The key Indian stock indices continue to be under selling pressure in early afternoon trade, extending losses from the previous session, as market players continue to analyse the Union Budget and its impact on the domestic economy, companies and markets.
The undertone is cautious as investors are skeptical about the Government's estimates on fiscal deficit and subsidies amid stiff opposition to unpopular measures like price hikes in fuel in fertilizers.
At 12:42pm ( IST), the BSE Sensex was 17,334, down 131 points over the previous close. It had earlier touched a day’s high of 17,561 and aday’s low of 17,319. It opened at 17,531.
NSE Nifty was quoting 5,274, down 43 points over the previous close.It has earlier touched a day’s high of 5,340 and a day’s low of 5,273. It opened at 5,337.
The BSE Small-Cap and BSE Mid-Cap index was trading down 0.43% and 0.34%.
Auto, HC, FMCG, Consumer Durables and Metal indices are the gainers.
Power,Realty, Teck, IT, Bankex, PSU, Oil and Gas indices are the losers.
Also, the hike in excise duties and service tax is likely to boost prices of a whole host of products and services, putting upward pressure on inflation at a time when crude oil refuses to moderate. So, it would be interesting to see what approach the RBI adopts on interest rates at its policy meeting on April 17.
People have already scaled back their expectations of monetary easing from the RBI in light of concerns over sticky inflation, which is expected to increase in case fuel prices are hiked. The RBI may cut the repo rate by up to 50-75 bps in FY13 as against projections of 100-125 bps earlier.
Asian stock benchmarks were trading mostly higher today, as investors remain optimistic of stability in the debt-stricken eurozone and the US economy continues to inspire confidence.
South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.4%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.4%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average edged up 0.1% while China’s Shanghai Composite index rebounded to end 0.3% higher.
The Shanghai Composite consolidated today after recent strength, as investors remain on the sidelines ahead of inflation and manufacturing figures due out in the coming weeks.
In the currency markets, the rupee rose against the US dollar for a second straight day on speculation that gold imports into India will drop after the Government increased customs duty on the yellow metal.
At 12:46 pm (IST), the rupee was trading at 50.1150 per dollar after being as low as 50.20 and as high as 50.07. It opened at 50.1950 versus the previous close of 50.19.
Presenting his annual budget in parliament on March 16, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee doubled the customs duty on gold bars and coins to 4% and the excise duty on refined gold to 3%.
US stock indices closed mostly lower on Friday following a disappointing reading on consumer sentiment. But, Wall Street had a solid week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index each ending the week up 2.4%.
Crude oil futures continued their recent rally to close above $107 a barrel in New York trading on Friday.
The euro touched a four-and-a-half month high against the yen as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that European officials have discussed combining euro area bailout funds to reinforce the region’s financial firewall.
The yen traded near an 11-month low versus the dollar as Asian stocks extended a four-day rally from last week, damping demand for safe haven assets.
Crude oil prices rose in electronic trading amid optimism about global economic recovery and as US stock index futures climbed. Oil futures gained as much as 0.4% after climbing the most in more than three weeks on March 16.