Markets took a breather in the first half (April-September) of the ongoing financial year with the Sensex slipping 3.1 per cent. But, this did not mean all equity mutual funds performed poorly. At a time when the stock market barometer was under some pressure, do you know that some funds managed to go up by 15-20 per cent in the same period? Here we take a look at the top 5 funds, categories and themes that blew away competition in the first half.

Top performers

Out of the 660-odd equity schemes (direct plans), about 90 schemes fall in the international category, which does not lend itself to comparison with domestic stock markets. This narrows the MF universe to about 570-odd schemes. Of them, about 160 equity schemes (28 per cent) outdid the Sensex. This type of result is typical in falling markets. But, top-performing equity mutual funds of first half did a lot more than just barely beat markets. Below is the list of outperformers.

#1ICICI Prudential Nifty FMCG ETF: This exchange traded fund is a low-cost way to mimic the returns of Nifty FMCG index, which has about 15 stocks in its portfolio. It has gained a whopping 22 per cent in six months. The fund’s top holdings include HUL, ITC, Nestle India, Tata Consumer, Britannia and Dabur.

#2 ICICI Prudential Nifty Auto ETF: This exchange traded fund is an affordable route to gain from the Nifty Auto index, which has 15 constituents including M&M, Maruti Suzuki, Eicher, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp. The fund has gained 19.81 per cent between April and September.

#3Nippon India Nifty Auto ETF: Almost similar to ICICI Pu Nifty Auto ETF, this product has gained 19.79 per cent in the same period.

#4 UTI Transportation and Logistics Fund: The first active-managed equity fund in this list, this scheme is the only such fund in the space because the passive products were launched late. The main focus sector is auto, which is a space that has done exceedingly well in the last few months. The fund, with assets of nearly Rs 2,000 crore, has given 17.6 per cent returns in these six months.

#5Motilal Oswal Midcap Fund: This is a midcap focussed fund and has gained nearly 16 per cent in the first half of this financial year. It has assets worth over Rs 3,000 crore.

Here is a table of the top-10 best performing equity funds in April-September, 2022.

Categories, themes that shone

Among prominent categories, midcap funds had a solid six months. The midcap fund category notched up returns of nearly 4 per cent, which is five percentage points more than the category average of largecap funds (-1 per cent). While Motilal Oswal Midcap was the best performer by miles, at no. 2, 3, 4 and 5 were SBI Magnum Midcap, ITI Mid Cap, Union Midcap and HDFC Mid-Cap Opportunities, with 7-9 per cent individual returns.

Multicap (1.34 per cent), Large&Midcap (1.05 per cent) and flexicap fund categories (-0.22 per cent) had a forgettable first half. Smallcap funds had a slightly better six months, as the category notched up a 2.3 per cent average return with Tata Small Cap, SBI Small Cap and Sundaram Emerging Small Cap Series VII clocking 9-12 per cent returns.

Among themes, Consumption, Auto, FMCG and Banking were the clear outperformers. Value as a theme did not perform that well, with mediocre -0.44 per cent returns even though SBI Contra, Templeton India Value and Canara Robeco Value notched up 5-7.5 per cent returns individually. Dividend yield as a theme did not get good results in these six months. The worst performer theme/ category was IT, where funds lost a whopping 22 per cent in April-September, with Nippon India ETF Nifty IT, ABSL Nifty IT ETF and SBI Nifty IT ETF being the laggards.

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