scorecardStory in charts: How Indian equity, gold and debt investments have performed over the past two decades
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Story in charts: How Indian equity, gold and debt investments have performed over the past two decades

Story in charts: How Indian equity, gold and debt investments have performed over the past two decades
Stock Market5 min read
Equity, gold or debt, where should you invest?    Canva
  • With foreign investors pulling out in record numbers from India in 2022, it is worth looking at how Indian markets have fared when compared to their US counterparts.
  • Indian investor interest in equity markets has also grown rapidly – from 3 new demat accounts every 4 seconds to record growth in SIPs, Indians are hungry to invest money.
  • Here’s a look at how Indian equity markets, gold and debt instruments have performed over the past two decades.
Indian stock markets have been amongst some of the best performers this year, with the benchmark Nifty50 beating some of the world’s biggest exchanges including the S&P 500, Dow Jones, Nikkei and FTSE.

This is despite a record foreign investor sell off in 2022 – totaling ₹2.6 lakh crore till date. One of the reasons for Indian markets holding fort is the strong domestic investor buy-in – Indian investors and mutual funds have together ploughed back over ₹2.3 lakh crore, so the pain of the FII sell off has not been felt so far.

With Indians opening three new demat accounts every four seconds since 2020, now is a good time to take stock of how the Indian markets have performed in terms of investor returns.

Here’s how Indian stock markets have performed compared to their global peers:

IndexYTD performance
Nifty500.15%
Sensex0.10%
FTSE 100-3.58%
Nikkei 225-5.92%
Dow Jones-15.75%
S&P 500-19.25%
DAX-20.47%
Nasdaq-27.69%

Note: As on September 19, 2022

But when it comes to investing, what matters is the returns over longer periods – this can be between 5 to 20 years.

And there is an interesting story to be told here.

India vs US – which markets have performed better?



The concept of gaining exposure to the US markets and including geographical diversification in an investment portfolio has gained popularity recently.

With that context, it is important to understand how the US markets have performed when compared to India.

Over the last 1 and 3 years, Indian markets have performed better than the US. In fact, over the past year, Indian markets have delivered far better returns than the US, according to a report by FundsIndia.

However, over the medium to longer term – 5, 10 and 15 years, US markets have delivered better returns.

Ultimately, though, over a 20-year investment horizon, a Nifty50 investor’s returns is 17% annually, while the number falls to 12.6% in the US (S&P 500).

Nifty50 vs S&P 500 annualized returns.
Nifty50 vs S&P 500 annualized returns      Business Insider India / Flourish

₹1 lakh invested in Nifty50 two decades ago is now worth this much



There is a similar trend observed when it comes to money multiplication – essentially, this is a measure of how much your money has multiplied since your investment.

Nifty50 vs S&P 500 money multipliers.
Nifty50 vs S&P 500 money multipliers      Business Insider India / Flourish

If you had invested ₹1 lakh each in Nifty50 and S&P 500 20 years ago, your money would be worth ₹23.1 lakh and ₹10.6 lakh respectively.

It is worth noting that the US returns have been adjusted for the US Dollar exchange rate.


Equity vs debt vs gold – no surprises here



Investment advisors usually recommend diversifying investment across asset classes. This advice is also based on your risk profile. The underlying idea is higher the risk, higher the reward and vice versa.

When it comes to the age-old question of equity vs debt vs gold, unsurprisingly equity tends to perform better. It can also fall more, but over a longer period, it still comes out ahead when compared to debt and gold.

Equity has outperformed gold and debt in terms of annualised returns in all but one instance – gold gave a return of 11.3% over the past 15 years while equity delivered a return of 11%.

Equity vs gold vs debt annualized returns.
Equity vs gold vs debt annualized returns      Business Insider India / Flourish

A similar pattern is visible when it comes to money multiplication.

Equity vs gold vs debt money multipliers.
Equity vs gold vs debt money multipliers      Business Insider India / Flourish

Large cap vs mid cap vs small cap – which one should you prefer?



Another aspect while considering investment options is the market capitalisation category to invest in. This is broadly divided into three categories – large, mid and small cap.

Interestingly, the mid-cap segment has delivered better returns when compared to large and small caps, across both short and long terms. On the other hand, returns on large and small caps have seen more neck and neck.

Large vs mid vs small cap annualized returns.
Large vs mid vs small cap annualized returns      Business Insider India / Flourish


A similar trend is visible when it comes to money multiplication as well, with mid caps pulling far ahead of large and small caps as the investment horizon gets longer.

Large vs mid vs small cap money multipliers.
Large vs mid vs small cap money multipliers      Business Insider India / Flourish

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