Domestic equity markets are not looking cheap after the rally of nearly 25 per cent since February-end this year. Market experts believe that factors such as sustained liquidity from foreign institutional investors, expectation of robust monsoon this year and salary hike of government employees supported market sentiments in the past few months. The Nifty 50 index has risen 24.74 per cent to 8715.60 on September 12 from 6987.05 on February 29. Among the 51-components in the Nifty index, 32 stocks outpaced the benchmark index with Hindalco Industries surging the most — 105 per cent, followed by Tata Motors (up 84.67 per cent), YES Bank (up 75 per cent), Maruti Suzuki (up 65 per cent) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (up 28 per cent) and State Bank of India (up 27 per cent).
On the other hand, Idea Cellular, Lupin and Sun Pharmaceutical slipped by 20.61 per cent, 12.60 per cent and 7.83 per cent, respectively, during the same period. After the recent run-up, brokerages feel that markets are not looking cheap now and there is a very little upside left.
Since the beginning of March 2016, Foreign institutional investors have poured Rs 60,338 crore (net) in the Indian equity markets till September 2. Their gross purchases and gross sales stood at Rs 6,24,070 crore and Rs 5,63,732 crore, respectively, during the period. Brokerage firm Prabhudas Lilladher said, “With the continued inflow of liquidity into emerging markets, the markets have been having a good run. This has kept the market trading over the upper end of the trading range. While we believe that India continue to remain relatively one of the better economies to invest in and with growth, the valuations are not cheap and is steep, which leaves little upside.”
Sharekhan in a research note said that equity markets are not cheap after the significant rally since the beginning of the financial year. On PE (price/earnings) basis, the Sensex trades at 17 times one-year forward earnings estimate, which is at a premium to the long-term average PE multiples. However, on a macro-centric metric (ie Market Cap-to-GDP), the Sensex trades at a comfortable level of 0.8-0.85x GDP. Liquidity alone cannot help sustain the momentum.