Some of you might remember the cover image of the badly bruised face of a man staring at you from the Forbes India Investment Guide 2012, around exactly the same time last year. It wasn't a pretty sight, signalling the onset of a brutal year for investors. It did turn out to be a rough ride, at least for the first half of the year. The economy slowed down, the real estate market tied itself up in knots and the stock market went downhill for the first seven months. And then, something strange happened. If you were an investor who took the body blows, and still stayed on in the ring, the chances are that you'd be smiling by the time the year was over, what with the Sensex delivering a return of 27 per cent.
This was reflected in the way our two recommended portfolios performed last year. The Capital Conservation portfolio, our selection of 15 mainly large cap stocks, aimed at the somewhat less adventurous investors looking for stable returns, delivered a return of 25 per cent. While the Cheap, Cheerful and Contrarian Portfolio (CCCP)-aimed at the adrenaline seeker-which had companies that had hit rock bottom prices in 2011, produced 27 percent returns.
So is the worst really over? For that, we've got to understand what really turned the tide in 2012. To solve that riddle, you've got to read our special Investing Roundtable on page 40. We've brought together five star money managers-Prashant Jain, Sankaran Naren, Kenneth Andrade, Ajit Dayal and Ramesh Damani-in conversation to give you the big picture view that any serious long-term investor needs, before deciding on the key investment themes for the year. We've also invited a set of experts across all the major asset classes-gold, real estate, fixed income and equities-to pick out specific investment themes and their attendant risks and opportunities. And finally, we're back with two recast stock portfolios we'd like to recommend this year on page 60.
Every year, our columnist Sanjoy Bhattacharyya steps in as our Consulting Editor for this project. This year too, Sanjoy almost gave up his day job and sacrificed his regular bridge sessions to work with my colleagues Pravin Palande and Shishir Prasad for the past several weeks.
Tell us what you think of the special package. As always, we'll wait for your verdict. And before I sign off, please remember to book your copy of our next edition. It'll carry the results of the first Forbes India 100 Most Powerful Celebrities list. You'll get a unique perspective of how the country's biggest creative entrepreneurs-movie and television stars, sportspeople, authors, musicians and film directors, producers and models-create their magic.