Information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) shares were the top performers in 2013, a year where returns from equities were tough to come by.
However, even within these sectors, investors had to work hard to identify winners.
For instance, Aurobindo Pharma or Mindtree among IT stocks galloped over 100 per cent in 2013. Wockhardt and Strides Arcolab both lost 65-70 per cent on bourses. In IT, Mphasis gained only 12 per cent, while Oracle Financial Services is trading flat to its 2012 close.
In pharma, the list does not stop here. The sector, a preferred defensive play for wealth managers over FMCG, had a large number of poor performers. Cadila Healthcare, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Cipla are among the other laggards still trading in negative territory, compared with their year-ago close. The S&P BSE Healthcare Index is up 22.3 per cent over a year.
The pharma industry remained in the news throughout the year. Letters from the US drugs regulator, the FDA, to Ranbaxy and Wockhardt kept the segment buzzing. The latest was Strides' one-of-its-kind hefty dividend payout of Rs 500a share, after the Agila transaction.
At a time when the sectoral indices gained between 10 per cent and as high as 60 per cent during the year against a mere six per cent gains in the key benchmark indices, some individual counters more than doubled on the bourses. And, several others remained laggards, even seeing erosion in their values.
In spite of higher valuations, fund managers chose not to avoid the FMCG sector, given uncertainty in the market. However, the segment has under-performers. Though United Spirits and Dabur India managed to gain over 30 per cent, some other stocks - Colgate-Palmolive, Tata Global Beverages and United Breweries -- are trading in the red. Marico, after a great run in 2011 and 2012, is trading flat, with a gain of little less than a percentage point. The S&P BSE FMCG Index gained 11 per cent over a year.