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Market Commentary 15 April 2019
Benchmarks to make a cautious start amid weak macro-economic data


Last hour buying helped Indian equity benchmarks to end the Friday's trading session on higher note, with Sensex and Nifty garnering gains of around 0.40% each. The start of the day was positive, amid reports that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has injected a total liquidity of Rs 2.98 lakh crore in the market in 2018-19. The First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20 stated that from a daily net average surplus of Rs 27,928 crore during February 1-6, 2019, systemic liquidity moved into deficit during February 7-March 31, reflecting the build-up of government cash balances. But, key indices turned volatile during middle of session, with a private report stating that after 108 economists and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Chief Economist Gita Gopinath expressed doubt over India's growth rate, saying that there are still some issues with the way India calculates it. However, markets erased all of their losses in last hour of the trade to settle in green terrain, following firm European markets. Traders took encouragement with the RBI's data showing that that banks closed fiscal 2018-19 (FY19) with robust disbursals. The data showed that bank credit rose 13.24% to Rs 97.67 lakh crore for the fortnight to March 29, while deposits grew by 10.03% to Rs 125.72 lakh crore during the same period. This is the second consecutive double-digits credit growth after the same had declined to 4.54% in FY17 at Rs 78.41 lakh crore, which was the lowest since 1963. Some relief also came after the Ministry of Rural Development made recommendations to the Finance Commission to foster higher inclusive growth, equity, efficiency and transparency. The Ministry made a case for additional resources for Rural India. Finally, the BSE Sensex gained 160.10 points or 0.41% to 38,767.11, while the CNX Nifty was up by 46.75 points or 0.40% to 11,643.45.


The US markets ended higher on Friday after a series of strong bank earnings, led by JPMorgan, boosted confidence in the US economy. JPMorgan kicked off the earnings season by reporting record first quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded street estimates. The better than expected results from JPMorgan partly offset some of the recent concerns about corporate results for the quarter.  JPMorgan Chief Executive James Dimon underlined  that even amid some global geopolitical uncertainty, the US economy continues to grow, employment and wages are going up, inflation is moderate, financial markets are healthy and consumer and business confidence remains strong.  Shares of JPMorgan rose 4.7% for their best earnings day since the release of second quarter 2012 results. On the economic front, reflecting another spike in prices for fuel imports, the Labor Department released a report showing US import prices increased by more than expected in the month of March. The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6% in March after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.0% in February. Prices for fuel imports showed another jump, soaring by 6.4% in March after skyrocketing by 9.7% in February. Besides, after reporting a notable improvement in US consumer sentiment in the previous month, the University of Michigan released a report showing sentiment has deteriorated by more than anticipated in the month of April. The preliminary report showed the consumer sentiment index dropped to 96.9 in April from the final March reading of 98.4. The bigger than expected decrease by the headline index reflected less optimism about the economic outlook, as the index of consumer expectations slid to 85.8 in April from 88.8 in March. Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 269.25 points or 1.03 percent to 26412.30, Nasdaq gained 36.81 points or 0.46 percent to 7984.16 and S&P 500 was up by 19.09 points or 0.66 percent to 2907.41.


Crude oil futures ended higher on Friday as violence in Libya raised the risks to the nation's oil production and economic data from China helped ease concerns over a slowdown in energy demand. Risks to oil production from Libya, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), continue to support prices. Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the country's National Oil Corporation, said that Libya's energy industry faces the worst threat since the 2011 civil war following the latest outbreak of fighting. He added unless the problem is solved very quickly, I am afraid this will affect our operations, and soon we will not be able to produce oil or gas. Benchmark crude oil futures for May added 31 cents or 0.5 percent to settle at $63.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. June Brent crude gained 72 cents or 1 percent to settle at $71.55 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


Snapping 3-day winning streak, Indian rupee ended weaker against the American currency on Friday, as demand for the American unit from importers and banks picked up. Traders remain concerned ahead of index of industrial production (IIP) data for February and inflation numbers for March to be released later in the day. Some pessimism also came in after 108 economists and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Chief Economist Gita Gopinath expressed doubt over India's growth rate, saying that there are still some issues with the way India calculates it. However, last hour recovery in local equity markets coupled with dollar losing sheen against some other currencies overseas restricted the local unit's further down move. On the global front, euro rose sharply on Friday in a move dealers said may have been driven by anticipated currency demand arising from a Japanese bank's plans to purchase a German multi-billion dollar aviation finance business. Finally, the rupee ended at 69.17, 25 paise weaker from its previous close of 68.92 on Thursday.


The FIIs as per Friday's data were net buyers in equity segment, while they were net sellers in debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 5258.31 crore against gross selling of Rs 4241.89 crore while, in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 603.01 crore with gross sales of Rs 1426.25 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 7.42 crore against gross selling of Rs 2.02 crore.


The US markets ended higher on Friday after a series of strong bank earnings, led by JPMorgan, boosted confidence in the US economy. Asian markets are trading in green on Monday as risk appetite was whetted by better-than-expected data from China that helped boost confidence about the health of the world economy. Indian markets ended choppy trading session in green territory on Friday mainly on the back of late buying. Today, the start of a holiday-shortened week is likely to be cautious amid weak macro-economic data. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation data has showed that industrial growth fell to its lowest in 20 months in February, barely rising from a year ago as manufacturing contracted following muted consumer demand, and public investment slowed toward the fiscal year-end. The index of industrial production (IIP) rose 0.1%, the slowest since a 0.3% contraction in July 2017. Besides, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data showed that India's retail inflation saw a marginal rise of 2.86% in March on account of increase in prices of food articles and fuel. The inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 2.57% in February this year. On yearly basis, it was 4.28% in March 2018. Also, there will be some cautiousness with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das' statement that the biggest risk facing emerging market economies is growing evidence that global growth and trade is weakening. At the same time, emerging markets face a wave of global spillover risks leading to capital outflows, currency and asset price volatility besides tightened financial conditions, posing risks to growth and inflation. However, some support may come in with firm global cues. Traders may take note of better-than-expected earnings from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys. TCS ended fiscal 2019 with double digit revenue growth as the company reported a 11.4% growth in constant currency terms in the fiscal ending March 31. This is TCS' fifth straight quarter of year-on-year double-digit revenue growth in constant currency terms. Infosys reported a net profit of Rs 4,074 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, a growth of 10% year-on-year, helped by strong growth in its key financial services segment and large deal wins during the period. There will be some buzz in the steel industry stocks with report that India's finished steel exports fell more than a third in the 2018/19 fiscal year after the United States and Europe imposed safeguard duties in the past one year. There will be some result reactions too, to keep the markets in action.


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