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Julius Baer upgrades India, says it will be fastest growing major economy

Bank Julius Baer says India will be the fastest growing major economy in 2021 (IANS)

Singapore-based fund house, Bank Julius Baer, has upgraded India to overweight as it will be the fastest growing major economy in 2021.

"We change our stance on India from market-weight to overweight and see 15% upside from current levels with a Sensex price target of 58,450," it said in a note.

"An economic recovery is underway, and we look for 9% y/y GDP growth this year, followed by 7% next year. We look for earnings per share to grow on average over 25% over the next 3 years. It would be unprecedented for the stock market to fall in an environment of such strong growth," it added.

Scientists think "herd immunity" has been achieved in large parts of the country, which would explain why daily new cases have fallen from almost 100,000 in September to less than 15,000 presently.

Lockdowns are imposed still in specific areas that experience Covid outbreaks, but high frequency data shows that has not stopped a continuous recovery following the nation-wide lockdown from March to July of last year. For example, anonymized data gathered shows the mobility of people using Android-based smartphones is almost back to pre-Covid levels, it added.

An Initial Public Offering of LIC, India's largest insurer with $464 billion in assets, is planned for the second half of FY2022. The divestment of this company in particular will enable the government to manage its fiscal position.

The budget has set up a special purpose vehicle to sell the idle/non-core assets (especially land) of SOEs. Much of the idle land is well-situated and could be made productive, benefiting economic growth. Divestment of LIC and BPCL remains the key to meet the fiscal deficit target without compromising spending in FY22E, the research said.

With only the brief exception at the bottom of the Global Financial Crisis, in recent history India's stock market has always traded at a premium to its emerging market counterparts. The current premium of 40% is around the long-term average, it added.