India's stock market rally continued on Friday after the Sensex rose to a record level the previous day, driven by technology and financial stocks, as Asia’s third-largest economy rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic.
The BSE Sensex gained about 0.034 per cent to settle at 62,293.64 at the close of trading on Friday, slightly above the record the previous day, while the Nifty 50 Index added 0.16 per cent to close at 18,512.75.
The BSE Sensex is up about 5.3 per cent since the start of the year while the Nifty 50 Index has also gained about 5 per cent in the same period.
Reliance, Wipro, Axis Bank, IndusInd bank, Tech Mahindra, HDFC Life and Tata Motors were among the top gainers on Friday.
“Many favourable factors have come together to push the benchmark indices to record highs,” VK Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at India-based Geojit Financial Services, told The National.
“The FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] minutes indicating smaller rate increases by the Fed, the sharp correction in crude, FIIs [Foreign Institutional Investors] turning buyers, reports of impressive credit growth and rising capital expenditure … all have combined together to trigger the ongoing rally in the market,” he said.
Oil prices, which have hit record levels this year amid Ukraine conflict, have eased over the past few weeks due to demand concerns as China, the world’s top importer of crude, continued to enforce lockdowns in a number of cities to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Brent, the benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, was up 1.32 per cent at $86.47 a barrel at 1.54pm UAE time, while West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, rose 1.89 per cent to $79.41 a barrel.
“The Indian benchmark indices surged, boosted by IT [information technology] and financial stocks, including Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank,” said Arun Leslie, chief market analyst at Century Financial.
“Additionally, the rupee's decline against the US dollar will benefit Indian IT firms that rely on outsourcing and services. The banking and financial sector are also expected to outperform the markets as the credit growth has surpassed pre-Covid levels.”
The latest stock market rally comes at a time when India's economy is continuing to recover from the pandemic.
The economy is forecast to grow by 6.8 per cent in 2022 and 6.1 per cent next year, after expanding 8.7 per cent in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund.
“India continues to be one of the few markets globally which have a strong gross domestic product growth outlook,” said Rupen Rajguru, head of equity investment and strategy at Julius Baer India.
“Despite small downgrades in the earnings for the second quarter of financial year 2023, the outlook on the corporate earnings … is positive,” he said.
Indian equity markets have “remained resilient”, despite Ukraine conflict, the US Federal Reserve interest rate increase and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, Mr Rajguru said.
The participation of Indians in stock purchases has also gone up, boosting the equities market in the world’s second-most populous country, said Rahul Agarwal, founder of Aventure Advisers, a financial consultancy based in Mumbai.
“In India, domestic participation in the stock market has been historically very low. Post-Covid, this has changed, with more people showing interest in stocks,” he said.
The Indian manufacturing sector is also booming as countries look for alternative places to set up their operations amid tighter Covid regulations in China.
“[The] international market is looking at India. They want to have a substitute or an alternative to China as far as manufacturing is concerned … a lot of FDI is flowing into the country, supporting growth,” Mr Agarwal said.