Business Standard

Bulls charge on D-street as Fed signals three rate cuts

- SUNDAR SETHURAMAN Mumbai, 21 March

The domestic equity markets on Thursday rose, joining a global rally, as the US Federal Reserve projected faster than expected growth for the American economy and at the same time stuck to its plan to reduce borrowing costs.

The Sensex closed at 72,641, gaining 539 points, or 0.7 per cent. The Nifty finished at 22,012, with a gain of 173 points, or 0.8 per cent.

The market capitalisa­tion of Bse-listed firms rose ~5.7 trillion. The broader markets outperform­ed with the Nifty Smallcap 100 and Midcap 100 indices rising around 2.5 per cent each.

The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept the rates unchanged in the range 5.25-5.5 per cent, the highest since 2001, for a fifth time in a row. But they kept their outlook for three rate cuts this year. There were doubts about the outlook for rate cuts after the recent inflation. However, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell stressed that Fed officials would like to see more evidence that the inflation rate was headed toward its 2 per cent goal before they could start reducing rates this year.

“Despite the price pressure, the Fed looks relaxed, and investors interpret it as a dovish pivot. And there was probably some short covering as some were expecting,” said Andrew Holland, chief executive officer, Avendus Capital Public Markets Alternate Strategies

Metal stocks jumped, and the BSE Metals index rose 2.7 per cent. Public-sector stocks also saw a revival, and the BSE CPSE index rose 3.3 per cent. Informatio­n technology stocks, which are rate-sensitive, rose, and the Nifty IT index 0.8 per cent. Analysts termed the gains in public-sector and metal stocks a bounce-back after the recent correction.

“We recently saw a correction, and one does not know how long this will last. Public-sector stocks, especially railway stocks, have become multi-baggers, and investors will buy whenever there is a correction after a rally,” said

Ambareesh Baliga, independen­t equity analyst. According to analysts, announceme­nts on corporate earnings from next month and election-related news will determine the market trajectory in the near term.

“Between now and the elections, if global factors are positive, our markets will also rally,” said Holland.

The market breadth was favourable, with 2,749 stocks advancing and 1,076 declining.

“We expect market recovery to sustain over the next few days. Largecaps are better placed in terms of valuation comfort and growth visibility. However, volatility in the broader market cannot be ruled out,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

Barring four, all Sensex stocks declined. HDFC Bank rose 0.9 per cent and was the biggest contributo­r to Sensex gains, followed by Larsen and Toubro, which rose 1.4 per cent. NTPC, which rose 3.5 per cent, and Powergrid, which went up 3.4 per cent, were the big contributo­rs to the rise. Foreign portfolio investors were net sellers to the tune of ~1,827 crore, and domestic institutio­nal investors (DII) were net buyers worth ~3,209 crore.

“We may see some consolidat­ion now and need sustainabi­lity above 22,200 to mark any meaningful recovery. Meanwhile, participan­ts should stay stock-specific until we see clarity over the next directiona­l move and stick with the index majors and large midcaps,” said Ajit Mishra, senior vice-president (technical research), Religare Broking.

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