May 2012

Present Value (PV) Basics….Formulae

Present Value, PV, Formulae, Time Value of Money, Tutorials, basics, Money, Investment fundamentals, Cash Flow

Terms uses :
PV = Present Value;
A = Annuity;
r = interest rate;
g = growth rate;
n = number of periods;
CF = Cash Flow;
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” – Miguel de Cervantes
If someone owes you 10,000/- , it is advantageous to get the money today If you get this money today:
–> You could earn interest and invest it and you will receive this quantity plus some other amount in the future.
–> You can use it to pay your debts and therefore, lower the interest amount paid on your debt.
–> Or you can spend it and enjoy it as you wish.
More on Time Value of Money here

April 2012


COEFFICIENT OF VARIATION , Financial Terms, Understand, Risk, Return, Investing, Stocks, Standard Deviation


It Measures risk per unit of return.

It helps us choose between two investments where one has both a higher expected return and higher standard deviation than the other.

A simple example to understand the concept :

Investment 1 has an expected return of .40 and a standard deviation of .22.

Investment 2 has an expected return of .23 and a standard deviation of .14.

Which should we choose assuming we are a risk averse investor?

Coefficient of variation is calculated by dividing the standard deviation by the expected return.

Investment 1 : .22/.40 = .55

Investment 2 : .14/.23 = .61

A risk averse investor would choose investment 1 because the risk per unit of return is less.

The vast majority of investors are risk averse, i.e., when choosing between two investments they will choose the less risky of the two.

August 2010

What and How of Nifty Index!!!


One of my friend recently just wanted to get an idea about Nifty and How it is calculated. I am presenting some basic facts about Nifty here….

Background of Nifty

S&P CNX Nifty is a well diversified 50 stock index accounting for 21 sectors of the economy. It is used for a variety of purposes such as benchmarking fund portfolios, index based derivatives and index funds.

S&P CNX Nifty is owned and managed by India Index Services and Products Ltd. (IISL), which is a joint venture between NSE and CRISIL. IISL is India’s first specialised company focused upon the index as a core product. IISL has a Marketing and licensing agreement with Standard & Poor’s (S&P), who are world leaders in index services.

  • The traded value for the last six months of all Nifty stocks is approximately 44.89% of the traded value of all stocks on the NSE
  • Nifty stocks represent about 58.64% of the total market capitalization as on March 31, 2008.
  • Impact cost of the S&P CNX Nifty for a portfolio size of Rs.2 crore is 0.15%
  • S&P CNX Nifty is professionally maintained and is ideal for derivatives trading

What and How of Nifty Index, How is stock selected in Index, Sensex, India Index Services and Products Ltd. (IISL)NSE, CRISIL, Liquidity,  Impact Cost, Floating Stock, index calculation

How Stocks are selected :

The constituents and the criteria for the selection judge the effectiveness of the index. Selection of the index set is based on the following criteria:

Liquidity (Impact Cost)

For inclusion in the index, the security should have traded at an average impact cost of 0.50% or less during the last six months for 90% of the observations for a basket size of Rs. 2 Crores.

Impact cost is cost of executing a transaction in a security in proportion to the weightage of its market capitalisation as against the index market capitalisation at any point of time. This is the percentage mark up suffered while buying / selling the desired quantity of a security compared to its ideal price (best buy + best sell) / 2

Floating Stock

Companies eligible for inclusion in S&P CNX Nifty should have atleast 10% floating stock. For this purpose, floating stock shall mean stocks which are not held by the promoters and associated entities (where identifiable) of such companies.


a) A company which comes out with a IPO will be eligible for inclusion in the index, if it fulfills the normal eligiblity criteria for the index like impact cost, market capitalisation and floating stock, for a 3 month period instead of a 6 month period.

b) Replacement of Stock from the Index:

A stock may be replaced from an index for the following reasons:

i. Compulsory changes like corporate actions, delisting etc. In such a scenario, the stock having largest market capitalization and satisfying other requirements related to liquidity, turnover and free float will be considered for inclusion.

ii. When a better candidate is available in the replacement pool, which can replace the index stock i.e. the stock with the highest market capitalization in the replacement pool has at least twice the market capitalization of the index stock with the lowest market capitalization.

With respect to (2) above, a maximum of 10% of the index size (number of stocks in the index) may be changed in a calendar year. Changes carried out for (2) above are irrespective of changes, if any, carried out for (1) above.

And Finally how is the index calculation done

S&P CNX Nifty is computed using market capitalization weighted method, wherein the level of the index reflects the total market value of all the stocks in the index relative to a particular base period. The method also takes into account constituent changes in the index and importantly corporate actions such as stock splits, rights, etc without affecting the index value.

Source : NSE

July 2010

Buying Options : What Investors should know

“The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”

If you are invested in Equity Markets or Mutual Funds, it is wise to be AWARE of the derivative product called ‘Options’.

Buying Options , Calls, Puts, Tutorials, Options Strategies, Butterfly, Straddle, Strangle,  What Investors should know

Options have seen increase in popularity over the past few years. Television shows like CNBC, NDTV Profit, ET Now etc devote a significant amount of time discussing option strategies for investors. Investors and traders are attracted to options due to the low cost involved. There is a possibility of high return potential in case of options trading as well. However there is an equal or more probability of downside of trading in options which needs to be understood as well.

Let us take a look at a few of the more popular strategies for buying options.

Types of Options

Call Options

Call options give an investor the right to buy shares at an agreed upon price. Investors that buy calls are not obligated to ever exercise the option. Call options can be owned for as short as a few days or long as a year. Investors that purchase call options are bullish on a particular stock.

Put Options

Put options are just like call options except they give investors the right to sell shares of a stock. Bearish investors buy put options so that they can benefit from a stock that they expect to decline. Watching the activity in put options is a great way of judging when investor sentiment is turning bearish.

Buying call options are cheaper than buying shares of stock.

Call options allow investors to buy shares of a company for a much cheaper price than buying the actual shares themselves. For example, say you wanted to buy 125 shares of LNT (Larsen and Toubro) at 1700. Your total cost would be Rs 2,12,500. I have taken the figure of 125 shares because lot size of LNT is 125. (Pls note that futures and options are bought in lots)

A cheaper option would be to buy call options. You could buy one CALL option of Jul 2010 series , strike price 1700 (lot size 125) for Rs 50. Your total cost would be Rs 6,250 (125 shares x Rs50). You would only pay Rs 6,250. If shares of LNT are higher than 1750 (Strike price + cost of purchase Rs 50) by series end, you could exercise the option and make a profit. If not then you can just let the option expire. Your total risk is only Rs 6,250. For this investment you could control 125 shares of LNT.

Buying put options can limit your downside risk.

Buying a put option is a great way for investors to limit their downside risk. It is like taking insurance against your assets.

Let’s say you already owned 125 shares of LNT and the stock is currently at Rs 1700. Let us assume that you are sitting in good profits, you are afraid that the stock is going to decline, and at the same time you do not want to sell your shares.

You could protect your profits by buying a put option.

You could buy one PUT option of Jul 2010 series, strike price 1650 (lot size 125) for Rs 50. . If shares of LNT are lower than 1650 (Strike price – cost of purchase Rs 50) by series end, you would exercise the option and make a profit. By doing this, you have unlimited profit potential on downside and at the same time have limited your losses (which is depreciation of holdings of LNT against profits made by the PUT option.)

This strategy is known as a protective put strategy. If the stock drops substantially, you can always exercise your put option. If shares rise you can do nothing and just let the option expire.

Put investors can also employ a married put strategy. A married put strategy is when an investor buys shares of a stock and buys a put option on the same shares at the exact same times. The stock and option are considered married since they were both purchased at the same time.

If used properly, options can cost less, limit risk, and have the potential for higher returns.

Many investors are completely unaware about options. The intention behind this article is to make aware of the basics of options. Nevertheless, One should definitely understand the implications and understand the risks involved before buying or trading in options.

ps: I have used the example of LNT (Larsen and Toubro), because it has been on my radar since it broke out of 1700 range earlier this month. More here …..

I will cover selling options and implications later sometime.

Sensex touches 18000 again , two kinds of investors, two different views ….


“The investor’s chief problem – and even his worst enemy – is likely to be himself.” ~ Benjamin Graham

Sensex is at 18000 once again.

(A) Many Investors who had invested since 2007  when the markets were around the same levels are not happy. Most of them are waiting to get out of the markets when they are able to get cost to cost. Reasoning — they could have got better returns in Bank FD’s in last 3 years.

(B) Many Investors who invested in Markets in 2009 are super excited as almost all their investments have doubled.  Most of these investors have become developed short term view. They believe that they know everything about markets and they can easily generate good returns time and again. Many want to get out at these levels and reenter at sensex 12000 levels only now. They are experts you see.

Greed and Fear works in both the directions of the markets.

Investors who fall in the above categories do not realize the following fundamental rule of nature which is applicable to markets as well : “THIS TOO SHALL PASS AWAY”.

My view is that investors in either of the above categories will probably never be successful over a investment lifecycle of 3 – 5 – 10 years.  Period. Because the above reasoning of exit from market is based purely on market returns and not based on fulfillment of life objectives. And this kind of reasoning falls in the category of speculation.

Do you fall in any of the categories mentioned above…..

“Free Lunch” Seminars—Avoiding the Heartburn of a Hard Sell

"Free Lunch" Seminars,Avoiding the Heartburn of a Hard Sell , Retirement Planning, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Life insurance selling malpractices.

BEWARE —-Investors frequently get invited to free seminars. These seminars make tall promises. To educate  about investing, or profit from home trading strategies or about managing money in retirement. They also provide VIP treatment , sometimes provide an expensive meal at no cost.

Please remember that , just because someone buys you breakfast, lunch or dinner does not mean you that you have to buy into whatever these guys they are saying. And definitely you need not buy into all what they are selling. Believe me , you will avoid some serious heartburns……… Use your judgment to arrive at a decision later point in time.

The same holds true when specially you go to buy a car. Most people spend a good time looking at the car and take a test drive. Now just because the salesman spent his 30mins — does not mean that you need to buy the car.

The same holds for when you are being sold — Life Insurance, General Insurance, Boutique stores, Electronics etc.

Be careful – If you do not wish to purchase and are being forced into a deal , Use your judgement and Learn to say No – firmly. We live in an age where it is still a buyer’s market – do not forget this.

June 2010

Beginner Investors : Investing with Index funds/ ETF’s is a good choice

Guide to Beginner Investors , Investing with Index funds, ETF's is a good choice, Financial Planning, Goal Oriented Planning, Understanding Risk.

What is Index Fund

An index fund is a a mutual fund which tries to replicate an index of a financial market. (For eg: Sensex or Nifty). An Index fund follows a passive investing strategy called indexing. It builds a portfolio with the same stocks in the same proportions as the index. The fund makes no effort to beat the index. The purpose of the Index Fund is to earn the same return as the index over a period of time.

What is ETF

ETF stands for Exchange Traded Funds — these are funds that trade on the stock exchange just like any stock. And they are stored in yuor Demat Account just like any Shares you purchase.

Why are Index Funds/ETF’s not as popular or not  advertised like other Mutual Funds ?

Expert Professionals / AMC’s don’t make enough fees from them, so they often go ignored. Just like Term insurance….. , Term Insurance is not promoted as much. Insurance companies do not benefit from them (You can see the correlation…., What is good for Investors and also available for cheap, is not often promoted enough. Because it does not pocket enough profits for the providers/agents…….)

What is the basic difference between Index Funds/ ETF’s  and Mutual Funds?

Mutual Funds try to beat the index over a period of time. This is active investing. Fund Managers are paid to beat the index over a period of time by generating alpha (The excess return of the fund relative to the return of the benchmark index is a fund’s alpha.).

Index Funds/ ETF’s on the other hand, try to mirror the index returns. This is known as passive investing.

What is the advantage of Index Funds/ ETF’s over Mutual Funds?

– Much Lower Expense Ratios (AMC’s are much lower)

– More Flexible

– Transparent

– Approximately 60%-80% of equity mutual funds underperform the average return of the stock market over a period of time. This is the price of “active management”.

On top of this the AMC charges 2-2.5% of the portfolio value annually.

So , you have to pick the funds carefully. This becomes just like picking Individual Stocks. Of course, if you pick up the right funds (or for that matter right stocks) , then you would be beating the Index handsomely. However this process requires good amount of time, effort and judgement on your part. It sounds simple but is not easy.

– On the other hand , investing in index funds in the beginning , you can start participating in the capital markets and once you have a substantial base, then you can start exploring “active”  investing options.

The writeup on Types of Investors will get you to understand more about different kinds of investors.

Investor Classroom…

Here is a good link — a classroom from morningstar – for all kinds of Investors.whether you are a novice or an experienced investors. It talks about Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds and Portfolio etc.  The classroom is from Morningstar US site. However the concepts are applicable in India as well.

It also delves into the financial rations and basics of valuation.

Pretty Useful.