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Consistent Performer

Franklin India Bluechip’s compelling show makes it an excellent pick for investors who want to beat the markets…

Its consistent performance track record has ensured that it boasts of the largest assets in its category. Barring two years (1996, 2007), the fund has delivered ahead of its category every single year and over the past three years has been a top quartile performer.

The fund showed great resilience during the market meltdown of 2008 and in 2009 was ahead of the category average and even beat the Sensex (the only other large-cap fund to do that was ICICI Prudential Focused Bluechip Equity).

By ensuring that cash exposure never went above 10 per cent in 2008, the equity allocated averaged 94 per cent (category average: 84%). Yet the fund was able to curtail its fall to 3 per cent below the category and 4 per cent below the Sensex. During that time, the fund picked up some Financial Services stocks at great bargains; a move that reaped benefits the next year. And when the market began its upward journey in March 2009, the fund was fully invested (96%) while the average category equity holding was 81 per cent.

Radhakrishnan follows his conviction and is often seen taking contrarian bets in sectors as well as stocks. Currently, this is the only large-cap fund with Kotak Mahindra Bank in its top five holdings. Bharti Airtel too features there (8.36%). The latter, along with Idea Cellular, has the allocation to Communications close to 10 per cent, higher than the category average. Exposure to Engineering has come down to close to 5 per cent but the fund was overweight on the sector in 2009 and 2010.

Some contrarian moves failed to deliver the desired results. Being underweight on Oil and Gas and Power in 2007, compared to its peers, is one such case. BSE Oil & Gas and BSE Power were the top performing indices leading to an underperformance of this fund.

One can clearly see the buy and hold strategy of the fund. Although stocks held for short period (that is five or less months) do feature, they are rare. Some of the favourite long-term picks are Infosys Technologies, Larsen & Toubro, BPCL, Grasim Industries and Reliance Industries.

Historically the fund has gone up to 40 per cent in a single sector during the Technology boom but never after that. Allocation to top 10 stocks has averaged around 47 per cent over the past one year and with 42 stocks in its portfolio, the fund looks fairly diversified when compared to its peers.

An excellent pick for investors who want to beat Sensex; the 15- year annualized return (July 31, 2011) is 27 per cent (Sensex: 12%).