Nifty, Sensex rise as banks gain, all eyes on budget

2020-01-30 22:25:17

By Sachin Ravikumar

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares rose on Friday, led by gains in banking stocks, a day ahead of the keenly awaited budget announcement which comes during the country’s worst economic slowdown in a decade.

Global markets have had a turbulent week as investors fretted about the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has so far killed 213, prompting the World Health Organization on Thursday to declare a global health emergency.

Still, Asian markets were higher on Friday as investors clutched at hopes China could contain the virus.

NSE Nifty 50 index <.NSEI> was up 0.21% at 12,061.60 by 0410 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex <.BSESN> had risen 0.30% to 41,035.80.

Indian markets have also been volatile ahead of the announcement of the federal budget on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is expected to raise spending on infrastructure and cut some personal tax in its 2020/2021 budget, to spur consumer demand and investment, government sources and economists have said.

Much of the expectations around the budget have been factored into stock prices and investors will wait until the announcement before making any large bets, said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services in Kochi.

“Growth is on the agenda. People want tax cuts, more incentives to industries and the equity markets,” Nair said of the expectations from the budget.

Shares in Kotak Mahindra Bank <KTKM.NS>, one of India’s largest private-sector lenders, were at the top of the Nifty 50 with a 5% rise after it received the central bank’s approval to cap its promoter’s voting rights at 20% until the end of March.

About 23 of the Nifty 50’s 29-point gain on Friday came from Kotak, making it the biggest boost to the index.

The Nifty banking index <.NSEBANK> was up 1%, with only one of its 12 constituents in the red.

The blue-chip Nifty 50 has fallen slightly so far in 2020, and has slipped 1.2% from its Jan. 20 record intraday high, amid poorly received financial results from index heavyweights and concerns about the spreading coronavirus in China.

But India’s small- and mid-cap stocks, laggards in recent years, have enjoyed a steady rebound since the start of the year. The S&P BSE small-cap index <.SPBSMIP> has climbed 8% so far this year, while the S&P BSE <.SPBSMIP> has advanced 4%.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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