The Indian equities market drastically underperformed its global peers in 2019, as consumption slowdown, coupled with liquidity constraint and rising inflation roiled investor sentiments.
Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex and the Nifty50 rose by just 14.4% and 12%, respectively, thereby not only underperforming against global barometers, but also benchmark indices among the emerging markets.
At the same time, Nasdaq closed 34.8% higher during the period December 31, 2018 to December 30, 2019. Similarly, Brazil's Bovespa rose 31.6% and Russian RTX gained 45.3% in that time period.
Others such as Dow Jones 30 edged higher by 22%, DAX by 25.5%, CAC 40 by 26.5%, Shanghai Composite by 21.9% and Nikkei by 18.2%.
Market analysts said that Indian equity market's gains were capped due to the crisis-hit NBFC sector along with fears of massive job losses due to slowdown and natural calamities.
"While 2018 was a year when the Nifty rose just 3 per cent, in 2019 it picked momentum and rose almost 13 per cent despite macros not being very favourable," HDFC Securities' Retail Research Head Deepak Jasani told IANS.
"This had more to do with good FPI flows and expectations of bottoming out of the economy and corporate performance in early 2020," he added.
Surprisingly, the Indian markets were flush with FPI money which came during the year, as an estimated Rs 100,844 crore was invested cumulatively in the calendar year.
"Indian benchmark indices returned an average of 13 per cent in CY2019. Meanwhile, emerging markets, as measured by the MSCI Emerging Market index, rose 16 per cent during the year," Edelweiss Professional Investor Research's Chief Market Strategist Sahil Kapoor said.
"Not only did India underperform emerging markets in general, but it significantly underperformed each of the four nations in BRICS. The average return of BRICS excluding India in 2019 was 23 per cent," Kapoor said.
According to Motilal Oswal Financial Services' Retail Research Head Siddhartha Khemka: "Overall economic parameters slumped in CY19 with GDP and other high frequency macro data witnessing a meaningful slowdown in growth.
"In this backdrop... the government announced a big fiscal stimulus in the form of a sharp reduction in corporate tax rate. Since then, despite persistent negative news flow on high frequency indicators, the market is ignoring near-term earnings and growth concerns and focusing on long-term reforms."
Incidentally, Nifty's steepest rise during the year came between September 20 and December 20, primarily due to corporate tax cuts. It rallied by 15 per cent.
In terms of sectors, Nifty Realty was the best performer with 28 per cent gains followed by Nifty Banks at 18.8 per cent and Nifty Energy at 11.8 per cent, whereas media was the worst performing sector at 29.3 per cent decline, followed by metals at 10.9 per cent and auto at 10.1 per cent.
In Nifty, Bajaj Finance was the best performer with more than 61 per cent gain, followed by Bharti Airtel at 60 per cent and ICICI Bank at 50 per cent. Yes Bank, Indiabulls Housing and Zee were the worst performers.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)