Indian stocks rise slightly as IT gains offset losses in financials


People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

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BENGALURU, March 3 (Reuters) – Indian stocks edged higher on Thursday as gains in information technology stocks offset losses in financials, while surging crude prices on supply disruptions caused by Russian sanctions has subdued investor confidence.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) rose 0.15% to 16,631.60 at 0540 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) rose 0.16% to 55,555.95.

The Nifty Metals Index (.NIFTYMET), Energy Index (.NIFTYENR) and IT Index (.NIFTYIT) were among the top performers, rising more than 1% each.

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Among the declines were the Nifty financial services index (.NIFTYFIN) and the private banking index (.NIFPVTBNK), both down 0.26% and 0.42%, respectively.

Most of the country’s Asian peers also made gains after US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the central bank would start raising interest rates “cautiously” at its next meeting in March. . Read more

“Powell’s remark about not adding to the uncertainty is an affirmation that rate hikes will not disrupt the market,” said VK Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

India’s economy will, however, be under pressure from expensive oil in the short term, he added.

Oil prices extended their rally on Thursday as trade disruptions and transportation issues related to Russian sanctions over the Ukraine crisis raised supply concerns. Read more

Rising crude prices will accelerate inflation in India, the world’s third-largest crude importer, while widening the country’s current account deficit.

Indian stocks in February marked their fifth consecutive month of outflows, as foreign investors sold $4.74 billion worth of shares, according to Refinitiv data. Read more

The Nifty and Sensex fell more than 3% last month, dragged down by geopolitical tensions, inflation concerns, cash outflows and expected rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

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Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Anil D’Silva

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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