Stay invested through market highs & lows – Times of India

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MUMBAI: If you simply owned the sensex in 2023, you would have logged over 18% returns in a year — beating most conventional assets and perhaps even some Wall Street players who had forecast 5-6% returns this year.
Now above 72,000 points, the sensex is at a higher level than what some analysts predicted it would be at by the end of 2024. Does this mean investors should have modest expectations from equities in the New Year? Well, most stock market players will be looking at central bankers like Jerome Powell and Shaktikanta Das for cues.
The rate hike cycle that began globally in early 2022 is seen to be finally over with the US Fed signalling that it may start cutting interest rates in 2024 as inflation moderates. Lower rates are expected to spur economic growth.

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“How rate cuts pan out will be crucial for companies to sustain their earnings. Apart from central bank actions, the election will play a pivotal role in 2024,” said Kranthi Bathini, director (equity strategy) at WealthMills Securities.
Geopolitical flashpoints surged in 2023 with Israel’s invasion of Gaza and Russia & Ukraine digging in for a prolonged war. These factors, which disrupt global supply chains (now some ships are under attack), are expected to continue to weigh on investor sentiment in the New Year too.
Amid the global doom, India was seen as a bright spot in 2023 with relative macroeconomic stability — thus attracting foreign funds. The strong FPI inflows played a key role in helping the sensex scale record highs in recent weeks — the index had gained less than 4% in the January-October period.
“We expect Nifty to provide a return of 10-12% in 2024. Currently, we are positive on the first half of the year in anticipation of a pre-election rally as the domestic political and global market environment is aptly placed. And the final performance of the second half hinges on the election outcome and the final Budget, which is also forecast to be stable,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.
Long-term investors should utilise any dips to accumulate stocks in their portfolio, market players said. Mutual fund investors should continue their SIPs. While small-cap stocks saw strong returns in 2023, investment advisers said that valuations of large-cap stocks are still attractive.


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