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NSE Intra-day chart (21 March 2018)
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Market Commentary 22 March 2018
Markets to make positive start on firm regional cues


Extending previous session's rally, Indian equity benchmarks ended the Wednesday's trade in green terrain with frontline gauges recapturing their crucial 10,150 (Nifty) and 33,100 (Sensex) levels, ahead of outcome of the US Federal Reserve policy meet. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates at its first policy meeting under Chairman Jerome Powell and may signal more hikes are coming in response to tax cuts and government spending that could further stoke a robust US economy. Markets started the session on an optimistic note as traders took some encouragement with former governor of Reserve Bank of India Raghuram Rajan's statement that India should be thinking of the next 10 to 20 years when it would need a massive push to create jobs. Rajan enlightened that India could achieve even 10% growth if it built infrastructure, cleared the way for companies, eased the way for them to do business, and improved the quality of human capital including healthcare and education. Traders also get some support with a foreign brokerage report that India remains vulnerable in its external position, but this does not pose any concern about the country's macro stability and is quite manageable. The report added that India's CAD doubled from 0.7% of GDP in 2016-17 to 1.4% in 2017-18 and the widening of CAD is likely to continue in the next financial year as well albeit at a slower pace. However, market participants pared some of their early gains in second half of the trade as traders turned little anxious on report that a private investment bank has downgraded India's economic forecasts from 8 per cent to 7.6 per cent for Financial Year 2018-19. It, however, retained growth forecast for FY 2019-20 at 8.3 per cent. The investment bank lowered the growth projection in the wake of multi-billion banking scam and warned that it could spark tighter regulation of the banking sector that would constrain credit growth. Finally, the BSE Sensex surged 139.42 points or 0.42% to 33,136.18, while the CNX Nifty was up by 30.90 points or 0.31% to 10155.25.


The US markets closed lower on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve delivered its sixth interest-rate increase since the end of 2015 and signaled it still expects to deliver two more before the end of the year. The Federal Reserve lifted a key US interest rate, but it stuck to a script for three rate hikes in 2018 even as it gave a more upbeat forecast for the economy. In the first meeting of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, the central bank avoided sending any overtly hawkish signal about its interest-rate policy. The Fed stuck to its December forecast of three interest-rate hikes this year, but central bankers did push up their expected rate path in 2019 and 2020, however. As widely expected, the Fed raised its benchmark federal-funds rate by a quarter percentage point to between 1.5% and 1.75%. That is the sixth quarter-point move since December 2015. On the economy front, the US current-account deficit, a measure of the nation's debt to other countries, widened 26% in the fourth quarter. The deficit widened to $128.2 billion from a revised $101.5 billion in the third quarter. The US recorded a larger deficit in goods such as oil and a smaller surplus in primary income. The current account reveals if a country is a net lender or debtor. The current account deficit was 2.6% of GDP in the fourth quarter. That's up from 2.1% in the third quarter and well below a peak of 6.3% in 2005. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 44.96 points or 0.18 percent to 24,682.31, the Nasdaq dropped 19.02 points or 0.26 percent to 7,345.29, while the S&P 500 was down by 5.01 points or 0.18 percent to 2,711.93. 


Crude oil futures edged higher on Wednesday, to end at their highest level in nearly seven weeks, supported by weekly decline in U.S. crude inventories. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude supplies fell by 2.6 million barrels for the week ended March 16. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts had forecast a climb of 2.6 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute reported a decline of 2.7 million barrels. Gasoline stockpiles fell by 1.7 million barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles decreased by 2 million barrels. The S&P Global Platts survey forecast supply declines of 1.8 million barrels each for gasoline and distillates. Benchmark crude oil futures for April delivery surged $1.63 or 2.6 percent at $65.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude gained $2.05 or 3 percent to settle at $69.47 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


Indian rupee ended marginally lower against US dollar on Wednesday, due to fresh demand for the American currency from banks and importers. Traders remained concerned with report that a private investment bank has downgraded India's economic forecasts from 8% to 7.6% for Financial Year 2018-19. It, however, retained growth forecast for FY20 at 8.3%. The investment bank lowered the growth projection in the wake of multi-billion banking scam and warned that it could spark tighter regulation of the banking sector that would constrain credit growth. However, dollar's weakness overseas along with gains in the local equity markets, limited the further slide of local unit. On the global front, dollar pulled back from three-week highs on Wednesday as traders took some profits ahead of the Federal Reserve's first expected rate rise of 2018 and focused on whether the central bank will indicate three or four hikes for this year. Finally, the rupee ended at 65.21, 2 paise weaker from its previous close of 65.19 on Tuesday.


The FIIs as per Wednesday's data were net buyers in equity and debt segments both, in equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 5185.57 crore against gross selling of Rs 4692.00 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 1687.19 crore with gross sales of Rs 1112.59 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 8.41 crore against gross selling of Rs 3.20 crore.


The US markets closed lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve upgraded its economic outlook and increased interest rates. The central bank also increased its rate-hike forecast for next year. Asian markets were trading mostly in green on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates by 25 basis points to a range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent on Wednesday, as was widely expected. Indian markets extended northward journey on Tuesday for second straight session ahead of outcome of the US Federal Reserve policy meet. Today, the start of the session is likely to be on the positive side tracking firm regional cues, as the Fed raised overnight rates by 25 basis points, in line with market expectations. Traders will get some encouragement with report that private equity (PE) investments witnessed a two-fold jump in February with transactions worth $1.3 billion taking the deal tally for the first two months of this year to $2.3 billion. There were 62 PE deals worth $1,330 million, while in the corresponding period last year there were 45 such transactions worth $588 million. Meanwhile, Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel and five other experts on the MPC will take a call on changing interest rate in the backdrop of declining retail interest rate when they meet here on April 4-5 to decide the first bi-monthly monetary policy of the next fiscal. There will be buzz in the PSU banks after S&P Global Ratings' report that the banking sector could witness a turnaround in fiscal 2019-20. The report added that the banking sector's performance will get a boost from economic expansion and we believe its deep protracted credit down cycle is nearing, with a turnaround by fiscal 2020. In addition, governments' and RBI's significant steps are aiding the recovery.


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  • ICICI Bank has raised funds to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore through bonds on private placement basis in order to fund growth. 
  • Bharti Airtel has added 41.73 lakh users in February 2018. 
  • TCS has partnered SRC whereby the latter has implemented a single, integrated technology platform for its core operations to refinance real estate, a first of its nature deployment in the Middle East region. 
  • Indiabulls Housing Finance has allotted its eleventh tranche of Secured, Redeemable, NCDs of face value Rs 10 lakh each aggregating to Rs 500 crore.
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