The Indian markets before going for a long weekend made a flat closing with a positive bias. Today, the start is likely to be in green and the traders will be rejoicing the assembly election outcome, which was mostly on the expected lines. A strong election win in the largest state of Uttar Pradesh has raised the probability of the BJP winning the 2019 general elections as well, putting sense of stability among investors. Traders are also likely to get support from the economy front, where the industrial production bounced back into expansion in January, kicking off the financial year’s last quarter on a positive note. The index of industrial production (IIP) rose 2.7% in January from a year ago, the second fastest monthly growth this financial year. However, there will be some cautiousness too, with the RBI warning of a possible spike in inflation and stressing the need to make digital payments “safe and secure”, even as it felt that the adverse and transient impact on the economy has “by and large” dissipated already. Traders will be eyeing the inflation data to be released later in the day for further cues. The banking stocks will keep buzzing, as the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has discussed options on resolution of bad loans with RBI Governor Urjit Patel and other top officials in finance ministry but creation of a 'bad bank' to hold such loans seemed not on top of alternatives.
The US markets made a mixed closing in the last session in a lackluster trade, as traders braced for the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting starting on Tuesday. The Fed is expected to announce a modest interest rate at the culmination for its two-day meeting on Wednesday. The Asian markets too have made a mixed start with some indices trading marginally in red, as investors anticipated a near-certain rate hike from the Federal Reserve this week, while oil continued its slide for yet another day.
Back home, Indian benchmark indices give up most of their early gains to close marginally higher on Friday, amid profit taking in selective frontline stocks. Today’s session largely remained characterized by consolidation as the aimless indices moved only sideways in a tight band ahead of Assembly poll results of five states on Saturday. Sentiments got some support after various exit polls suggested the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may comfortably cross the majority mark of 202 in the 403-seat UP Assembly, or come close to it. Further, investors got some comfort with the report that the government's revenue collection from indirect tax during April-February grew by an impressive 22.2%, while that of direct tax rose by 10.7%. Total direct and indirect tax collections at February end stood at Rs 13.89 lakh crore, 81.5% of the target of Rs 16.99 lakh crore, as per the revised estimate for 2016-17. However, gains remained capped with CRISIL’s report that a revival in private sector investment cycle is likely to be deferred to fiscal 2019 as there is ample headroom in capacity utilization, stretched balance sheets and just a moderate pick-up in demand. In the next fiscal year ending March 2018, CRISIL predicts only a mild recovery due to an absence of fiscal and monetary stimuli and unsupportive global environment. Meanwhile, Telecom stocks gained traction on the report that the government is set to go for 5G spectrum auction this year -making an early move to initiate rollout of latest communications technologies. The government will also go for a fresh auction in 700 MHz band, which drew a blank last year as companies complained of high reserve price. Further, some auto stocks surged after the Vehicle sales across categories registered a marginal increase at 17,19,699 units in February 2017 from 17,03,736 in the same month last year. Domestic passenger vehicle sales rose by 9.01% y-o-y to 255,359 units in February, while Sales of commercial vehicles moved up 7.34% to 66,939 units in February. Finally, the BSE Sensex surged 17.10 points or 0.06% to 28946.23, while the CNX Nifty was up by 7.55 points or 0.08% to 8,934.55. The Indian markets remained closed on Monday on account of Holi.