddenly stop? If they suddenly stop, that would definitely be negative because in my view, foreigners will not fill the gap,” he said.

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