Sensex, Nifty beat most equity schemes in May

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No equity funds, except those in banking, could beat the gains offered by key share indices in May.

The month saw a surge in share prices, especially in the latter half. The Nifty and Sensex were up about four per cent. The latter saw a 1,000-points rally, surpassing the 26,000 mark; the Nifty crossed the psychological barrier of 8,000 sending several of the stocks to a 52-week high.

However, mutual fund managers could not keep pace. The average return from the equity category, across segments, was less than four per cent. Pharmaceutical equity funds and international equity funds had a negative return, of 1.7 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively. Pharma companies have been under pressure from the US regulator in recent months, making investors wary of these counters.

Funds in the banking category were the top gainers, with the category average return at 5.3 per cent.

ICICI, State Bank of India, Axis and YES Bank had a smart rally.

However, a month is also considered too short a period to judge fund managers. “While corporate earnings are yet to pick up, we have been recommending investors look at equities from at least a three-five years perspective,” says Nimesh Shah, managing director of ICICI Prudential MF.

The assets under the equity segment of MFs are Rs 4 lakh crore or about 30 per cent of the sector’s overall assets under management. There are nearly 500 equity schemes on offer.

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