Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Is it a good time to buy IT stocks? – a guest post

Restrictions on gold imports, lower capital goods imports due to a slowing economy and strong FII inflows have contributed to a strengthening Rupee and a lower Current Account Deficit. While that may be good for the Indian economy, it may not be so great for exporters.

Most Indian IT companies generate a significant amount of revenues from exports. A depreciating Rupee had helped companies to increase profits. But a strengthening Rupee has led to profit booking in IT stocks, which are trading below their recent highs.

In this month’s guest post, Nishit makes a strong case for using the corrections to enter IT stocks now. What do you think? Do you feel IT stocks are too expensive? Good things in life usually are.

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IT stocks have corrected from their recent highs. The corrections range from at least 10% from the tops in case of TCS and HCL Tech and 15% in case of Infosys. So, is it a good time to buy IT stocks? Let us try and examine the pros and cons.

Why have the IT stocks corrected? The rupee has strengthened 5-6% since January 2014 due to lower gold imports and FII inflows in the hope of a Narendra Modi led Government being sworn in. A strengthening rupee hits the profit margins of all exporters, including IT companies.

The upside to the profits is capped for the time being because of rupee appreciation. Also, IT stocks have run up in the past 1 year. TCS itself has gone up 70-80% from its lows and Infosys has doubled from its lows.

TCS recently had a con-call where it expects 2015 to be a stronger year than the current year. Overall, the IT stocks are dependent on the US and European economies which are slowly recovering back to normalcy. So, the core business of the IT companies which is the main driver for growth is doing just fine.

Now, a strengthening rupee is just an excuse for booking profits. If no strong Government comes at the centre then expect the markets to tank and the rupee to trade in the 66-68 band.

Let us look at the valuations right now. Infosys trades at a P/E of 19 and TCS at 23. None of these stocks are frightfully expensive if one looks at their growth prospects.

If one were to look at Indian IT, I would not look beyond TCS, Infosys and HCL Tech at the moment. These 3 stocks capture the essence of Indian IT.

What happens if Narendra Modi wins? The rupee may appreciate further but the Government would not let it appreciate beyond a point as exports would get hit.

TCS and other IT stocks would act as a hedge for the portfolio as also an investment option. With a 3 year horizon, they look a pretty solid bet.

IT stocks are not dependent on Government policies, have operating margins of 25-30%, have strong brand names. They cancel out most of the negatives which hang over the Indian markets right now.

There are many players listed on the stock market in IT but Infosys, TCS and HCL Tech represent the best bets. TCS from sheer size and scale, HCL Tech for its strength in the Infrastructure management space, and Infosys with the wild card of Narayanmurthy cleaning up the house.

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(Nishit Vadhavkar is a Quality Manager working at an IT MNC. Deciphering economics, equity markets and piercing the jargon to make it understandable to all is his passion. "We work hard for our money, our money should work even harder for us" is his motto.

Nishit blogs at Money Manthan.)

3 comments:

Anand J said...

Thanks for the information about Indian share markets! Was planning for some investments, so searching the information about stock markets and share market trends and found your blog.

Subhankar said...

Thanks for visiting, and leaving a comment.

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