Trying to time the markets is not advisable

Each webinar, cocktail celebration or dialog I’ve with somebody, I get requested the identical query: Has the market run its course? Will it appropriate now? Whereas I perceive traders’ concern of a market correction, I don’t agree with that viewpoint. Anybody who has lived by way of a number of market cycles is aware of that corrections are an unavoidable factor in constructing wealth. To get probably the most out of your investments, it’s essential to totally embrace the market ups and downs. Trying to take part in a single whereas avoiding the opposite will simply disrupt the compounding magic.

“How a lot return will I earn from my funding?” is probably the most continuously requested query. Effectively, nobody actually is aware of the right reply as a result of there are such a lot of variables and components that go into the tip outcome. As an alternative, traders ought to ask themselves, “How a lot time can I commit to my funding?”

We’re adamant that market timing doesn’t work and advise in opposition to it. In reality, lower than 1% of traders have benefited from it. The remaining have profited from their long-term investments. It’s merely not credible to consider {that a} bell will ring to inform when it’s time to enter or exit the inventory market.


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Regardless of all proof on the contrary, folks proceed to waste effort and time making an attempt to time the market. The trigger for that is ‘overconfidence bias’, a widely known notion in behavioural finance. In a bull market like the present one, folks will be predisposed to overestimate their talents and abilities as traders. This bias deludes the thoughts into believing that it’s doable to repeatedly add worth to portfolio returns, keep away from downturns after which reinvest properly in the course of the upcycle.

The Nifty has skilled double-digit corrections in 18 of the previous 20 years, with 9 of those corrections being 20% or extra. It seems to be a harmful scenario. There may be, nevertheless, one other aspect to the coin. The Nifty has risen from 1,000 in January 2001 to 17,000 in August 2021 all through the identical time span. Over the previous 20 years, that’s a 17x return or a compounded return of 15%, simply outperforming all different asset courses, particularly on a post-tax foundation. Would the result be a lot better or worse if somebody had timed the market by way of these 20 years? I would depart this query open for many who want to make selections for the following 20 years. At Motilal Oswal , we now have time travelled this journey of 20 years by backing high quality companies run by high quality managements that supply a runway for robust money move progress and purchase them at an inexpensive worth.

A transparent funding philosophy and an armoury of funding frameworks can add worth to the portfolio returns, whereas market timing can detract a number of worth.

One other ‘bias’ that may affect investor behaviour is the assumption that ‘excessive return days’ solely happen throughout bull market durations. Greater than half of the highest 30 days by way of returns occurred throughout a bear market, in response to a 30-year research of “finest days” by way of returns. Market timers proceed to miss the disagreeable actuality that 60% of the very best return days happen in the course of the unhealthy market that they’re making an attempt to keep away from.

Within the bull market from January 2002 to January 2008, the Nifty 50 moved up by almost six occasions from 1,100 in January 2002 to six,300 in January 2008. This means a compounded return of 33% each year. Nonetheless, throughout this quick interval of six years, the Nifty went by way of seven double-digit falls. Two of these falls have been as deep as 30%.

There’s a purpose why compounding magic is named the eighth marvel of the world. The Sensex has multiplied 460 occasions, or a cumulative return of 16%, since its inception in March 1979. Throughout this time, gold has multiplied 68 occasions (a ten% compounded return) and financial institution financial savings have multiplied 36 occasions (compounded return of 9%). The way forward for shares appears fascinating. If solely we had the persistence to attend for the longer term to emerge.

Navin Agarwal is MD & CEO, Motilal Oswal AMC Ltd.

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