A turbulent equity movement, dismal corporate earnings, sub normal monsoons, plunge in commodity and oil prices along with surprise interest rate cuts: It has been a year to remember for Indian markets.
For the year 2015, the S&P BSE Sensex ended 5% lower at 26,117.54 levels, while the Nifty50 closed 4% lower at 7,946.35 compared to their respective closing figures as on December 31, 2014.
“Year 2015 turned out to be a complicated year for investors with corporate performance failing markets expectation. The momentum started to fade after the announcement of the budget in Feb 2015; actual earnings trajectory turned out to be flat or negative, contrasting the 18-20% projected by consensus estimates. Domestic politics have also eluded market expectations as the dilution of political equity of the Modi government compounded following the state electoral results in Delhi and Bihar. The declining political strength implied that the critical bills like Land Acquisition Amendment Bill and GST Bill failed the parliamentary approval,” said Krishna Kumar Karwa, MD, Emkay Global Financial Service.
ALSO READ: Top stock picks from brokerages for 2016“The silver lining for 2015 however, was the continued flows received by domestic institutions, particularly mutual funds, from retail participants who saw great opportunity in exploiting the valuation arbitrage created from the earlier run-up in the benchmark indices and large cap stocks. In year 2016, equity market performance will be driven more by real performance rather than by expectations like the premium attributed earlier to global excess liquidity, political strength of the government at the centre or any other major trigger,” he added.
With a rise of around 7% to 11,143 levels, the S&P BSE Mid-cap index has outperformed its larger peers – the S&P BSE Sensex and the Nifty 50 indices in calendar year 2015 (CY15) that slipped of over 4%. The Mid-cap index is just 3% shy of its peak level of 11,666 hit on August 10, 2015.
According to reports, out of the three calendar years with negative equity returns in the last decade, 2015 has been the only one where Mid-cap stocks have outperformed the large caps.
ALSO READ: Midcaps shine in 2015; index rallies 7%
Among the emerging market (EM) peers, India remained in a bright spot amid a slowdown in global economy on the back of multiple rate cuts by the RBI and its efforts to keep inflation under check and capital infusion by the domestic investors.
In addition, Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in Indian equities to the tune of Rs 17,269 crore in 2015 till December 29.
China’s benchmark index Shanghai Composite nosedived nearly 45% in the span of three months to hit 2,850 levels—its lowest level of the year 2015. Despite the massive fall, China emerged as the top performing equity market in Asia.
Meanwhile, the Greek crisis had a ripple effect on Indian equities in a reaction to the global risk-off trade.
Another major event of 2015 was the 25 basis point hike in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve. The interest rates, which were maintained at zero, were raised for the first time in almost a decade since the Great Recession indicating signs of a pickup in the world’s biggest economy.
The Reserve Bank of India Governor, Raghuram Rajan slashed interest rates by 125 bps in 2015. However, the roadblock in the way of monetary transmission is the weak health of the banking system, as reflected in the high level of stressed assets.
Furthermore, the Modi-led NDA government failed to make progress in implementing key reforms including land acquisition and Goods and Services Tax (GST) with the monsoon session of the Parliament being a complete washout and the winter session ending on a mute note.
CURRENCY & COMMODITY CORNER
The rupee fell for the fifth straight year amid global turmoil and strengthening of the US dollar. However, it emerged as one of the top performing emerging markets' currency, bucking the trend in Asia on the back of slipping oil prices and intermittent intervention by the RBI.
Oil prices began falling in mid-2014 on oversupply glut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The downward movement gained momentum at the end of 2014 after a Saudi-led OPEC decided to maintain production high to defend global market share rather than cut output to prop up prices with Brent prices falling below $36 per barrel last seen in over a decade. Meanwhile a sharp decline in the base metals was seen as the demand from China contracted.
Indian initial public offerings (IPO) surged more than nine-fold in 2015 and raised the largest amount of money in five years. Indian firms raised 138.62 billion rupees ($2.09 billion) via IPOs in 2015, compared with 14.68 billion rupees in 2014. In 2015, 21 IPOs were launched on the BSE as against 5 in 2014, the highest number since 2011, when 37 IPOs were launched.
The top five IPOs in 2015 are InterGlobe Aviation, Alkem Labs, Coffee Day Enterprises, Dr Lal Pathlabs and Navkar Corporation.
BSE Consumer Durables, Healthcare, IT and FMCG indices were the top gainers for the year surging between 2%-25%. On the other hand, BSE Metal, Capital Goods, Bankex, Realty and Power indices fell between 6%-32%.
Financials which have a major weightage in the Sensex basket were among the major laggards with ICICI Bank, SBI and Axis Bank losing between 10%-30%.
However, five Sensex stocks including Maruti Suzuki, Lupin, Asian Paints, HDFC Bank and RIL registered negative returns during the year dropping between 10%-40%.
Among individual stocks, India's largest drugmaker Sun Pharma closed the year with marginal losses post its merger with Ranbaxy which closed in March this year.
Drugmaker Lupin replaced private sector electricity producer Tata Power on the BSE benchmark index Sensex from June 22, 2015. Lupin gained 28% in this year.
Vedanta, Tata Steel and Hindalco saw a sharp fall in market capitalisation this year due to the global fall in commodity prices. Vednata and Hindaloc were replaced by Asian Paints and Adani Ports in the 30-pack Sensex. Adani Ports lost 18% while Asian Paints surged 17%.
In the midcap space, Essar Oil, Ashok Leyland, Britannia Industries, Indiabulls Housing Finance and Aurobindo Pharma are some of the stocks that have rallied over 50% in CY15.