Indian stocks extend gains, marginally up at Wednesday opening bell

Public TV English
Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: Indian stock indices extended their gains from the previous to marginally rise at the opening bell Wednesday, tracking its US peers and a relative decline in retail inflation back home.

At 9.30 am, Sensex was at 73,802.44 points, up 134.48 points or 0.18 per cent, and Nifty was at 22,343.70 points, up 8.00 points or 0.036 per cent. Among the widely-tracked Nifty 50 stocks, 18 advanced with ITC leading the most with over 5 per cent gains, and the rest 32 declined with Power Grid dipping the most, NSE data showed.

The broader market indices continue to hover near the all-time highs they touched late last week. The indices had been firm tracking firmness in most sectoral indices coupled with overall stable macroeconomic parameters. Sensex last Wednesday crossed the 74,000 mark for the first time.

Foreign portfolio investors who had aggressively sold Indian stocks and turned net sellers in the Indian equity market in January 2024 became net buyers in February and March. This has also likely buoyed the stocks of late. So far in March, they bought stocks in India worth Rs 26,358 crore, the latest data from the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) showed.

Retail inflation in India eased a tad in February to 5.09 per cent from 5.10 per cent the prior month, due to the deceleration of prices in all categories except food. Within food inflation, protein items (meat, egg) inflation increased exorbitantly (in the range of 400-500 basis points) in February month as compared to January.

The retail inflation in India though is in RBI’s 2-6 per cent comfort level but is above the ideal 4 per cent scenario. According to an SBI Research report, a spatial heatmap showed that the largest weighted contribution to the current reading of retail inflation came from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

“Based on all the scenarios, the current repo rate at 6.5 per cent, looks ideal. We can expect the first rate cut only in Q2FY25,” SBI Research added.

Barring the recent pauses, the RBI has raised the repo rate by 250 basis points cumulatively to 6.5 per cent since May 2022 in the fight against inflation. Raising interest rates is a monetary policy instrument that typically helps suppress demand in the economy, thereby helping the inflation rate decline. (ANI)

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