Russia-Ukraine crisis shakes Indian markets, poses threat to financial stability - Business Guardian
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Russia-Ukraine crisis shakes Indian markets, poses threat to financial stability

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Russia-Ukraine conflict rattled the Indian equities markets on Thursday with key indices crashing by nearly five per cent, erasing over Rs 13 lakh crore of investors’ wealth in a day. Extreme volatility was witnessed in all asset classes in India after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised military troops to carry out attacks against Ukraine.

Oil price soared to over $105 a barrel, the highest level in nearly eight years in the international markets.
In the currency market, the Indian rupee plunged 102 paise to end at 75.63 against a US dollar.
The Indian stock market’s benchmark Sensex crashed 2,702 points or 4.72 per cent. This is the fourth-worst fall ever in an absolute term in the Sensex. The index suffered a loss of 2,850 points in the intra-day.
The broader Nifty 50 of the National Stock Exchange dipped 815.30 points or 4.78 per cent to 16,247.95 points.
This led to massive erosion in the investors’ wealth. The market capitalisation of the BSE-listed companies dipped to Rs 242.24 lakh crore. It suffered a loss of nearly Rs 13 lakh crore in a day.

Investors tried to take refuge in bullion. Gold price surged by nearly 3 per cent to Rs 51,750 per 10 gram while silver price soared by over 3 per cent to Rs 66,556 per kg at the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) in Mumbai. This is the highest level of gold and silver price in more than a year. Gold and silver prices have surged by more than 8 per cent so far this month.
In the international market, spot gold price surged by 1.9 per cent to $1,943.86 per ounce, the highest level since January 2021. US gold futures jumped by nearly 2 per cent to $1,949.20 per ounce.

Stock markets are bleeding across the world after Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
While the Indian stocks and commodities markets have already felt the tremors, the conflict in the Russia-Ukraine region is set to have huge implications on India’s financial stability.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday the rising crude oil prices amid escalating Ukraine-Russia tensions pose threat to India’s financial stability and the government is closely monitoring the situation.
“It is difficult to say how it will go. Even today, in the FSDC, when we were looking at the challenges which are posed for the financial stability, crude was one of the things,” Sitharaman said after chairing a meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) in Mumbai.
One matter of comfort is that India buys very little oil and gas from Russia. Less than one per cent of Russia’s crude oil exports come to India. So, no immediate disruption in supply of fossil fuel is expected.
However, the disruptions in supplies from Russia will further push the crude oil prices in the international markets. This will severely disrupt India’s financial calculations.

According to former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis would not be limited to just oil and gas. It will impact various other essential commodities.
Apart from fossil fuels, India is also heavily dependent on imports to meet the demands for edible oil. The conflict in the Russia-Ukraine region is also likely to lead to a significant jump in edible oil prices in the international markets.
This will widen India’s trade deficit and worsen inflationary pressure.
High crude oil and other commodities prices will upset the government’s Budget math, presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Sitharaman on February 1, 2022.

The Economic Survey has assumed crude-oil prices at $70-75 per barrel. The budget calculations are based on this. If the oil price remains above $100 a barrel, it will considerably upset the Budget math, be it financial and revenue deficits, inflation or GDP growth.
JPMorgan Chase & Co earlier this week had said that the oil prices are likely to average $110 a barrel in the second quarter 2022 calendar year due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The bank had further said that the crude market is likely to see sustained higher prices in the next quarter, before retreating to an average of $90 at the end of the year.

According to brokerage firm ICICI Securities, the Russia-Ukraine conflict will have two-fold impacts on the Indian economy. “Higher crude oil prices will keep CPI inflation higher for longer, obliging the RBI to raise rates more than the two hikes we expected in August-December 2022 unless the government sharply cuts excise duties on petrol and diesel to contain fuel inflation,” ICICI Securities said in a note. (ANI)

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Markets

BSE market capitalization soars past Rs 400 trillion mark amid record-breaking Nifty and Sensex

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The market capitalization of BSE-listed companies hit a historic milestone, surpassing Rs 401.10 trillion on Monday morning, driven by a remarkable rally in equities. This marks the first instance of BSE-listed companies crossing the coveted Rs 400 trillion mark, fuelled by the 30-share BSE Sensex scaling its lifetime peak.

The Sensex benchmark surged by 425.62 points, reaching a new record high of 74,673.84 in early trade. This surge propelled the market capitalization of BSE-listed firms to an unprecedented Rs 4,01,16,018.89 crore ($4.81 trillion).

This achievement comes on the heels of the market capitalization hitting the Rs 300 trillion mark in July last year. Notable gainers from the Sensex basket included Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti, Tata Steel, Bajaj Finserv, Power Grid, Reliance Industries, Axis Bank, and JSW Steel, while Wipro, Nestle, HDFC Bank, and Bajaj Finance lagged behind.

In the global context, Asian markets witnessed mixed performances, with Seoul and Tokyo trading positively, while Shanghai and Hong Kong quoted lower. Wall Street ended on a positive note on Friday.

Meanwhile, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) injected Rs 1,659.27 crore into equities on Friday, as per exchange data. Additionally, the global oil benchmark Brent crude witnessed a 1.36 percent decline, settling at $89.93 a barrel.

Indian benchmark indices soared to all-time highs during the trading session, with the Nifty touching a peak of 22,697.30 and the Sensex reaching 74,869.30 points. By the end of the trading session, the Nifty closed at 22,666.30, up by 152.60 points, while the Sensex closed at 74,742.50, surging by 494.28 points.

Market experts like Ajay Bagga attribute the bullish trend in Indian markets to domestic inflows, strong macroeconomic indicators, and expectations of policy continuity. Sector-wise, Nifty Auto, Nifty Realty, and Nifty Metal witnessed notable gains, while the Nifty PSU Bank index experienced a decline.

Globally, equities saw an upward momentum as oil prices retreated from recent highs, and European stocks displayed mixed performances. The surge in spot gold prices to a new record high at USD 2,353.80 an ounce indicates investor interest in safe-haven assets amidst market uncertainties.

The unprecedented milestone in market capitalization reflects the resilience and optimism in the Indian equity market, driven by both domestic and global factors.

Furthermore, the rally in auto stocks was fueled by positive growth in auto sales, as reported by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), indicating a sustained recovery in the sector. The broader market witnessed a mixed trend, with the BSE MidCap index edging up by 0.26 percent and the SmallCap index experiencing a slight decline of 0.06 percent.

Sector-wise, Nifty Auto surged over 2 percent, followed by gains in Nifty Realty (up 1.32 percent) and Nifty Metal (up 1 percent). However, the Nifty PSU Bank index saw a decline of 0.86 percent.

Globally, equities displayed upward momentum as oil prices retreated from recent highs. European stocks showed mixed performances, with the STOXX 600 up by 0.05 percent, Germany’s DAX rising by 0.38 percent, and the UK’s FTSE 100 slightly lower by 0.19 percent. In the US, S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures dipped by 0.2 percent.

Spot gold reached a new record high at USD 2,353.80 an ounce, reflecting investor interest in safe-haven assets amid market uncertainties. The recent surge in oil prices due to geopolitical tensions eased following progress in truce talks in the Middle East, contributing to Brent crude’s decline to USD 90.20 a barrel.

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Stock Markets brace for Holiday shortened week amid Global cues

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According to analysts, global trends, macroeconomic data releases, and the commencement of the earnings season will be the primary factors influencing equity markets during a shortened trading week due to the observance of Eid-Ul-Fitr, which will result in market closure on Thursday. Additionally, market direction will be influenced by the trading behavior of foreign investors, trends in the rupee-dollar exchange rate, and movements in crude oil prices.

“Indian companies are set to enter a new corporate earnings Q4 season this week. Leading the pack is IT services giant TCS, set to kick off the earnings season for the quarter ending March 2024.

“Its results for the fourth quarter of FY24 will be announced on April 12, 2024, after market trading hours. Apart from that India’s industrial production data will also be announced on 12th April 2024. On the same day, inflation for March will be declared,” said Santosh Meena, Head of Research, Swastika Investmart Ltd.

Investors will closely monitor the movement of the rupee against the dollar, crude oil prices, and investment activities of Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs), Meena added.

Last week, the BSE benchmark climbed 596.87 or 0.81 percent. It hit an all-time high of 74,501.73 on April 4.

“The outlook for the market will be guided by major global and domestic economic data, India’s CPI data and IIP, US consumer inflation, US business optimism index, US initial jobless claims and ECB (European Central Bank) interest rate decision,” Arvinder Singh Nanda, Senior Vice President, of Master Capital Services Ltd, said.

Ajit Mishra, SVP – Technical Research, Religare Broking Ltd, said this week marks the beginning of the earnings season and the focus will be on the IT majors to start with.

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4 of top-10 valued firms add Rs 1.71 lakh crore to mcap; HDFC Bank, LIC lead gainers

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Four of the top 10 most valued firms witnessed a notable surge in their market capitalization, collectively adding Rs 1,71,309.28 crore. Leading this upward trend were HDFC Bank and the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), emerging as the top gainers in line with the overall positive sentiment in the equity market. Conversely, six companies within the top 10 pack experienced a combined decrease of Rs 78,127.48 crore in their market valuation, with Reliance Industries being the primary contributor to these losses.

During the week, the BSE benchmark index climbed by 596.87 points or 0.81 percent, reaching an all-time high of 74,501.73 on April 4. Among the gainers from the top 10 firms were Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HDFC Bank, State Bank of India, and LIC. Meanwhile, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, Infosys, ITC, and Hindustan Unilever faced declines in their market valuation.

HDFC Bank witnessed a significant increase of Rs 76,880.74 crore, reaching a valuation of Rs 11,77,065.34 crore, while LIC added Rs 49,208.48 crore, bringing its valuation to Rs 6,27,692.77 crore. TCS observed a rise of Rs 34,733.64 crore, reaching Rs 14,39,836.02 crore in market capitalization, and State Bank of India’s valuation increased by Rs 10,486.42 crore, reaching Rs 6,82,152.71 crore.

On the other hand, Reliance Industries experienced a decline of Rs 38,462.95 crore, reaching Rs 19,75,547.68 crore in valuation. Bharti Airtel saw a decrease of Rs 21,206.58 crore, reaching Rs 6,73,831.90 crore, and ICICI Bank’s valuation dropped by Rs 9,458.25 crore, reaching Rs 7,60,084.40 crore. Infosys’ market valuation declined by Rs 7,996.54 crore to Rs 6,14,120.84 crore, ITC’s valuation dipped by Rs 873.93 crore to Rs 5,34,158.81 crore, and Hindustan Unilever’s mcap decreased by Rs 129.23 crore to Rs 5,32,816.81 crore.

Reliance Industries maintained its position as the most valued domestic firm by market valuation, followed by TCS, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Bharti Airtel, LIC, Infosys, ITC, and Hindustan Unilever.

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Sensex and Nifty soar to record highs led by private banks and IT

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On April 4, domestic stock indices, the Sensex and the Nifty, rebounded from intraday losses to close higher, bolstered by gains in private banking and technology stocks. The Sensex surged by 350.81 points or 0.47 percent to reach 74,227.63, while the Nifty climbed 80.00 points or 0.36 percent to settle at 22,514.70. Market breadth favored gainers, with around 2,337 shares advancing, 1,352 shares declining, and 115 shares remaining unchanged.

Earlier in the day, both indices had achieved all-time highs, with the Sensex hitting 74,501 and the Nifty reaching 22,619.

Analysts at ICICI Securities recommended investors to capitalize on quality stocks during dips ahead of the earnings season. They expressed optimism, projecting a gradual ascent of the Nifty towards 22,900 in the upcoming weeks. The index’s recent healthy retracement is seen as setting the stage for the next upward movement.

VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, anticipated a period of consolidation in the market in the coming days, with a focus shifting towards fourth-quarter results. Vijayakumar highlighted expectations of positive results particularly in sectors such as autos, capital goods, telecom, and select pharmaceuticals. Financial sectors are also anticipated to report robust results, despite potential net interest margin (NIM) compression. However, he cautioned that the information technology sector might witness tepid results, emphasizing that management commentary will be pivotal.

Meanwhile, broader markets saw gains, with the Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indices rising by up to 0.5 percent. India VIX, a measure of market volatility, declined over a percent to 11.2.

Sector-wise, Bank Nifty, which holds significant weightage in the benchmark Nifty, surged by over a percent, driven by strong performance from HDFC Bank. Conversely, Nifty Oil & Gas emerged as the worst-performing sector, weighed down by ONGC and Oil India. This downturn followed the Indian government’s announcement of a fifth increase in windfall tax on petroleum crude to Rs 6,800 a metric tonne from Rs 4,900 since February.

Looking ahead, market focus shifts to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy decision on April 5. Market experts anticipate a status quo in key rates, with the majority expecting the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to maintain its policy stance of withdrawing accommodation. Any alteration in the RBI’s stance will be closely monitored, with implications for potential rate actions. Other factors such as inflation trends, liquidity measures, and GDP growth targets will also be scrutinized.

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Customers retreating from mkt as gold price nears Rs 70,000 mark

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As the price of pure gold approaches the Rs 70,000 per 10-gram threshold, customers have noticeably withdrawn from the market. Within just a single month, prices in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar have surged nearly 10 percent, reaching approximately Rs 68,500 per 10 grams. The Mumbai spot market now reflects a significant discount of $15-20 per ounce or Rs 400-550 per 10 grams, a consequence of the steep price escalation within the past month.

Gold imports, which stood at approximately 100 tonnes in February, experienced a sharp decline in March, with industry estimates suggesting a mere 25 tonnes were imported. Jewellers are closely monitoring the upcoming marriage season and the demand for Akshaya Tritiya in the first week of May. While they are gearing up to meet potential demand if gold prices decrease, the fabrication of jewellery has been impacted. Additionally, the movement of gold has been constrained due to heightened vigilance during the election code of conduct.

Bhargava Vaidya, a consultant in the bullion industry, noted, “Marriage demand in India has remained steady, or perhaps slightly increased in value terms. However, with escalating prices, demand has dwindled in terms of quantity. At the current price level, this trend in demand is expected to persist.”

A decade ago, the price of gold stood at Rs 28,430 per 10 grams, marking a 141 percent increase, translating to a compounding annual return of 9.2 percent. This substantial return is reshaping market demand. Surendra Mehta, National Secretary of the Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association, acknowledged the current trend of customers staying away from the market, stating, “The preference for jewellery is gradually shifting towards coins, bars, and other gold investment avenues.”

This shift is particularly noticeable in the preference of men over women in gold investment. Although jewellery still holds a higher share in total demand, sovereign gold bonds and exchange-traded funds have emerged as viable alternatives for gold investors. With rising prices affecting demand in terms of quantity, low-caratage jewellery is now preferred. Mehta anticipates a cascading effect of the record-high prices in the future, suggesting that “more and more people will view gold as an investment avenue, thereby reinstating its status as a store of value.”

Vaidya echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of gold in investment portfolios amidst price fluctuations of 10-15 percent. He recommends investors allocate 10-15 percent of their portfolio to gold.

The upcoming Akshaya Tritiya in May is poised to be a significant event for gold demand. Jewellers are preparing to reduce their jewellery stocks during this period, hoping for a moderation in prices beforehand. Market insiders speculate that customers might return if international gold prices retreat to around $2,100.

The high prices are posing challenges for jewellers in various ways. Speaking anonymously, a prominent jeweller revealed that the stock of gold jewellery across national stores is estimated to be around 300-400 tonnes, significantly increasing their inventory costs compared to a decade ago when it was only 100 tonnes. This surge in inventory is attributed to the expansion of retail chains. Traditionally, demand has been centered around 22-carat jewellery, but high prices may prompt a shift towards 18-carat jewellery. There’s even a possibility of increased demand for 14-carat jewellery. In light of these circumstances, the demand during Akshaya Tritiya will be pivotal for jewellers.

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Top 7 firms gain Rs 67,259.99 cr in market cap; Reliance leads

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The combined market valuation of seven of the 10 most valued firms climbed Rs 67,259.99 crore in a holiday-shortened last week, with Reliance Industries emerging as the biggest gainer, amid an overall optimistic trend in equities. Last week, the BSE benchmark climbed 819.41 points or 1.12 per cent. Markets saw just three trading sessions last week, as they were closed on Monday for Holi and Good Friday on 29 March. The valuation of Reliance Industries jumped Rs 45,262.59 crore to reach Rs 20,14,010.63 crore.

State Bank of India added Rs 5,533.26 crore, taking its market valuation to Rs 6,71,666.29 crore. The valuation of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) climbed Rs 5,218.12 crore to Rs 5,78,484.29 crore, and that of ICICI Bank advanced Rs 4,132.67 crore to Rs 7,69,542.65 crore. The market capitalization (mcap) of HDFC Bank went up by Rs 4,029.69 crore to Rs 11,00,184.60 crore, and that of Hindustan Unilever climbed Rs 2,819.51 crore to Rs 5,32,946.04 crore.

ITC added Rs 264.15 crore, taking its mcap to Rs 5,35,032.74 crore. However, the mcap of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) declined by Rs 10,691.45 crore to Rs 14,05,102.38 crore, and that of Infosys went lower by Rs 4,163.13 crore to Rs 6,22,117.38 crore. Bharti Airtel’s valuation dipped by Rs 3,817.18 crore to Rs 6,95,038.48 crore. Reliance Industries continued to rule the chart of the most valued firms, followed by TCS, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, State Bank of India, Infosys, LIC, ITC and Hindustan Unilever.

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