Common stocks uncommon profits - My investing journey/journal

As we go through the 2nd worst stock (I hope) market crisis of the century, I wanted to use this opportunity to log my buy/sell decisions and how I play this out, so that I can look back and reflect upon myself in an unbiased and objective manner.

2008 Crash
I started investing in October 2008, just a couple of months before the global financial crisis that unfolded in 2008. I still remember buying Tata Motors at 900+ and sold it at 130+. Good thing is that I had just started investing and my corpus was small. I don’t recollect meeting anyone that had not lost money in the markets that year. I resolved not to quit the markets and started reading investment books. Over the next 2 years, I read Graham, Buffet, Phil Fisher, Peter Lynch, etc., applying and practicing my learnings. By 2011, I was beginning to make a decent portfolio and the size of my portfolio was also not meagre any more. It was still less than 1/5th of my net worth, but significant enough. Few names that worked really well for me were Page Industries, HDFC Bank, Nestle, Godrej Consumer, Gruh Finance, Titan, TBZ, etc., Ever since I have been steadily increasing allocations to equities.

Early Feb 2020
While my portfolio underwent a lot of churns, some names really compounded well over the years. One stock that stood out was Page Industries which now amounted to ~25% of my portfolio, although it was never designed to be like that. I still believe I have many years left in my investing journey and decided to not reduce my holdings in page and instead increase the corpus by buying other names or adding to other stocks. Below is my portfolio as of early Feb 2020 in decreasing order of weight. This is just before the virus crisis hit the markets.

1 Page Industries
2 Ujjivan Finance
3 Canfin
4 Hester Biosciences
5 Repco
6 Granules
7 Tata Elxsi
8 Shilpa Medicare
9 Wonderla
10 Satin Credit
11 Equitas
12 Narayana
13 Ajanta
14 Advanced Enzymes
15 ITC
16 HDFC Life
17 Igarashi
19 Dabur
20 Marico
21 Sinclairs
22 Motherson
23 IEX
25 Ujjivan SFB
26 Thyrocare

Feb - March 2020
As the virus pandemic hit the world, even the most respected market participants did not imagine the intensity of fall that was in front of us and still ongoing. I too failed to recognize this. However, during late Feb and early March, I realized we were headed for a bear market and mentally got prepared to take a hit on my portfolio. I completely exited a few names and booked losses, some with a write off of close to 60%. I also added to existing performers and also bought into a couple of new names. I am looking at buying companies that are leaders in their space, have very little debt (not applicable to financials) and good governance track record.

Exited Reduced Increased Allocation New Addition
Advanced Enzyme KRBL ITC Info Edge
Satin Credit Marico Bandhan Bank
Igarashi Motors Thyrocare
Motherson IEX
Ujjivan SFB Repco

Among the ones I have exited, I intend to reenter IRCTC and Ujjivan SFB at an opportune time. I don’t think these are bad businesses. Motherson has a huge execution challenge in front of them and industry tailwinds. Advanced Enzyme, Satin and Igarashi are mistakes and bad market timing.

I believe I was able to flush out most of the poison in my folio. I hold some amount of cash at the moment and aim to be a net buyer from now on. Only time will tell how the decisions of the last few months will turn out.

Current Portfolio with decreasing order of weight.

1 Page Industries
2 Canfin
3 Granules
4 Hester
5 Ujjivan Finance
6 Repco
7 Tata Elxsi
8 Shilpa Medicare
10 Ajanta Pharma
11 Wonderla
12 Narayana Hrudalaya
13 Marico
14 Equitas
15 Thyrocare
16 Dabur
17 HDFC Life
18 IEX
19 Info Edge
20 Sinclairs
22 Bandhan

I chanced upon your list of stocks, and we have some in common. I also thought to bringing to your attention glaring shortcomings of a few stocks in your list.

*Granules… Consistently negative Fcf not only due to capex, but increasing working capital need.

*Ujjivan lowest roe in it’s group. Nose diving.

*Repco… High Npa

*Shilpa… Low Roe
Suggested: Eris

*Wonderla… Low Roe

*Narayan Hrudalaya… low roe

*Igarashi must enquire why falling OPM? Why EPS down to half.

*Dabur expensive. In fact, the whole fmcg bunch is expensive. When the sector sees selling one could buy.

*Sinclairs. Growth triggers absent. Low OCF/Sales. Not really a growth sector.

*Motherson Sumi… huge debt component. Growth triggers absent

*Ujjvain SFB … There are far better options in this category. And this is certainly not the leader.

I do realize that you have not asked for any suggestions. But, I thought your PF could become compact and purposeful with some trimming.

I am fairly confident that the stocks that dont hve a ROE above 15, do not grow well, therefore I avoid them. Especailly, when there are so many better options now available.


Page: I do not expect the sales to grow as well as they did in the past. Therefore, I am not going to pay a PE more than 25. This sets my acquiring price around 9000 for an EPS of 350. So yes, more 50% correction is needed.

Canfin, Repco: I do not like this sector. I think its good days are behind.

Tata Elxsi: I will go with HCL tech instead.

ITC: There are better growth stocks in this category. For cigarettes i’d go with VST anyday. And FMCG there are better options than ITC.

Narayana Hrudalaya: Consider Kovai Medical CH instead.

Info Edge. I do not understand its business cycle. Negative EPs, very low ROE… strange to me.

KRBL, Bandhan both are good. But, they will give really good entry points in a few weeks.

Thanks for bearing with me.


Repco is a pain point. I got it during IPO and now it is back to that level. Will you explain your thesis behind increasing Repco allocation?

1 Like

Did you portfolio fared a lot better than a mid cap fund? What is your CAGR?

@jamit05 Thanks for highlighting shortcomings. This helps uncover any blind spots. I used to think of myself as a growth investor until a few years back, but my investment philosophy has evolved and I am open to looking at cyclical or low RoE businesses. However, I must admit I don’t have a great track record of getting the business cycle and valuation right.

@Ediacaran97 That makes it two of us, I have been holding Repco since IPO times as well. I do not hesitate to cut losses, but this is one name that has hit many roadblocks over the years. NPAs were always expected to be high and seasonal. However, the absolute write-off numbers from bad assets are encouraging and indicate the markets are not pricing this well as compared to a Canfin. The non-salaried lending will take a hit in the near term, because of the lock-downs that are happening across. At 0.5 book value, the valuation currently is very comforting. However, Repco is at the bottom of my list in terms of the amount of cash I have deployed in this crash, and I intend to keep it like that.

@bharat.jain I haven’t calculated my CAGR yet. My sense is that a good amount of fresh cash deployed since 2018 hasn’t delivered well except for Canfin and a couple of Pharma names.

I deployed a decent amount of cash into FD’s throughout 2nd half of 2019. This used to be 15% of my portfolio, but has now become ~30% thanks to sudden drop in prices of my stocks. I intend to maintain this at 15% now.

1 Like

I don’t know if we have actually made a bottom or if this is just a rally that comes before an even deeper cut. I continue to deploy cash and churn the portfolio. My cash position is healthy and I feel more confident to handle any further cuts.

Over the last 4 days, I have exited Bandhan Bank (ended up trading) and introduced Bata. Excited to have got a good entry position into Bata, can’t wait for declines to add more. I also averaged down the below names (in decreasing order of cash deployed): Tata Elxsi, Info Edge, IEX, KRBL, ITC, Equitas, Marico, Narayana, Repco, Ujjivan and Wonderla. Most of them are leaders in their space.


Name Market Leader
1 Page Industries Y
2 Canfin
3 Granules
4 Hester Biosciences
5 Ujjivan Finance
6 Tata Elxsi
7 Repco
8 Shilpa Medicare
9 Ajanta
10 ITC Y
11 Narayana
12 Wonderla Y
13 Marico Y
14 Thyrocare Y
15 HDFC Life
16 Equitas
17 Dabur Y
18 IEX Y
19 Info Edge Y
20 Bata India Y
21 Sinclairs

I also did some clean up in a second portfolio (family) that I manage by adding Colgate Palmolive.

Disclosure: I make mistakes. Not a qualified advisor and these are my journal entries and should not be treated as a recommendation.

1 Like

I ended up being a net seller last week and used the rally to exit Sinclairs at loss. I also nibbled into HDFC AMC, Bata and Naukri. Its difficult not buy stocks at these times, so nibbling helps and also ensures I don’t skew my cash position. Overall, further improved my cash position, and continue to look out for market leaders who have the capacity to suffer. I am not too worried about valuations these days, what appears as cheap today will appear expensive tomorrow once the new earnings are factored in.

What makes 2020 different from 2008 is the quick action taken by central banks all around the world. I think we are at a crossroad where major geo-political shifts are happening in front of our eyes. I feel the markets are looking beyond the virus now - as if the virus was just an excuse.


My sense, Virus is everything now a days and all eyes are on the mother (US) of stock markets. It make sense to investors and there is a strong reason to worry about. Because, 1) the much awaited vaccine is at least 1 year away 2) possibility of more spread of disease and deaths in the absence of vaccine 3) therefore more lock down measures that eventually hit the economies. Global economy will surely enter into some kind of recession and the recovery may take more time. It is simple, if the virus spread is not contained, no amount of central bank action is enough.


Agree with Sameer.

US is doing pretty badly with the virus. Its all over the news. If SP500 caves in, so will Nifty. And if the spread escalates in our country, no way a big investor will give a go ahead. Too many uncertainties.

Trump is under pressure to remedy the situation as he will be in Election in Nov 2020. Fingers have not started to point, if that happens, the international scene could keep the markets down further.

Right now, it is pretty much assured that Nifty will breach its current swing-low. Results season is going to start in a weeks time, that won’t help either.

Not just US, but entire Europe is looking pretty bad. It sounds all are in the race to be number 1 in terms of positive cases and deaths. With Italy, Spain, France in deep troubles, now seems Germany and UK is not behind either the way it is spreading and number of daily deaths being reported. If these developed markets collapse, it would have ripple effects on all of us.

Definitely Trump is in tremendous pressure, that is the reason he holds every day press meet to sooth public and financial markers. Still he did a good job in getting 2 trillion $ getting through, but that good news is long digested by the stock markets way back.

Therefore it is important to keep an eye on the COVID.

1 Like

There were excesses in the markets even before the virus hit us. Those excesses needs to be flushed out and that usually takes time, and may continue even after the virus situation. The virus situation has only triggered the crash and this has perhaps set in motion a negative feedback loop, which needs to be controlled by governments and central banks.

Don’t know about the Nifty but my sense is that the bottom for the index stocks and the bottom for small/mid caps may not come at the same time. For all you know certain small/mid-cap stocks might have already made a bottom during the last couple of weeks,

It is beyond the governments now. The only remedy is a lockdown, and if they dont do that and walk around like nothing has happened, then the number of Infections will exponentially rise and the percentage of deaths will sharply rise. If the governments do for a lockdown then the economy comes to a stand-still, and many unknown come into picture:

  1. Like for how long? because once they lockdown, they cannot change their minds mid-way. That would completely undo the previous sacrifice.

  2. Unemployment. No one can predict the effect of a prolonged lock-down. Possible riots, perishable goods, raw materials for many industries.

  3. The worst of all unknowns: Backlash against China. I think it is inevitable.

Inspite of all this, I am not worried about buying the Large Caps on my list. I would happily buy them 10 to 15% lower. But, Mid caps worry me. The midcaps stocks on my list won’t go bust, but a fall of 50% from my purchase price would worry me.

My sense, all the governments stand would be surely “Jaan hai to Jahaan hai”. Saving lives is important than economy at this moment especially in the absence of cure. So better take informed decisions in the market.

Over the last 4 to 6 weeks:

  1. I sold out the incremental positions I had added to Repco and Equitas and further trimmed my position size in these two stocks. I continue to maintain my position in Canfin and Ujjivan.
  2. I added AIA Engineering, ABB India and DISA India
  3. I continued to incrementally add in small numbers for a number of stocks that I already own. These include KRBL, Shilpa Medicare, ITC, Wonderla, Thyrocare, HDFC Life, IEX, HDFC AMC and Marico
  4. I am consciously not adding to the top 5 stocks in my portfolio to bring down its weight and reduce concentration.
  5. Cash levels have gone down a bit, but still very comfortable to deal with any opportunities that might come by.
  6. I am happy with myself that I am able to deploy the majority of my cash to sector/segment leaders and not getting trigger happy. One aspect I need to relook is leaders that do not command pricing power, however, if the competitive intensity is less I am willing to overlook that.

I still hold to my view that one should not look at the index for bottoms and every sector and stock is going to make its own tops and bottoms.

Don’t know about the Nifty but my sense is that the bottom for the index stocks and the bottom for small/mid caps may not come at the same time. For all you know certain small/mid-cap stocks might have already made a bottom during the last couple of weeks

Name Market Leader
1 Page Industries Y
2 Granules
3 Canfin
4 Hester Biosciences
5 Ujjivan Finance
6 Tata Elxsi
7 Shilpa Medicare
8 Ajanta
10 Repco
11 Narayana
12 Marico Y
13 Wonderla Y
14 HDFC Life Y
15 Thyrocare Y
16 Bata India Y
17 AIA Engineering Y
18 Info Edge Y
20 Dabur Y
21 IEX Y
22 Equitas
24 DISA India Y
25 ABB India Y



Its been 4 months and a portfolio update for my own retrospective.

The position adjustments made to Repco, Equitas and Canfin (decision of not to trim) has worked well.

While AIA has worked well, ABB and DISA are pretty much at the same level now. In hindsight this was an opportunity cost, but there has been no evidence to show that these are bad businesses or managements. I will add more on downside.

ITC, Wonderla and HDFC AMC have resulted in opportunity costs.
KRBL, Shilpa, Thyrocare, IEX and HDFC Life have all performed well.

I am sitting on decent cash levels to make use of any market corrections. This is mostly because of my salary savings and market inactivity over the last 4 months.

My current portfolio is shown below. There has been no change in names, but I have sorted the names based on the value which captures its market performance.

Name Market Leader
1 Page Industries Y
2 Granules
3 Canfin
4 Hester Biosciences
5 Tata Elxsi
6 Shilpa Medicare
7 Ujjivan
8 Repco
9 Ajanta Pharma
10 ITC Y
11 Narayana
13 Marico Y
14 Thyrocare Y
15 Wonderla Y
16 HDFC Life Y
17 Info Edge Y
18 IEX Y
19 AIA Y
20 ABB Y
21 Bata Y
23 Dabur Y
24 Equitas
25 DISA India Y
1 Like

Time for another quarterly update and introspection. While the bull market makes one feel good, the lack of opportunities make me disinterested in markets. Never the less, it is a good feeling to see your stocks go up.

I made some incremental additions to Equitas Holdings recently. Previously I had reduced Equitas a bit and moved that monies to very strong businesses that were available at reasonable valuation, now I am just adding back to that position through my salary savings.

ABB India has done well in the last 3 months, with a 50% rise in the stock price. Thanks to some revival in auto and good demand for IT and automation. DISA India has done reasonably well, but the stock price hasn’t run away like ABB and others. Overall I am happy with my allocation to these two companies and will stay put.

Like ABB, HDFC AMC has also had a sharp run up and I am contend with my allocation here. ITC is looking to break out from my purchase price and will remain as a portfolio stock for the longer term. Wonderla has also had some run up, but I will continue to monitor this closely in the coming months.

Page Industries, my top holding (and perhaps the oldest as well) has finally broken out from its technical resistance levels and that has done a lot of good for my overall portfolio returns.

Did not sell or reduce anything from my existing portfolio, but added 3 more stocks - Syngene International, Dharamsi Morarji Chemical Company and RITES Limited. I am watching Repco Home closely and might further trim my position if there is any price run up. Among the three, I consider DMCC and RITES to align well with my buying the market leader philosophy - as in the company is operating in a monopoly/duopoly/oligopoly environment.

Hi @madhug, why do you not own any lenders in your portfolio? Is it due to the circle of competence thing or a portfolio construction strategy where you’re specifically avoiding them?

How do you handle volatility of the portfolio since your initial post says that you have a 25%ish exposure to Page Industries?

I used to have HDFC Bank many years ago and haven’t bought it back which was a mistake. I do have Housing Finance and Small Finance banks, making up close to 14% of my portfolio. This has been a laggard in my portfolio even after trimming it a little bit. I am holding on to these, since I know these are cyclical and would turn around in the coming quarters/years, just don’t know when.

I am getting used to volatility and any swings both on the upside and downside don’t make me happy or nervous. There were a couple of days in late March last year when I felt jittery when I saw my portfolio value drop to a historic low and almost reduced to half.

I bought Page Industries in late 2009 and kept averaging up till 2014. It is now 17% of my portfolio and I haven’t sold a share for many years now. This is also one of the laggards pulling down the overall portfolio returns in the last 3-4 years. However, I do not want to sell/switch or hedge since it demands more of my attention and also puts me at the risk of losing my original position. My dividend yield at cost for Page is now at 6.6% per annum which offers some comfort. My mental accounting says that I must have already recovered about 25% of my initial investment and in a few years from now I hope to fully recover my entire investment cost through dividends. While this is not always a smart way to look at investments, it helps me stay invested for several years and make compounding work.


Sharing my portfolio (in order of weightage) since May 2021. Summary of my investment log over the last 6 moths.

  • I got a bit swayed away from my core philosophy of investing in market leaders - I intend to rectify that over the next two quarters.
  • Increased the number of stocks in the portfolio to 39. This was intentional and was achieved by selling what I think as weak/low conviction stocks and without diluting any of my high conviction long-term stocks.
  • Increased minimum position size of stock in the portfolio to from 1% to 1.5%. This way I intend to bring down the number of stocks in my portfolio to about 30-35 and also add more to strong names where there is under allocation
  • Fully exited the below companies: Wonderla, AIA Industries, RITES Limited, Shilpa Medicare, Embassy Office Space, Brookfield REIT, Maithan Alloys, HDFC Life
  • Sold and bought back HDFC AMC. I intend to add back HDFC Life when on price corrections.
  • New companies added: Saregama, Oberoi Realty, Bosch, Indiamart, Vaibhav Global, Xelpmoc, DFM Foods, Hero Motocorp, Cadila, Neuland Labs, Sequent Scientific, Tata Power and Bharat Electronics
Name Market Leader % Change
1 Page Industries Y 903
2 Tata Elxsi 603
3 Granules 218
4 Canfin Homes 131
5 Hester Biosciences 289
6 IEX Y 354
7 IRCTC Y 138
8 Narayana 102
9 Repco -4
10 ABB India Y 150
11 Ajanta Pharma 57
12 Ujjivan -57
13 Marico Y 69
14 ITC Y 2
15 Info Edge Y 128
16 Thyrocare Y 92
17 Dharamshi Morarji Y 49
18 DISA India Y 43
19 Equitas Holdings -16
20 Syngene Y 6
21 Saregama Y 21
22 Oberoi Realty 10
23 Bosch Y 18
24 Indiamart Y -2
25 Vaibhav Global -8
26 Biocon Y -6
27 Xelpmoc -6
28 HDFC AMC Y -2
29 DFM Foods -8
30 Hero Motocorp Y 0
31 KRBL Y -26
32 Cadila -17
33 Bata India Y 57
34 Neuland Lab -8
35 Sequent Scientific -22
36 Tata Power 23
37 Dabur India Y 43
38 Jubiliant Ingrevia 80
39 Bharat Electronics -6