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Bull Run To Last

Asit Bhandarkar, manager of the JM Basic fund, expects a healthy correction in the near future. Get more insights into the judicious and shrewd mind of this fund manager

Bhandarkar is the centre of attention for the performance of JM Basic, which he has been managing since December 2006. He also manages three sector funds -JM Auto, JM Healthcare Sector and JM Telecom Sector. Along with CIO, Sandeep Sabharwal, they make a formidable team. He has just over five years of experience in equity research fund management. His last assignment was with Lotus AMC. Prior to this, he was with SBI Funds Management as a junior fund manager. He holds a Masters in Management Studies.

Do you see a market crash in the near future?
In our view, the Indian market is in a long-term bull run which is likely to last for the foreseeable future. However, markets can move between undervaluation (pessimism) and overvaluation (euphoria) from time-to-time. Currently, we believe that the market is slightly stretched on an overall basis and to that extent a healthy correction can be anticipated. However, there still exist a number of stock and sector specific opportunities which can generate significant wealth in the medium term.

What is the strategic and tactical orientation of your fund?
On the strategic front, the investment strategy of the scheme is a combination of the top-down and bottom-up approach. Out of the several broad industries that the fund focuses on, at the first stage the allocation will be top-down. This is necessary to make sector allocations based on the sectors that we believe are likely to outperform going forward. Subsequent to this, the best stocks in those sectors will be identified through a bottom-up approach. The typical portfolio of the scheme at any point of time will comprise of 15-25 stocks.

Tactically, we employ various approaches. The fund has no market cap bias. Hence we continuously analyse relative value between mid- and large-caps and take positions accordingly. Secondly, we tend to reorient our portfolio on high beta stocks when our outlook for the market is bullish and veer towards low beta stocks when we believe the market is likely to correct. Finally, at times the fund may increase or decrease the cash levels as a tool to enhance performance.

Which are your top sector preferences?
For this fund specifically:
Industrial Capital Goods