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HSBC Infrastructure Company

The company in consideration is HSBC Infrastructure Company or HSBC Investments or known as HICL in the industry circuit. The company is a relatively new company in the sector and was launched on 29 March 2006. The company is basically dedicated to Private Finance initiative investments and is a part of FTSE 250 Index. It is headed by Mr. Graham Picken. It has a rare accomplishment of being the only infrastructure investment company to be listed on London Stock Exchange.

Initially the company offered a portfolio of 15 infrastructure projects that had long term concessions based on source of revenues and availability based. The assets that the company holds are primarily operational with the portfolio comprising of 31 investments. The head-quarters of the company are in Guernsey, a British crown dependency located in the English Channel. To maintain and enhance the value of the company for the investors, the asset managers play a key role by actively participating in the management of projects. Regarding the value enhancement of the investment, it all depends on the performance of these projects and includes management of revenue opportunities, cost savings, financial efficiencies and treasury management. The group believes that it is practical to focus on every new investment opportunity with almost same revenue and risk associated comparable to the existing portfolio. Below, the chart shows the performance of the company in the stock market since its opening in March 2006.

YIELD CURVE ANALYSIS

A yield curve is a curve that represents a relationship between maturity of coupon bearing bonds and their yield to maturity. This means that it depicts the yields that are obtainable in relation to various bonds, bills or notes on their maturity. (Grandville, 2001)

Generally, these curves are upward sloping as the investors who invest for short period have a safe investment against that of a long term investor who has to face a world full of uncertainties for quite a lot of time. Thus, they are offered risk premiums so as to persuade them to invest for long time. (Vanhorne & Wackowicz, 2008)

Depending upon the behavior of the market, the central banks and the attitude of the investors and their predictions, there are different shapes that can be taken by a yield curve. One of the most common type of yield curve is an upward sloping (or more generally called as positive curve) in which yield increases as the maturity of the bond increases. Apart from the most common one, other shapes that are prevalent occasionally are of three types. An inverted yield curve (or a downward sloping curve) is the one in which yield does not increase with the maturity time. Another type of yield curve is a humped yield curve which has ups and downs along the line as the maturity grows. And, in the end, there is a flat shaped yield curve. In this type of yield curve, all the maturities have the same yield irrespective of the time frame. A humped and a flat yield curve shows that the investors are uncertain of the market behavior. (Fabozzi, Mann & Choudhry, 2003)

The UK Yield curve that is under consideration has been dated on 12th December 2009. The UK curve exhibits all different types of yield curves. In the beginning, for a 1-month treasury note, the interest rate that is applicable is 0.47%. And, a 3-month treasury note has a interest rate of 0.47% while a 6-month note would give returns at the rate of 0.49%. As the trend can be seen, the curve gives almost the same return for a 1-month to 6-month treasury notes. This type of yield curve is a flat shaped yield curve. This shows that the investors are unsure of the economy in the near future and have very less expectations. Also, it indicates stable interest rates in the near future i.e. lending rate by the bank of England is not likely to increase in the near future and the economy is tightened by the government.

The interest rate paid on a 2-year maturity bill is 1.23%, and on a 3-year maturity bill is 1.69%. While a 5-year bill has a return of 2.69% and a 10-year bond has a return of 3.88%. This period has seen a sharp rise in the predicted yields of an investment in the economy. It indicates that the investors would like to be paid an extra risk premium for blocking their money for such a long time. This is due to the level of uncertainty and increased chances of the investment being sunk.

Investors anticipate a growth in the economy in this period as the country has just come out of recession and the government is taking all possible measures to get rid of this devil. Also, investors anticipate the inflation rates to increase rather than decrease. This is due to the fact that if the inflation rates increase, then the central bank has to squeeze the monetary policy by increasing the short term rate of interests. This is done so as to slower the economic growth of the nation and reduce the pressure of inflation over the market.

Post this 10 year period, it can be seen that the interest rates have again come to a flat position or to be more precise a bit of inverted in the end. This can be due to the fact that the investors are not expecting any further increase in the inflation rates in the near future. So, if the expectations are of inflation levels being low in the future, then the investors would get a lower premium for their investments for a longer period. Another aspect of the same story can be the expectation of no increase in the interest rates by the central bank.

Also, one of the more probabilistic chances are that UK being a developed nation, other countries might jump in to buy the treasury notes and bonds. In the past, Central banks of developing nations have jump in to buy the long term bonds of developed nations. This then leads to a flat yield as the demand in the market for the bonds is huge. Another concern being that the most hated word, recession, can again come into play as the economy is seen to be heading towards another situation where liquidation problem may arise and the interest rates are again seen going down or coming to a halt.

PART-B:

On study of HICL, 50 day moving average for past 3 years i.e. since its launching in the stock market,

No. of signals generated = 14

No. of buy signals = 7

No. of sell signals = 7

Thus, ratio of positive returns/ total signals = 7/14 = 0.5

The ratio is exactly 0.5 i.e. the chances are even that the investment made by following the 50-day moving average method would yield a return.

A moving average is a interesting tool used to depict the trend of the share prices in consideration. It is generally helpful in order to invest in a market where the share price of the stock is fluctuating. A moving average trend is the summation of closing price of the shares divided by the no. of days in consideration. In simple words, it is the average of the closing stock prices of the company in relation to the number of days. (Edwards, Magee and Bassetti, 2001)

The fundamental rule to invest by following a 50 day moving average is to generate a buy signal, when the share prices line cuts the moving average curve from below. While, a sell signal is generated when the share prices of the concerned company cuts the moving average from above. Moving averages are helpful when the trading conditions for the shares are favorable, i.e. smooth trends, but mostly they attract the investors to make losses by investing through study of a moving average trend. (Stewart, 1996)

One of the main problems with the moving average method is that it can be unpredictable at times. It reacts to any piece of information twice i.e. once, when any new information is added to draw the curve ahead and secondly, when the last information is dropped off from the moving average curve. This means, that if the last information is a high price, then the moving average would move down. While, in case, if the last price is a low price, then the moving average is likely to move up, irrespective of the share price of the new day that has been added to draw the moving average curve.

Another drawback of the method is that they tend to delay the attitude of the market. This is the price that the investors in the market are ready to pay due to the smoothening effect of the curve. The primary application of the moving curve is to provide the user (investor in this case) a visual aid to show the trend of the market. Another important aspect of this process is when the share price in the market tends to fall below the curve of moving average. This signal is important and should not be ignored especially when dealing with the long term calculation of the share prices. One of the main risks associated with this technique is that the investors tend to be whipsawed i.e. suppose, when the market falls below the moving average and a sell signal is created. But, then immediately or within a short frame of time, the share price tends to rise up again and thus generating a buy signal. By this case, the conclusion must be clear that this is a not so reliable method to invest in the market. (Dagnino, 2001)

This process of being whipsawed has been commonly prevalent in our case i.e. HSBC infrastructure company. This has happened 4 times i.e. when the share line crosses the moving average line from top, a sell signal was created but then all of a sudden or within a really short time frame, a buy signal was created. This further confuses the investors as the sell and buy signals are created back to back. One of the primary drawbacks of the moving average method is that it essentially tends to miss out the turning points i.e. when an important event has occurred due to which the share price of the share tend to fall immediately like fraud being visible, change in management, new project announcement or some other key information. Then, this method tends to immediately react to all this information's as the data in consideration is of 50 days and it takes a couple of days to react to this information. Or, if by chance, there is a bad news for the company and the market sees a sudden fall in the prices of shares, then the curve takes some time to react to this piece of information.

A moving average trend method comes with certain drawbacks and its advantages. The method is very easy to calculate and too simple to understand. It does not require any special understanding of higher order mathematics or any special financial theory. But, one of the main drawbacks is that the method is not reliable as it uses the previous data available in the market. This method cannot be used to indicate the crests and troughs of the stock price in consideration. Since, the method deals with historically available data, so it can better are termed as a trend following indicator rather than trend indicator which it is supposed to be. Another factor in consideration should be the market behavior, i.e. if the market or a particular stock is behaving in a particular trend then this method might be of some use. But, if in case the market is moving without any particular trend, then this method can turn out to is a big failure leading to the collapse of investor's portfolio or his investment.

ANNEXURES:

  • Grandville, O, Bond pricing and portfolio analysis: protecting investors in long run, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001
  • Vanhorne, J, Wachowicz, J, Fundamentals of financial management, Pearson education limited, 2008
  • Fabozzi, F, Mann, S, Choudhry, M; Measuring and controlling interest rates and credit risk, John Wiley and sons, 2003
  • Edwards, R D, Magee, J, Bassetti, W, Technical analysis of stock trends, CRC press, 2001
  • Stewart,T ,How charts can make you money: technical analysis for investors, Woodhead publishing, 1996
  • Dagnino, G,Profiting in bull or bear markets, McGraw hill, 2001

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