Time to buy? More than half of BSE 500 companies trading at discounts

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Updated: April 3, 2019 5:35:34 PM

The strong up move in select heavy weight stocks has left the markets expensive.

The broader BSE 500 index represents nearly 93% of the nation’s market capitalisation and it covers all 20 major industries of the economy.

On a day the Sensex surged to a new lifetime high, more than half of the BSE 500 constituents are trading at a price 20% less than their 52-week highs, indicating that a larger number of stocks are yet to catch up with the current rally in benchmark indices.

As many as 283 firms out of the BSE 500 companies have lost anywhere between 20% and 85% from their highest prices in the past one year. This includes marquee stocks such as Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Vedanta, Grasim Industries, and Godrej Consumer Products, among others, data sourced from Bloomberg showed.

Only 31 of the BSE 500 universe rose to their 52-week highs in the last two sessions when the benchmark Sensex crossed the 39,000-mark. For instance, the Maruti Suzuki stock has fallen nearly 31% from its 52-week high price of `9,922.85, eroding its market cap to the tune of `88,736 crore. While the market value of Tata Motors eroded by `51,503 core from its 52-week high, Sun Pharma and Vedanta have seen an erosion of `49,616 crore and `46,112 crore respectively.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has lost `83,342 crore in its market value, even as the stock of country’s second-largest firm has declined 8.5% from its 52-week highs. Not surprisingly, the current market capitalisation of BSE-listed firms is `6.84 lakh crore lower to the earlier record of `159.35 lakh crore it had touched in August 2018.

The broader BSE 500 index represents nearly 93% of the nation’s market capitalisation and it covers all 20 major industries of the economy.

The rally this year has been driven by purchases of overseas investors that have bought stocks worth nearly $8.5, a big swing from last year’s outflows of $4.6 billion. On the other hand, between January and now, the domestic institutional investors sold shares worth $2 billion, Bloomberg data showed.

With the strong inflow of foreign funds and benign oil prices, the rupee has gained over 6% in the last six months. It closed with a gain of 40 paise at 68.74 on Tuesday.

The strong up move in select heavy weight stocks has left the markets expensive.

At its close of 39,056.65 on Tuesday, the Sensex now trades at a price-earnings(PE) multiple of 18.8 times to the estimated one- year forward earnings, against the long-term average PE of 16.6 times. This compares with 10.9 times for Kospi and 15.1 for Jakarta Composite. Russian equities were the cheapest in the emerging market with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 5.7, Bloomberg data showed.

Historically, Indian equities have traded at an average PE premium of 26% to the Asia pacific region, excluding Japan.

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