Economic meltdown, businesses incurring losses, crumbling capital markets... 2008 has had more than its fair share of financial woes. And helpless investors have looked on as mute spectators.
Needless to say, mutual funds also struggled.The numbers are nothing short of dismal. All equity mutual fund categories are languishing in the red as the year draws to an end.
The BSE Small Cap and BSE Mid Cap indices were severely hit with losses of 73.03 per cent and 67.87 per cent, respectively. In comparison, Sensex was much better off with a loss of 52.83 per cent. Fund portfolios, which were heavy on mid- and small-cap stocks, fared worse. Those with large-cap exposures were in a relatively better position.
Others, which turned their peers green with envy in 2007, were forced to eat humble pie. In fact, some delivered returns of 100 per cent last year but have hit the dust in the market collapse. This proves our point that one should never pick a fund on sporadic performances. A long-term perspective is always the best.
TOP 5 SURVIVORS
Launched in February 2006, it is new. But till date, it has done a fairly good job. Its emphasis on buying growth stocks at reasonable prices has worked well. Being well-spread and selective has also worked in its favour. The allocation of 30 per cent to debt and cash has helped. This one has promise.
This fund will not typically show up as a leader of its category but is a respectable offering. Though not a star performer of the bull run, it has successfully pulled through in tough times. The large-caps exposure, high cash allocations and its tilt towards value picks has held the fund in good stead ever since the markets swayed downwards.
The fund is about to close the year of its worst performance. It fell by 44 per cent in 2008, the worst fall since inception. Ironically, this fall turned out to be much lower than the hit other funds took. Its focuses on multinational corporations. This means emphasis on consumer non-durables, engineering, automobiles, and healthcare. A laggard through the bull-run, it does bring some comfort by weathering these bad times
This fund climbed up by 47 per cent in 2007 and fell by as much this year. It is hard to find an out of favour stock in the portfolio. Though there is nothing contrarian about this fund, its large-cap focus and diversification has helped it navigate the downslide better. This fund holds promise due to these good traits.
This value oriented fund has managed to see the full market cycle in its short existence of just two years. It gained 41 per cent in 2007 and shed 45 per cent in a year later. Recently, it has been guarding the downside by being 40 per cent in debt and cash. Launched as a value fund at the peak of the bull-run, it has now metamorphosed into a fixed income offering.
TOP 5 LOSERS
With exposure to only mid- and small-caps, the fund's fall is not surprising in the current market scenario. But that's not all. It has an extreme sector bias. IT stocks ruling the portfolio with an exposure of nearly 25 per cent. Unfortunately, it has in no way helped the fund circumvent the current turmoil.
Launched in April 2007 to ride the bull-run in the mid-and small-cap segment, this fund got hammered. With an exposure of 80 per cent to smaller caps, this fund was been a mute spectator as its returns collapsed by 79 per cent.
A dream which has gone horribly wrong. The high risk high return strategy which worked so well last year is now giving heart burn to its existing investors. With bold allocations in construction and engineering, the fund is languishing at the bottom of the returns chart.
|Date||NAV||YTD||6 Month||1 Year||3 Year||(Rs)*|
|IDFC Imperial Equity||Feb-06||10.56||-42.25||-20.78||-40.48||-||112.08|
|Escorts High Yield Equity||Dec-06||8.09||-45.01||-20.05||-43.35||-||6.58|
|JM Emerging Leaders||Jul-05||3.95||-80.79||-66.36||-79.80||-27.17||139.89|
|JM Small & Mid-Cap Reg||Apr-07||3.67||-79.15||-64.20||-77.32||-||54.73|
|Fortis Future Leaders||Apr-06||4.21||-72.81||-49.26||-71.64||-||24.62|
|* All figures are in crore Returns as on Dec 24, 2008 Assets as on Nov 30, 2008|
This fund impressed in 2007 with a return of 100 per cent. But, sometimes, huge gains are followed by huge losses. And that is what happened here. The fund was unable to change track and in this sinking market it has not managed to stay afloat.
It went high on mid-and small-caps which did not help with the market souring. Excess exposure to sectors like financial services and construction further added to its woes.