India Sensex Set for Biggest Two-Week Gain Since Start of Year

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(Bloomberg) — Indian stocks advanced, with the benchmark index set for its biggest two-week gain this year amid optimism that budget measures and central bank policy will boost demand for goods and services.

The S&P added 0.2% as of 10:03 a.m. in Mumbai, taking its gains in the past two weeks to more than 4%. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also climbed 0.2% today.

Personal income tax changes proposed in the federal budget earlier this month were followed by the central bank’s steps to relax bad-loan rules for some small borrowers and easing reserve requirements for some lending. The measures aim to help ease a slump in consumer demand in an economy that is poised to grow at its slowest pace in a decade.

Of the 48 Nifty companies that have announced results so far, 21 have either met or exceeded analyst estimates. Crude producer Oil and Corp Ltd. is scheduled to announce results today, the last day for company earnings. Yes Bank Ltd. has postponed its results until March 14 as it negotiates with potential investors for raising funds.

Strategist View

“The overbearing factors like the budget proposals, central policy measures and globally, coronavirus are at this time, far more influential than the earnings for companies,” said Sanjay Sinha, who helps manage funds at Mumbai-based Citrus Advisors. “Investors are assessing the impact of these factors.”

The Numbers

  • All 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a gauge of telecom companies
  • Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd contributed the most to the Sensex advance, increasing 0.9%, while Bharti Airtel had the largest gain, rising 1.2%
  • Vodafone (LON:) Idea Ltd jumped as much as 21% ahead of a top court’s verdict on the company’s plea for more time to pay past dues to the government
  • Page Industries Ltd. declined as much as 8.1% after its 3Q revenue missed estimates

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