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Unloved Indian software stocks a buy for this insurer

Shares of Indian technology companies have been hurt by uncertainty about US visas

Bloomberg 

Unloved Indian software stocks a buy for this insurer

The recent underperformance of Indian software stocks, once considered a bellwether of the overall market, is a glaring buy signal for Life Co.

The S&P BSE Information Technology Index is the second-worst performer among 13 industry gauges compiled by BSE, weighed down by losses in names including and In contrast, India’s benchmark index has surged to a record.

“We prefer software among defensive sectors such as pharmaceuticals and IT, as they have entered a ‘buy zone’ in terms of valuations after the recent correction,” said Sampath Reddy, chief investment officer at Bajaj Allianz, which manages $7.7 billion of assets. The ULIP Equity Growth Fund, the largest managed by Reddy, has returned 19 per cent so far in 2017. Shares of Indian technology have been hurt by uncertainty about amid rising protectionist rhetoric that has forced some clients to delay decisions on outsourcing contracts. Investors have also been concerned about recent reports that founders at two of the top four providers were looking to sell their stakes. Some market participants advise waiting for a clearer trend to emerge in the sector.

“Investors must wait six-nine months for a decision on software exporters,” said Prasanth Prabhakaran, chief executive officer at Mumbai-based Yes Securities. able to adapt more quickly to changes in the operating environment will be “good buys.”

The BSE IT Index has climbed 3.9 per cent so far this week, set for the steepest gain in that period in more than seven months. The gauge has fallen 16 per cent from its peak in March 2015. and Tata Consultancy Services, the top exporters, kick off the earnings season for the April-June period this week.

Bajaj Allianz’s Reddy recommends investing in the sector now, and sees profitability being maintained amid continued sales expansion. “Return on capital employed on core business for these is still healthy and upwards of 25 per cent, and even though the growth has slowed the potential for 5-10 percent growth is intact,” he said. 

The software gauge is valued at 15.6 times forward earnings, representing a 20 per cent discount to the Sensex, the cheapest in eight years, data compiled by Bloomberg.

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