Thursday, 18 January 2018

Sensex Crosses 35000 as govt Moves to Contain Fiscal Deficit

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Indian stocks crossed new milestones on Wednesday on hopes of a corporate earnings recovery and the government’s effort to limit a fiscal slippage in the current financial year. However, high crude oil prices and interest rate hikes by foreign central banks remain key risks to the rally.

The BSE’s benchmark Sensex closed at 35,081.82 points, up 310.77 points, or 0.89%, crossing the 35,000-point mark for the first time. The National Stock Exchange’s Nifty ended at 10,788.55 points, up 88.10 points, or 0.82%.

Early on Wednesday, the government pared its additional borrowing programme in the year to 31 March to Rs20,000 crore from the Rs50,000 crore it announced last month, giving investors hope that the fiscal slippage will be contained. The fiscal deficit reached 112% of the full-year budget in November. Investors have also been fretful that the government may stray off the fiscal consolidation path in the 1 February budget, its last before the 2019 general elections.

The abatement of some of these worries, along with optimism of an earnings recovery, continued to pull in money. Analysts are expecting the first signs of a rebound in corporate earnings growth in the December quarter owing to the favourable effect of a low base a year ago and higher consumer spending in the festive season.

Those expectations have overriden concerns over high valuations. Currently, the Sensex is trading at 20.39 times expected earnings for the next 12 months.

“High valuations will be justified once economic revival and earnings growth start catching up,” said Dhiraj Sachdev, who helps manage Rs11,252 crore at HSBC Asset Management.

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