Apr 13, 2008

Mutual Fund - Birla Sun Life Frontline Equity Fund : Analysis

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Birla Sun Life Frontline Equity Fund has been a consistent performer over a three and five-year period. It has outpaced the benchmark and category average over these time frames.

The fund predominantly invests in large-cap growth stocks, but has included mid-caps in recent portfolios. It has contained losses well during the ongoing market correction as well as the two previous corrections, beating the benchmark on both occasions.

The fund hasn't been subject to high volatility; that is reflected in the returns generated through the SIP route in this fund. Returns on systematic investments in this fund trailed lump sum returns over the past five years. Since the market continues to be in a volatile phase despite the significant correction, investors can consider staggered investments or SIPs.

Performance: In the past one-year, the fund has under performed large-cap funds such as DSPML Top 100 and HDFC Top 200 by a good margin, as well as its benchmark, the BSE 200, marginally. In the latest portfolio, one-fourth of the assets have been invested in mid-cap stocks with market capitalisation of less than Rs 7,500 crore.

During the ongoing market correction, select mid and small-cap stocks have undergone heavy selling pressure, on institutional selling. The steep correction in banking and construction has impacted its performance as these sectors accounted for close to one-fourth of the total assets.

Portfolio Overview: Ahead of the recent correction, the fund took a cautious stand in stocks such as BHEL, Punj Lloyd, Balaji Telefilms and Indian Bank and trimmed exposure. It has taken advantage of the recent correction in the construction stocks and accumulated HDIL and Nagarjuna Construction substantially. In the past two months, the fund has increased exposure to Reliance Industries and significantly added to holdings in Reliance Communication; the stock has undergone huge correction from its peak.

Fund facts: The fund, managed by Mr Mahesh Patil, was launched in August 2002. The NAV is Rs 63.40.