Stock market indices open positive: Sensex up, Nifty holds above 17,300

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, March 21, 2022, 10:13 AM IST
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The benchmark indices were both higher at the opening bell./Representational image |

The stock markets opened in the green on March 21, first day of new week's trading. The benchmark indices were both higher at the opening bell.

At 09:16 AM, the Sensex was up 166.33 points or 0.29 percent at 58,030.26. The Nifty was up 46.50 points or 0.27 percent at 17,333.50. About 1633 shares have advanced, 602 shares declined, and 124 shares are unchanged.

Among the early gainers on the Nifty were Hindalco Industries, Maruti Suzuki, Infosys, Wipro and Coal India. Asian Paints, Grasim Industries, M&M, IOC and Britannia Industries were among losers at the opening bell.

Among Sensex constituents, Maruti Suzuki India, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Tata Steel, Infosys, Titan, Tata Consultancy Services and HCL Technologies Limited were the lead gainers.

In contrast, Asian Paints, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Power Grid and Hindustan Unilever Limited were among the laggards. On Thursday, the 30-share BSE benchmark rallied 1,047.28 points or 1.84 percent to finish at 57,863.93. Likewise, the broader NSE Nifty surged 311.70 points or 1.84 percent to 17,287.05.

Equity markets were closed on Friday on account of Holi.

Nifty rose for the second consecutive session on March 17, closing the best week since Feb 2021 aided by positive global cues. At close, Nifty was up 1.84 percent or 311.7 points at 17287.1.

Nifty after reacting positively over the past few days to the cessation of the immediate concerns (war, crude oil prices and US Fed meet outcome) could now consolidate for some time. Action could now shift to the mid and smallcap stocks after a good run up in largecaps. Return of FPI buying could enthuse domestic investors. Nifty could remain in the 17,639-16,843 band for the next few sessions.

Stocks to watch out for

Some of the stock specific actions can be witnessed in stocks such as Reliance Industries (Reliance Retail acquires 89 percent stake in intimate wear maker Clovia), NBCC (Received order from Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh), Jubilant Pharmova (Received ANDA approval for Doxepin hydrochloride capsules), SJVN (Secured 100 MW grid connected solar power project in Gujarat).

Asian stocks steady

Asian stocks were steady as crude oil jumped and investors clung to hopes for an eventual peace deal in Ukraine, but the fighting raged on with no sign of stopping.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,257.05 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.3 percent to 21,482.07.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.4 percent to 2,697.58 and Sydney's ASX-S&P 200 lost 0.2 percent to 7,283.50. New Zealand and Jakarta retreated while Singapore gained.

Regional heavyweights Shanghai and Hong Kong gained. Seoul and Sydney retreated. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

US stock close higher

US stocks closed higher Friday, with all three major indexes notching their best weekly performance since November 2020, as investors took the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike and uncertainty over the Russia-Ukraine war in stride. The Dow ended the week 5.5% higher, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 8.1%. The S&P 500 delivered its best weekly gain since November 2020

Wall Street's three major indexes closed higher on Friday, with the biggest boost from recently battered technology stocks, after talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping over the Ukraine crisis ended without big surprises.

US stocks ended higher as investors assessed the Federal Reserve’s decision a day earlier to hike interest rates and signal a series of further increases to come. Reports that Russia had made $117 million coupon payments in dollars on a pair of dollar-denominated sovereign bonds helped lift sentiments.

Signs of increasing escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war and worries over the progress of negotiations were also in focus.

Investors were also relieved by slowing gains in oil prices as they continued to digest the Federal Reserve's Wednesday interest rate increase and its aggressive plan for further hikes aimed at combating soaring inflation.

First-time unemployment benefits in US decline by 15,000

First-time claims for unemployment benefits in the US fell by 15,000 in the week ended March 12 to 214,000. US housing starts rose 6.8 percent in February to an annual rate of 1.77 million, while the Philadelphia Fed’s regional factory index rose to 27.4 in March from 16 a month earlier. U.S. industrial production rose 0.5 percent in February.

S&P Global took Russia's debt rating deeper into junk territory late Thursday, saying it considers the country's bonds "highly vulnerable to nonpayment." S&P rated it CC/C, from CCC-/C, and kept a negative outlook.

Crude prices above $100 mark

Oil prices settled back above the $100 mark on Thursday, marking a partial rebound from a three-session decline, amid escalating violence in Ukraine and growing expectations for a significant loss of crude supplies from Russia.

US crude rose $3.24 per barrel to $106.33 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, gained $3.07 to $111.00 per barrel in London.

Crude oil prices recovered from their lows but showed weakness for second consecutive week after oil prices climbed 7 percent from low after the International Energy Agency said three million barrels a day (bpd) of Russian oil and products could be shut in from next month. Apart from that rising coronavirus cases and increasing inventories in the United States. Due to rapid increased in Coronavirus cases in many countries, around one thousand flights are cancelled for controlling spread of the virus. On the other hand, crude oil inventories are surprisingly increased last week. However, delay in US-Iran deal and supply concerns from Russia could support crude oil prices at lower levels.

In India, the price of diesel sold to bulk users has been hiked by about Rs 25 per litre in line with a near 40 percent rise in international oil prices, but retail rates at petrol pumps remain unchanged, sources said.

Rahul Kalantri, VP Commodities, Mehta Equities Ltd. said, crude oil is having support at $101–97.50 and resistance is at $108.40–112. In INR terms crude has support at Rs 7,810-7,728 while resistance is at Rs 8,140–8,210.

India's direct tax mop-up up over 48%

India’s direct tax mop-up jumped over 48 percent in the current fiscal backed by a 41 percent surge in advance tax payments. The net collection numbers as on March 17 is Rs 13.63 lakh crore which is against Rs 11.18 lakh crore of 2018-19, Rs 10.28 lakh crore of 2019-20 and Rs 9.24 lakh crore of 2020-21.

J P Morgan downgrade Indian equities to 'underweight'

J P Morgan downgraded Indian equities to "underweight" and cut its full-year forecast for the MSCI Emerging Markets index, as geopolitical tensions fuel inflation worries, roiling global financial markets. The brokerage, which previously had a "neutral" rating on Indian equities, cited a slew of factors, including a weaker rupee and its impact on growth, a spike in prices of commodities such as oil, potential portfolio outflows and the domestic monetary tightening cycle.

Accenture says operations could be adversely impacted if war escalates

IT consulting firm Accenture Plc said on Thursday its operations could be adversely impacted if the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates, as the sanctions on Moscow increase the level of economic and political uncertainty. Accenture forecast third-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates, but it excluded the impact of the war.

Bank of England raises rates

The Bank of England raised interest rates on Thursday for a third meeting running, as expected, but softened its language on the need for further increases from here. Eight out of nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to raise Bank Rate to 0.75 percent from 0.5 percent.

China's one-year loan prime rate unchanged

China’s one-year loan prime rate was kept unchanged at 3.7 percent on Monday while the five-year LPR remained at 4.60 percent, largely in line with expectations from a Reuters survey.

Investors were also anxiously waiting to see if Russia would meet interest repayments this week. It must pay $615 million in coupons this month while on April 4, a $2 billion bond comes due.

Bullion outlook

Gold and silver plunged last week after the US Federal Reserve raised key interest rates by 25 basis points and also gave signal for 6 more rate hikes in the upcoming policy meetings. The US Federal Reserve Chairman also showed concerns about higher inflation and lower economic growth due to ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Ceasefire talks between Russia-Ukraine failed last week once again and Russia also escalates war after Ukrainian President told for being a part of EU. Coronavirus cases in most of the countries are rising again. Looking to the geo-political tensions, rising coronavirus cases, tightening monetary policies by global central banks and rising global inflation could continue to keep precious metals volatile.

Rahul Kalantri, VP Commodities, Mehta Equities Ltd. said, Gold has support at $1912-1900, while resistance at $1940-1952. Silver has support at $24.80-24.55, while resistance is at $25.62-25.90. In INR terms gold has support at Rs 51,210–51,000, while resistance is at Rs 51,720–52,000. Silver has support at Rs 67,400- 66,950, while resistance is at Rs 68,480–68,950.

Currency outlook

USDINR 29 March futures contract showed weakness last week and breached its crucial support level of 76.0600 on a weekly closing basis. Rahul Kalantri, VP Commodities, Mehta Equities Ltd. said, as per the weekly technical chart, we observed that a pair slipped from their highs but held its weekly support level of 75.3500. Looking at the technical set-up, a pair is showing weakness on the technical chart but it could hold its crucial support level of 75.3500. Rupee has support at 75.55-75.35 and resistance is at 76.05-76.20.

Forex reserves plunge by over $9.6 bn, steepest dip in 2 years

India's foreign exchange reserves have plunged by over $9.64 billion during the week that ended on March 11. Accordingly, the Reserve Bank of India data showed that India's forex reserves fell to $622.275 billion from $631.920 billion reported the previous week.

According to analysts, a likely intervention by the Reserve Bank of India to arrest the sharp fall in rupee value against the US dollar depleted the reserve. The RBI is known to enter the markets via intermediaries to either sell or buy US dollars to keep the rupee in a stable orbit.

According to reports, the latest decline in forex reserves is the steepest in nearly two years. The country's forex reserves comprise foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, SDRs, and the country's reserve position with the IMF.

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