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Worst weekly performance witnessed since Aug. 2013; negative global cues may hamper sentiments…

The benchmark indices fell for a fourth straight session on Friday, extending their weekly losses to over 2.5 per cent. This was the worst weekly performance for the Indian markets since August 2013. The second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers showing a revival in the economy did little to dispel concerns over a widening fiscal deficit.

The BSE benchmark Sensex dived 316 points, or 0.95 per cent, to close below the 33,000-mark, while the broader NSE Nifty declined 104.75 points to 10,121.80. The India VIX index shot up 10 per cent to 14.8 from the previous week’s close of 13, indicating more turbulence in the week ahead.

FII activity

FIIs sold US$ 180 million on T-5 days in India. A similar trend was also seen in other EMs. South Korea and Taiwan saw outflows totalling over US$1.2 billion each.

Indonesia also saw outflows exceeding US$4 600 million. As we approach the end of 2017, fresh allocation of FIIs in EMs seems to be diminishing.

A look at FII action in the F&O segment suggests some bearish bets by them. In the index future segment, there was short creation of US$190 million.

In the stock future segment, they liquidated longs over US$ 640 million each. At the same time, in the index options segment, there was buying of over US$470 million.

Global markets

US Senate passes $1.4 trn tax bill after last-minute scramble. Republicans touted the package as one that would benefit people of all incomes and ignite the economy. Even an official projection of a $1 trillion, 10-year flood of deeper budget deficits couldn't dissuade nearly all GOP senators from rallying behind the bill.

Street fell on Friday, whipsawed by developments with a probe into Russia's alleged involvement in the US election as well as with progress on a tax bill in Congress. Major indexes ended lower after report that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that before taking office President Donald Trump had directed him to make contact with Russians.

The benchmark S&P 500 was down as much as 1.6 percent following the report. Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia's ambassador. But stocks recouped the bulk of their initial losses, after US Senate Republicans said they had enough support to pass a sweeping tax overhaul.

The S&P has rallied 18 percent this year, boosted by solid global economic data and strong US corporate earnings. But with investors optimistic about some aspects of Trump's domestic agenda, especially tax cuts, news involving his administration has periodically rattled markets.

In the process, the equity market continued to move higher worldwide (with the exception of China & Hong Kong). However, bond yields moved up on the back of strong GDP data and higher crude prices post the OPEC accord (likely) on extending production cut till December 2018.

Ajcon’s view

The market will keenly look for global events and also the results of Gujarat Assembly elections for further direction. It remains to be seen whether rising crude oil prices have paused or the bigger uptick is coming. Metals have entered the correction zone. The correction which has started could have a bit more to go than what the street is expecting owing to global cues, higher fiscal deficit and investors selling ahead of Gujarat Assembly elections.

We believe Q2FY18 has been better than our expectations. GST-related sectors have performed fine. We believe the market could be pricing in the huge shift seen from unbranded to branded segment post GST rollout in the consumer discretionary space. Among PSU banks, while the recap is a sentimental positive, issues on growth of the banks, among others, have to be addressed first.

Going ahead, two states are heading for polls and any adverse outcome for the ruling BJP could also mean some pullback for markets. Himachal Pradesh witnessed a record turnout. It has 68 assembly segments and currently, BJP has 29 MLAs, Congress 36 and three Independents. Now, all eyes are on Gujarat.

The Gujarat Assembly elections will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, respectively, the Election Commission (EC) announced earlier this month. 89 Assembly constituencies will vote in phase 1, while 93 will vote in phase 2. Counting of votes will take place on December 18. We believe that if BJP wins fewer seats in Gujarat than last time things could get shaky for D-Street.

We are bullish on Pharma stocks post clearance of plants of certain pharma Companies. In addition, we expect pricing pressure on pharma companies easing in the next two quarters. According to us pharma stocks are the best bet from a liitle long term perspective.

In case of IT sector, we remain positive and see value in these stocks. US corporate spending will accelerate going forward and this is a tailwind for the sector.

We recommend investors to be stock specific and consider companies with good earnings visibility at a decent valuation.

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Your friendly advisor since 1986,
Ashoka Ajmera
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