Market round-up: Concerns over Trump dent stocks, dollar
In other news, rail freight volume expands for fourth month, office rentals jump in Navi Mumbai
Concern that US President Donald Trump’s reform agenda could be slowed down, and that Trump himself could even face the threat of impeachment, added to disappointing US economic data on Wednesday to hit the dollar and spur a pullback from richly valued stocks. Reports that Trump asked then-FBI director James Comey to end a probe into his former national security adviser have raised questions over whether obstruction of justice charges could be laid against the president. So far, broadly upbeat global growth has underpinned risky assets and supported the multi-year lows in measures of market volatility. But the retreat in the dollar, which has now given up all the gains it made following Trump’s presidential election win in November, and a pullback from record highs for world stocks point to investor unease about this week’s headlines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 278.59 points, or 1.33%, to 20,701.16 points, the S&P 500 had lost 31.89 points, or 1.33%, to 2,368.78 points. At nearly 18 times forward earnings, the S&P 500 trades at a significant premium to its long-term average valuations of 15 times, according to Thomson Reuters data. The euro climbed to its highest since 7 November—just before the US presidential poll—against the dollar. reuters
Rail freight volume expands for fourth month
Freight traffic on Indian Railways expanded for the fourth consecutive month. The last time volumes expanded for such a long stretch was in 2015. Growth in April 2017 stood at 4.6%. In the previous three months, freight volumes grew in the range of 0.3-7.7%. The volume growth reflects rising demand for raw materials. Iron ore, cement and raw materials for steel plants registered impressive growth. Container freight, which includes both domestic and export-import services, increased about 9% from a year ago on a tonnage basis.
Office rentals jump in Navi Mumbai
Office rentals in Navi Mumbai rose 9% year-on-year in the March quarter, the highest for any region on a pan-India basis. Within Mumbai, rentals in the central business district (CBD) declined 4%, while those in other regions rose by about 1-2%. According to property consultant JLL India, availability of parking spaces, good and growing infrastructure connectivity in the new micro-markets, and proximity to residential tenements has encouraged migration of business process outsourcing and some industrial outfits. Despite the rise, Navi Mumbai still has the most affordable rent among all micro markets, even as CBD is losing sheen due to factors such as aging buildings and heritage regulations that prevent refurbishment of offices, adds JLL India.