Kotak’s Shanbhag Says Reduction of Budget Deficit ‘Positive’

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Sudhakar Shanbhag, who manages about $1.8 billion in assets as Mumbai-based chief investment officer at Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Ltd., comments on India’s budget and stocks.

The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, climbed 2.8 percent to 18,197.67 as of 1:36 p.m. in Mumbai today, on course for its biggest gain since May. India will cut the budget deficit to 4.6 percent of its gross domestic product in the fiscal year ending in March 2012, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his annual budget speech in parliament today.

On the budget:

“There are no great surprises,” except for the fiscal deficit number. “Details” on how the government aims to reduce the fiscal deficit “need to be seen.”

On the market’s gain:

“No negative is seen as a positive.

‘‘The plan to trim the fiscal deficit is ‘‘seen as a positive.’’

On his investment strategy:

‘‘We were placed defensively’’ with an emphasis on ‘‘large caps relative to previous months.’’

He remains positive on stocks in the software and health-care sectors.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shikhar Balwani in Mumbai at sbalwani@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net.