Domestic stock markets recovered early losses shrugging off weakness in Asian peers. The Sensex rose as much as 90.41 points to touch 36,154.22, and the Nifty moved to 10,895.75, up 32.25 points from the previous close. Advances in auto, metal and energy stocks outweighed weakness in information technology counters. Meanwhile, the rupee edged higher to 70.81 against the US dollar in early trade, from its previous close of 70.92 against the greenback.
At 11:14 am, the Sensex traded 65.57 points higher at 36,129.38 while the Nifty was up 27.65 points at 10,891.15.
Top gainers on the 50-scrip benchmark index at the time were Tata Motors, Indiabulls Housing Finance, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Hero MotoCorp, trading between 3.16 per cent and 8.87 per cent higher.
Activity in the country’s services sector likely accelerated, with the Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index rising to 52.5 in February from January’s 52.2.
That marked a reading above the 50 mark – indicating growth – for a ninth straight month. The likely pickup was partly due to an increase in domestic new business which induced firms to maintain a solid hiring pace.
On the other hand, the Nifty IT – a sectoral index on the National Stock Exchange comprising IT counters – fell as much as 0.75 per cent. Heavyweights Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys declined as much as 0.75 per cent and 0.82 per cent respectively.
Equities in other Asian markets stepped back on Tuesday with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipping 0.2 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei falling 0.3 per cent. China cut its growth target for this year to 6.0 from 6.5 per cent, in line with expectations, and pledged measures to support the economy amid growing challenges from rising debt, and a trade dispute with the US.
The US trade chief’s office said that Washington intends to scrap the preferential trade status granted to India and Turkey. India has failed to provide assurances that it would allow required market access, while Turkey is “sufficiently economically developed” that it no longer qualifies, it added.
The Sensex added 0.54 per cent and the Nifty climbed 0.67 per cent in the past week. During this period, official data showed the country’s GDP growth slowed to 6.6 per cent in the quarter ended December 31, 2018, the slowest rate recorded since the quarter ended September 2017.
Even as the global economy will further weaken in 2019 and 2020, India’s economy will grow at 7.3 per cent in both the calendar years as it is less exposed to the global slowdown, according to US-based ratings agency Moody’s.
Pointing at downside risks to global growth and slowing of the monetary policy normalisation in 2019, it said the world economy weakened significantly in the fourth quarter of 2018 and will continue to weaken throughout 2019 and 2020.