Build an equity-heavy portfolio to meet child’s education or marriage goal

Only this will ensure that you are able to meet the escalation in costs over a 15-20 year horizon For Indian parents, providing the best education that they can afford to their children is a very important goal. Getting a girl child married into a good family is another important one. In fact, many parents start saving and investing for these goals right from the day the child is born. However, besides saving adequately, having the right asset allocation and choosing the correct investment instruments is equally important. These are aspects where many parents go wrong. Before you begin to save for the education or marriage portfolio, first buy adequate term insurance for your family. This will ensure that even in the case of an unfortunate event, there will still be money for the children’s education and marriage. The next step is to begin saving any extra money that comes your way. Children get small sums of money on several occasions from relatives and friends. Parents often squander this money because they consider the amounts to be too small to be worth saving. However, if such sums are saved diligently, they can add up to a tidy sum by the time the child is ready to go to college or get married. Next comes the task of constructing the right portfolio for these goals. Since they are very significant goals, parents often err excessively on the side of caution and invest all the money in fixed-income instruments, such as recurring deposits. Actually, you should invest the bulk of the portfolio in equities, for two reasons. One, these goals would...

Adopt a safety-first principle in debt funds

At present you should stick to funds that avoid both duration risk and credit risk ? Debt funds are sold to investors as a less risky alternative to equity funds. However, investors should not make the mistake of equating these funds with instruments like fixed deposits where there is no risk of loss of capital. In debt funds, investors can suffer erosion of their capital, owing to a variety of risks. The first type of risk in debt funds is interest-rate risk. When interest rates are falling, prices of bonds rise. This results in capital gains within mutual fund portfolios, which boosts their returns. But when interest rates are rising, prices of bonds within debt fund portfolios decline. Such losses are higher in case of bonds of longer tenure, and lower in bonds of shorter tenure. Over the past year and a half, interest rates have been on the upswing in India. In such a scenario, investors should stick to debt funds that have a low average maturity. Liquid funds, ultrashort term debt funds, and short-term funds are some of the categories of debt funds that investors should stick to in a rising interest rate environment. The second type of risk that debt funds face is credit risk. When a bond that is held within a mutual fund portfolio gets downgraded, or defaults, the net asset value (NAV)of the fund declines. This is what has happened in the case of IL&FS and its group companies. This company and its subsidiaries currently have a total debt burden of around Rs. 90,000 crore. Of this mutual funds hold around Rs 2,282...

Keep your SIPs going

It is when the markets decline that you reap the real benefit of SIP by being able to buy more units of a fund Recent news reports suggest that one in three SIP-related request this year has been for closure of SIP accounts. Earlier, a report from UBS had also warned that SIP-based inflows into the equity markets could stall if historic returns turn negative. With the markets turning volatile, there is very much a risk of that beginning to happen now. Whatever others may do, you should not stop your SIPs as this could do a lot of damage to your long-term investment plans. Novice investors, who entered the equity markets in the past couple of years, when there was a bull run in progress, are most likely to stop their SIPs when the markets decline. These are usually investors who have not fully understood the risk in equities. They have not internalised the reality that equity markets tend to be highly volatile in the short term. But if they hang on to their investments, they will be rewarded with high returns in the long term. Many investors also tend to stop their SIP investments because there is a mismatch between the ideal investment horizon for equities, and the time horizon with which they entered this asset class. The ideal time horizon should be at least 7-10 years. If you came into the markets expecting to make money within a year or two, you are likely to be perturbed by the interim volatility in the markets. Recalibrating your time horizon will enable you to deal with markets turbulence better....
Avoid NFOs, stick to tried and tested funds

Avoid NFOs, stick to tried and tested funds

If you go to the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi) website, you will be able to see the list of new fund offers (NFO) that are currently available (https://goo.gl/rMMLio). Your friendly neighbourhood mutual fund agent may also be pestering you to buy a hot new fund which, according to him, has great prospects. Before investing in an NFO, you should do a little research. An NFO is basically a new fund that a fund house has just launched. Such launches are typically accompanied by an advertising and marketing blitz. Often, mutual fund agents are offered high upfront commissions on these new products, which is why they urge you to buy them. The biggest drawback of buying a new fund is that it does not have a track record. In an existing fund that has been around for a long time, you can check how it has performed vis-a-vis its benchmark and also compared to its category peers. If the performance is sound, and the fund manager who was responsible for earning these returns is still there at the helm, you can invest in such a fund with a certain degree of confidence. Since an NFO does not have a track record, investing in it is akin to taking a blind bet. In bullish market conditions, certain sectors tend to outperform others. In such an environment, fund houses launch NFOs for sectoral and thematic funds. Investing in such NFOs can be even more dangerous than investing in the NFO of a diversified equity fund. When the hot streak of that sector ends, such sectoral and thematic funds take...
“Do Not Exercise” Option’s

“Do Not Exercise” Option’s

Dear Trader, If you are active in the F&O segment of the stock market you must be knowing that you have to pay higher STT on options that are In The Money (ITM) on expiry.  A call option is said to be In The Money when its strike price is below the market price of the underlying asset. The reverse is true for a put option – strike price exceeds the market price of the underlying asset. How much do you pay as STT? Take the example of a trader who bought a call option with a strike price of 600 @ Rs.2.50 as he expected that the underlying security will close above 600 for the day and suppose it did close above 600 say at 603. Suppose he bought 2000 units of the call option at Rs.2.50, shelling off Rs.5,000 as premium. By normal calculation the profit should be Rs.{ (603-600)*2000 ( QTY bought) -5,000(premium paid to buy) }= Rs.1,000. However, when he received the contract note, he will see that the actual profit received by him is much less than this. The reason being higher Security Transaction Tax (STT) being charged on exercised options. The rate of STT on exercised options is 0.125% of the full value of the contract. STT on Exercised options on Expiry of Options = 0.125 % * (Strike Price + Premium) * Quantity So in the above mentioned example, the STT would be Rs. 2000 x (600+2.50) x 0.125% = Rs. 1,506.25 So he actually ended up making a loss of Rs. (1506.25-1000) = Rs. 506.25. Such huge differences in STT were troublesome for...
Pre-open Session . How is the equilibrium price determined ?

Pre-open Session . How is the equilibrium price determined ?

If you are a trader you must have seen that there is a pre-open session from 9 am to 9:15 am for both the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). It is basically the period of trading activity that takes place just before the regular stock market session. Traders keep a close eye on this Pre-market session to guess the strength and mood of the market while looking forward to market opening. Let us try to understand how things work during these 15 minutes. At the outset let me tell you that you can place two types of orders in the stock market – market order and limit order (refer to the following graph). The 15 minutes of pre-open session consists of 3 time slots Now that we know the activities carried during these 3 time slots belonging to the pre-market session, let us take a look at how the equilibrium price determination or the call-auction session functions. Case I Say for example, previous day closing price of Stock A is Rs. 200. The following table gives the price and quantity figures during the pre-open session Share Price Order Book Demand & Supply Quantity Maximum Tradable Quantity Unmatched Orders BUY SELL Demand Supply 202 1000 985 3400 985 985 2415 204 1275 1161 13600 22000 22000 -8400 205 5000 4300 10000 10500 1000 -500 207 4000 7500 4000 6250 4000 -2250 199 2000 10000 27000 37000 27000 -10000 Share price Rs.199 corresponds to the highest tradable quantity of 27000 and hence will be considered as the equilibrium or call auction price. Case II Let’s have a look at another possible...