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Markets - Interview


`India is generating considerable interest among global investors'

Nilanjan Dey

Kolkata , Sept. 17

PHARMA, retailing, telecom and auto are, among others, the sectors that Alliance Capital MF is seriously invested in right now. Mr Dhawal Mehta, equity fund manager at Alliance, strikes a somewhat distinctive note when he says he would rather focus more on choosing stocks than dwell needlessly on uncontrollable but much-talked-about factors like oil prices and inflation.

"The stress should be on creating good portfolios and not on such macro issues... we cannot influence those anyway," he pointedly told Business Line.

Excerpts from an interview.

You do not wish to concentrate too much on the direction of the market...

We would not want to speculate on the manner in which the market may move in the coming days. The idea is not to spend a lot of time in taking such a call.

On the other hand, I need to work out the right stock-picking strategy because investors, at the end of the day, would require the best possible combination of stocks. Having said that, let me tell you that I do have a broad view of the market. The trend has been fairly good over the past few weeks. In that context, a bout of correction may well be expected at this stage.

But surely there must be some themes that appeal to you.

Yes, we have liked a number of themes. Outsourcing and consumer driven stories are just two of these. This has selectively led us to sectors like pharma, IT and retailing. We are also confident about telecom and auto.

At the other side of the spectrum are ideas that our funds have underplayed. These include FMCG, banking and oil. FMCG, you would appreciate, has not been a hot favourite with investors. We have our reasons with regard to oil companies and banks.

Generally speaking, the fund tries to spot companies that have good managements and carry attractive valuations on the stock market.

What are the factors that can push up the market from the current levels?

Just consider the domestic corporate scenario. I find there is a lot of action in business circles. Companies are quite healthy and some are turning healthier.

From an international perspective, India is generating considerable interest among investors. This is particularly true in the context of recent capital issues like TCS and ONCG, which have all been very large ones.

On another front, the present government has done well on several counts, the combined impact of which would help India in the long run.

Why is it that Alliance Cap rarely talks about Frontline Equity, the scheme it launched with such élan?

It is not that we are not presenting it before investors in the way we had done earlier. I suppose schemes like Alliance Equity and Alliance 95 have attracted many more investors than this one. Alliance Frontline is a quasi index product, which keeps the BSE-200 index in view. Its growth option has an NAV of over Rs 19 at the moment.

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