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The fear of the first step

If Sachin Tendulkar could be scared at the start of every innings, you're justified in needing a little extra help in equity investing

The fear of the first step

During the years when Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly used to open ODI batting for India, cricket fans were often puzzled why the innings were almost always opened by Ganguly and Sachin would be the non-striker. With all other opening pairs in the world, the convention was always for the better batsman to take the strike first. Recently, Ganguly was asked on a podcast about the reason. He replied, "Always he did. He had an answer to that when I used to tell him 'yaar, sometimes you also face the first ball'. He had two answers to it. He believed when his form was good, it should continue and that he should remain at the non-striker's end, and then when his form wasn't good he said 'I should remain at the non-striker's end because it takes the pressure off me'."

Whether his batting form was good or bad, Sachin had an excuse for not facing the first ball. He would be at the bowler's end, judge the pitch and the pace, even for just a few balls, and then be mentally ready to face the bowler. Even the great Sachin Tendulkar was a little scared of making a beginning.

This is exactly why we designed and launched the 'Best Buys Now' feature that is part of our premium Value Research Stock Advisor service. It's a way for our new members to start at the non-striker's end, test the waters a bit before they start facing the bowling in earnest.

When this premium service was launched back in October 2017, we had only about 10 stocks in the recommended list. We got a flood of members as soon as we launched who promptly bought the stocks on our list. As the months went by and our analyst team worked through the investable universe, this list grew to around 40. This was fine for those who had settled into their innings but was a bit of a problem for those who are taking up a new membership now. They can't start with buying 40 stocks - that would be a most cumbersome (and frankly, scary) way of starting to invest in equity.

We then created a way out by marking out roughly a dozen stocks out of our main list and grouping them as 'Best Buys Now'. This does not mean that the remaining stocks in our list have been 'de-recommended' in any way. Over a period of time, they are just as desirable investments as the 'Best Buys Now'. Instead, what it means is that if you're feeling like Sachin Tendulkar did at the beginning of his innings, then at any point of time, you can concentrate on starting with just the 'Best Buys Now'. Best Buys solves the problem of plenty, which some of our members cannot cope with. That is all.

Not just for beginners
However, the important thing to note is that Best Buys is not just for beginners. It really is exactly what the name implies. What are best buys now for beginners are best buys now for everyone. Essentially, that is all you need to know to use our Best Buy list to finetune your equity investing, but let's look at the main takeaways that you should keep in mind as to what it is exactly that Best Buys provides:

  • It narrows down the focus to just about a dozen (give or take) stocks at a time and makes it easier to make choices.
  • This brings in a portfolio approach to our service because Best Buys is chosen to be a diversified selection that can insulate capital from volatility as well as enhance returns.
  • The market works on both ends of the spectrum. At times, a sound business may be beaten down on account of temporary reasons, which makes its valuations attractive. Best Buys is designed to exploit this.

Of course, with the way the equity markets are shrugging off COVID, our 'Best Buys Now' feature should perhaps be renamed 'Better Buys Now, or else...'

That's a joke, as every one of my readers would immediately recognise. I'm not one of those who make it ever sound like the train is leaving the station and there will never be another one. As the old saying goes, 'The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago. The second-best time is today'. Some people might interpret this as meaning that you can plant a tree any time. Today, tomorrow or 10 years later, no matter when you quote this saying, it will always be today. But that's not what it really means.

It means that you should invest in these companies now, rather than later. As the detailed effects of the COVID slowdown will become clearer, there will be a greater and greater return to quality

Value Research Stock Advisor is a premium service where you get promising stocks along with their full analyses. We also actively track the underlying companies for you and keep you posted on the major developments in them, including when to sell a stock. Additionally, members get exclusive access to a range of tools and data which they can use to study any other stock. You can subscribe to the service here.