The benchmark indices are up nearly 25 per cent in the last 12 months. Adjusted for consumer inflation of 10 per cent, this translates into 15 per cent real returns for equity investors in 2012. They could not have asked for more, given the macro-economic headwinds in India and other major economies. In 2013, the odds favour bears, and bulls can at best expect low single-digit returns if the news flow turns positive.
The long-term charts suggest that the market is in a consolidation phase, with the Sensex and the Nifty making a base at their long-term median valuation of 18 times their 12-months trailing earnings. A decisive move will happen only when the macro-economic fog - fiscal deficit, inflation and current accounts deficit - clears.
Not all stocks, however, trail the indices and you can always beat the market if you pick wisely and at the right price. Here is the list of the top- and worst-performing stocks to help you decide whether you would like to hold the former or buy the latter.