India’s Stock Index Has Been Making Its Global Peers Look Weak

India’s Stock Index Has Been Making Its Global Peers Look Weak
Jonathan Hobbs

over 1 year ago2 mins

Mentioned in story

Most of the world’s stock markets are down this year. But India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index (gray line) – which includes 30 of the country’s biggest publicly traded companies – is up, having gained almost 2%. What’s more, the Sensex has risen seven-fold since the depths of the 2008-09 financial crisis, even outpacing the US’s S&P 500, which is up about five-fold over that same time.

A big part of what’s driving this: demographics. India has the best in the world, which is part of the reason why many investors refer to it as “the next China”. Like China, it has around 1.4 billion residents. But unlike China, its median age is just 28 years old (China’s is 38). So there’s a continuing wave of new peak earners coming into the workforce, fueling new growth. India is now the fifth-largest economy, and the fastest-growing one. And it has a lower total “debt-to-gross-domestic-product ratio” than the US, UK, Japan, and Germany, which could make it a relatively stable place to invest. There’s other good stuff here as well: a rapidly digitizing economy, a thriving e-commerce and fintech market, and a democratic government with big reform ambitions.

The Sensex has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of about 22x right now, which makes it slightly more expensive than the S&P 500, with its 19x ratio. Then again, you’d expect as much in a market with high long-term growth potential.

If you’re looking to play India’s growth story, look into the iShares MSCI India ETF (ticker: IDNA, expense ratio 0.65%), iShares MSCI India Small Cap ETF (SMIN, 0.74%), or WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI, 0.83%). But be aware that they’re not “dollar hedged”, so if the US dollar continues to strengthen, as it’s been doing against India’s rupee, your returns may take a hit….

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