The 2013 All-India Research Team: Portfolio Strategy, First: Sanjeev Prasad

Sanjeev Prasad
Kotak Securities

First-place appearances: 1

Total appearances: 3

Analyst debut: 2011

Sanjeev Prasad of Kotak Securities exhibits an “in-depth understanding of the Indian markets, economy and stocks,” according to one backer, which helps propel the researcher up two spots to his first No. 1 finish. He also garners a runner-up position in Oil & Gas. Prospects for the Indian market are “rather grim,” Prasad says, given expensive valuations for quality stocks, weak real gross domestic product growth that will lead to a poor earnings outlook for the next few quarters, a macroeconomic environment that will continue to pressure fiscal and balance-of-payments positions, and global uncertainty surrounding the tapering of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program. However, he notes that large positions for export-oriented companies and those with revenue and margins in dollars — such as information technology, metals and pharmaceuticals names — will “prevent a big correction.” Accordingly, Prasad, 44, advises investors to stick with industries like IT and pharmaceuticals that benefit from a weaker rupee, as well as telecommunications and utilities stocks that are less affected by India’s domestic challenges. In addition, he is negative on the banking sector, citing nonperforming-loan problems, and consumer staples shares, based on their “extremely expensive valuations against a backdrop of disappointing volume growth.” Prasad, who joined Kotak in 1996, holds a postgraduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. “He doesn’t hesitate in calling a spade a spade,” attests another fan. — Carolyn Koo