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How was the year 2023 for Indian Equity Investors?

ICICIdirect 5 Mins 02 Feb 2024

The Indian equity market in 2023 was one of the best-performing stock indices globally. Overall, Nifty50 and Sensex gained close to 18% with 3,600 points and 21,800 points rally, respectively. Let us look at the details - the factors that pushed the market up and the outlook for 2024.

Factors that led to a rally in 2023

Let us look at different factors that led to a market rally in 2023:

The Retail Investors: The retail investors continued to pump the money into the equity market through SIPs. The total SIP inflow in 2023 stood at Rs 1.84 lakh crore. Every time there was pressure from Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), the continuous inflow from retail investors ensured there was no drastic fall in the broader market. The other side is retail did not panic in market corrections and held to their investments, which ended up giving a strong boost to the overall market.

No Recession in the US: In 2022, it was certain that a recession would hit the US in 2023, and we saw muted returns in 2022. However, as we entered 2023, the clouds of recession in the US cleared, and the second half reported good growth numbers. It was a big boost for the other major economies, including India, and it kept the market sentiments positive for a long.

FIIs Inflow: In 2022, FIIs were net sellers with total outflows of Rs 1.21 lakh crore. However, 2023 was a game changer, and FIIs stood by India's growth story, and they turned net buyers. They bought equities worth Rs 1.65 lakh crore in 2023 - the second-highest inflow (highest was in 2023 - 1.7 lakh crore). The FII confidence was boosted by reduced inflation, the hope of a rate cut in 2024, and the possibility of NDA returning to power for a third consecutive term in the general elections.

Best Performing Sectors in 2023

Below are some top-performing sectors in 2023. The rally in these sectors was led by a capex push by the government, strong domestic demand, and increasing discretionary consumption.

BSE Realty: The real estate sector has been under pressure since the pandemic, but it made a strong comeback in 2023 with maximum gain among all indices. The rally came despite higher interest rates and tight liquidity conditions. The index delivered over 75% returns. Some of the top-performing stocks are Unitech and Peninsula Land.

BSE Capital Goods: In 2023, the BSE Capital Goods Index surged by 66.89%, outperforming the Nifty50 and Sensex by considerable margins. The growth was led by investors' interest. Most companies in the index were trading above their 10-year average PE - showing investors were ready to even pay the premium.

BSE Auto: The domestic-linked sector that grabbed attention in 2023 was automobiles and auto ancillary. The BSE Auto index has delivered over 42% and scaled a lifetime high in 2023. More than a dozen stocks in the index more than doubled investors' money. The growth drivers for the sector were robust demand for passenger cars, particularly sports utility vehicles, and medium and heavy commercial vehicles, plus the government’s push to drive electric vehicle sales.

Worst Performing Sectors in 2023

No sector gave a negative return in 2023. However, oil and gas underperformed the most. The reason was high energy prices which negatively impacted the oil-marketing companies, while the windfall tax hobbled upstream producers. Next, private banks did not receive any major buyers as their public-sector counterparts. In 2023, the private bank index has returned only 11%. 

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