The volatility observed in recent months continued in December 2021. Nifty 50 gained ~2% in the final week of 2021 after remaining under pressure throughout the month. Broader markets selectively did well with S&P BSE Midcap and S&P BSE 250 Small Cap gaining ~1% and ~5% respectively. Volatility was led by news on spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in various countries and chances of the third wave in India. FIIs recorded the longest selling streak in last 10Y (26 days) with them being net sellers to the tune of ~USD 1.7 bn in Dec. Despite this, markets remained resilient as domestic institutions and domestic retail investors used the weakness as an opportunity to add to their investments. DIIs were big buyers with net inflows of ~USD 4.3 bn in December.
As we move into CY2022, immediate focus, apart from Covid, will be on earnings and expectations from the Union Budget. We expect companies to positively surprise on the topline on back of strong festive season and the pent-up demand post lockdown. On the earnings front, we feel 3QFY22 can be a repeat of 2QFY22 with quite a few companies reporting lower margins due to input costs pressures. However, strong revenue growth should ensure that absolute profitability will be in line. Earnings outlook for FY22 and FY23 continues to be strong and the Union budget is expected to be pro growth and that can add to enthusiasm in the economy and the markets.
Overall, our view on Indian equities continues to be optimistic for CY2022. While return expectations have to be more rationale compared to the last 18 months, we do believe the CY2022 will need more hard work in picking the right stocks and segments.