Ashok Leyland speeds up on hopes it may exceed annual sales guidance

Ashok Leyland rose 1.60% to Rs 66.55 at 11:44 IST on reports the company may exceed the annual sales guidance of about 85,000 vehicles.

Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex was up 88.89 points, or 0.51%, to 17,530.33.

On BSE, 5.39 lakh shares were traded in the counter as against an average daily volume of 11.46 lakh shares in the past one quarter.

The stock hit a high of Rs 67 and a low of Rs 65.50 so far during the day. The stock had hit a record high of Rs 70.35 on 13 May 2010 and a 52-week low of Rs 28.60 on 9 July 2009.

The stock had underperformed the market over the past one month till 2 July 2010, gaining 2.38% compared with the Sensex's 4.30% rise. It outperformed the market in past one quarter, rising 9.75% as against 1.31% fall in the Sensex.

The large-cap commercial vehicle maker has an equity capital of Rs 133.03 crore. Face value per share is Rs 1.

Commenting on the sales guidance for fiscal year 2011, Ashok Leyland's chief financial officer K Sridharan said the company may hopefully exceed the guidance it gave at the beginning of the year of about 85,000 vehicles.

However, he added that the company would like to wait and watch because it needs to take into account the effect of the changing emission standards coming in October 2010. So at this juncture the company has maintained guidance of about 85,000 vehicles.

Ashok Leyland's total vehicle sales jumped 111.8% to 8,400 units in June 2010 over June 2009. Domestic sales soared 115.61% to 7,499 units, while exports jumped 84.63% to 901 units in June 2010 over June 2009.

Ashok Leyland's net profit galloped 317.7% to Rs 222.66 crore on 141.3% rise in net sales to Rs 2,939.04 crore in Q4 March 2010 over Q4 March 2009

Hold Reliance Industries

"Directionally Reliance has clearly stated its intentions about going for inorganic growth. Along with that if you factor in a turnaround in the commodity cycle, somewhere 15-18 months down the line, you have the affect of a lower base coming currently, which will help in percentage terms which will scoop the sentiments of the markets and at the same time in absolute levels.”

He further added, “Reliance might start making 4-5% higher return on equity and the profit growth might exceed 30-35% because that will also be the time when the Krishna-Godavari gas ramp up will happen. Along with that any more positive news on exploration and concrete moves on, inorganic growth should also help the sentiments and valuations are not very demanding at around 14 times 20% discount to the broader market. I think there is reasonably margin of safety for an investor trying to hold it for 1.5-2 years."

Book some profits in Jaiprakash Associates: Agarwal

"In Jaiprakash Associates one should book profits here because the upside is very limited in most of the stocks though cement is doing quite well and it’s the flavor of the day. But overall you find that upside is very limited and the downside might be about a 20-25% over a medium term; by May 2010.”

He further added, "If you are getting a very good profit you can book profit and wait for the prices to come down because even in the longer term this stock is likely to do very well. But definitely if you are able to make some trading profits and buy at a lower level again, that will enhance your profitability. So definitely I would suggest to book some profits atleast partially at the current instance and wait for the correction."

Investing Strategies for the year ahead

The upheaval in the global economies and the resultant massive downturn in the stock markets through 2008 and early part of 2009 saw a section of equity investors exiting from the market in a panic. Besides, there are investors who have been waiting on the sidelines to invest at lower levels. Both are at a crossroads today. While the panic sellers are still ruing their rash decision, the fear for the fence sitters is a result of unpleasant experiences of the past. So, what should investors do in such a scenario?

In the present market conditions, the crucial part is to adopt the right approach and select the right investment options rather than following a strategy whereby one takes aggressive decisions in order to make up for the lost time and opportunities. The major issue, therefore, is to manage expectations and not allow one’s asset allocation to drift for short term gains. As we all know, each investment carries some risk and that it is vital to choose wisely. While there are plenty of options available to design the portfolio, the key is to invest in a manner that allows you to potentially lower your investment risk and still maintain the chances of achieving your varied financial goals.

This is what you need to do to achieve investment success:

It’s time to adopt an asset allocation model

Asset allocation i.e. the process of spreading your savings across different types of investment can help you find and maintain your balancing point and that goes a long way in pursuing your goals at a risk level you are comfortable with. For an asset allocation strategy to be successful, it must be flexible enough to accommodate the changes in one’s financial circumstances as well as the changes in the economic cycle. It is important because economic environment has a direct impact on the behaviour of the financial markets.
Circa 2010 is likely to pose challenges even for experienced investors. That’s why, determining and maintaining the right level of risk tolerance should be an important aspect of your investment strategy. Don’t make a mistake of underestimating risk and/or overestimating reward from an investment. In fact, estimating the risk associated with an investment option is more crucial than estimating the returns. By understanding investment risks and how they relate to potential returns, you can improve your chances of building greater wealth. Remember, mutual funds offer the best possible options to practice asset allocation and also provide you the flexibility required to make it a success.

Strategy for equity portion of the portfolio

The stock market is likely to do well in 2010, albeit with increased level of volatility. However, considering that equity as an asset class performed exceedingly well from 2009 lows, it would be advisable to exercise a little caution during 2010. The out-performance of mid and small stocks over the last six months or so may be tempting enough to go all out for them but the key would be to resist the temptation and focus more on your own risk profile and the existing portfolio mix. While for those who intend to invest directly in stocks, the success would depend on the right stock selection, for mutual funds investors the correct strategy would be to go for funds that have a well defined strategy and investment universe so as to retain control over the exposure to different market caps in the portfolio.

For those investors who have been investing through Systematic Investment Plan (SIP), the key would be to carry on that process and try to increase the investment amount in keeping with the increased income levels. Those who had discontinued the process during the market downturn need to restart the process all over again. If 2010 turns out to be a volatile year for the stock market as expected, the section of investors that would benefit the most would the one that follows a disciplined approach.