The economy may not have scaled new peaks during the four years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime starting May 2014, but the stock markets did hit several highs. On January 29, 2018, the Nifty hit a lifetime high of 11,130.40 points as did the Sensex, which touched 36,283.25 points.
Moreover, the markets in the last four years have traded at a higher price to earnings multiple (P/E) than they did before that.
To be sure, investors had high hopes of the Narendra Modi-led government. In that context, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8% in the last four fiscals through FY18 may not seem very impressive compared with a CAGR of 14.2% clocked 10 years through FY14.
However, there have been strong rallies; the Nifty rallied a phenomenal 66% between September 2013 — when Modi was chosen to be the prime ministerial candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — and March 2015, around the time of the elections. The best year during the NDA regime was 2014-15 when the markets returned a fabulous 27%.
One remarkable feature of the markets in the three years to 2017-18 has been the emergence of domestic institutional players — insurance companies, banks and mutual funds — that invested more than foreign funds in these years. Over a four-year period, however, both foreign portfolio investors and local investors invested more or less the same amount.
In the wake of the demonetisation in November 2016, a large chunk of household savings flowed into financial assets; between November 2016 and April 2018, around Rs 2.2 lakh crore. In 2017-18, a record Rs 1.7 lakh crore flowed into mutual funds via equity and equity-linked savings schemes.
Interestingly, while the Nifty added about 3,400 points in the last four years, it could add only 4,932 points in the 10 years through FY14. India’s stock market is now the world’s ninth biggest by market capitalisation after overtaking Switzerland. India had even pipped Canada last November to clinch the eighth position on the market cap league table.