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Christopher Wood of Jefferies Aggressive On Sensex Reaching 1,00,000 In Five Years, Here Is Why

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Asia’s oldest index Sensex has scaled new highs in the last two years. First it climbed to the Golden Jubilee mark of 50,000 after plunging ~30% in March 2020. Then the bourse ran the fastest 10,000 run to notch the 60,000 mark last year.

Now the benchmark index is expected to reach yet another milestone. Jefferies’ Global Head of Equity, Christopher Wood envisions the Sensex hitting the 1,00,000 mark in the next five years. In his note, Greed & Fear, Wood says, the target is eminently achievable though the assumptions are made on aggressive factors.

Before we delve into the details let see who Christopher Wood is and why his opinion matters today.

Who is Christopher Wood?

Christopher is an equity expert you must know about. Jefferies’ appointed Wood as Global Head of Equity Strategy in May 2019. Before entering the investment field, he was a financial journalist. He worked for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review between 1982 and 1984 and The Economist for a decade between 1984 and 1994.

While his time at The Economist, Wood authored three books-

  1. The End of Japan Inc: And How the New Japan Will Look
  2. Boom and Bust: The Rise and Fall of The World’s Financial Markets
  3. The Bubble Economy: Japan’s Extraordinary Speculative Boom of the ‘80s and the Dramatic Bust of the ‘90s

In addition to these books, Wood publishes a weekly called Greed & Fear. He has published over thousand issues of the weekly without fail since he started in 1996.

Now that you know a little more about Christopher Wood, let us move to his latest forecast for Sensex in the Greed & Fear note. 

Sensex to Reach 1,00,000

Yes, the markets have had a tepid start this year. But Wood has faith in the Indian markets irrespective of the fact that they are down ~6% from the October peaks. Wood says growth-focused equity investors should focus on India.

Wood writes in his note, “India has always been a stock market for growth investors with the multiple to go with it. In a G7 world where value investors may finally enjoy on extended period of outperformance over growth, until at least the Fed performs another U-turn, India should be a prime object of focus for growth oriented equity investors.”

 

The basis for the estimation is 15% earnings-per-share (EPS) and that a five-year average multiple of 19.4 is maintained. Such growth will help the Sensex reach the 1,00,000 mark sometime in late 2026.

Moreover, he expects India to record perhaps the best earnings growth in the Asian continent this year.

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Tailwinds

  • Augmenting tax revenues and the CAPEX push announced in the Budget supports the continuing resilience of the stock market despite perceived high valuations.
  • Resurgence of the housing cycle after a seven-year downturn may translate into a broader CAPEX cycle that will boost earnings. The stock market will withstand the rising interest rates.
  • The earnings growth forecast for the MSCI India index is 3% against 11.3% for Asia this year.

Headwinds

  • Rising inflation is a pressing issue more for the western countries than India.. Fed has announced it will hike interest rates to tame inflation. However, this will have a reverse impact on India.
  • Wood says the rise in the Oil prices will definitely affect the Indian market. This is the reason he advises global emerging market investors to hedge their Indian equity exposure by owning energy stocks elsewhere. Currently Oil is trading at ~$90/barrel and there is every reason for it to head upward. As you see in the chart above, Jefferies’ have a 20% holding in the Energy sector companies.

To Conclude

The headwinds mentioned above are expected to disturb the current momentum in the markets. But like Greed & Fear look at these disturbances as opportunities. You may want to buy good stocks if the markets correct.

If you were to follow Wood’s words, “If the current housing upturn proves to be the lead indicator of a broader private sector CAPEX cycle, as was the case during 2002-03, then India should once again become one of the best performing stock markets in Asia as it was between 2003 and 2007.”  

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