Mumbai: Markets rose on Wednesday as power utilities gained after a proposed tariff hike in New Delhi, while infrastructure stocks such as Bhel advanced on hopes for a renewed push by the government to increase investment in the sector.
Sentiment was also boosted after Deutsche Bank upgraded Indian stocks to “overweight” from “neutral,” calling them close to the cheapest in two decades. The action followed a J.P.Morgan upgrade to the same rating last week.
However, investors remain cautious ahead of the expiry of derivatives on Thursday, and ahead of a European Union summit starting on the same day that is expected to deliver little in terms of meaningful action on the euro zone debt crisis.
“People are expecting the announcement of new finance minister soon. If the Prime Minister keeps the position, it can be a boost to markets in terms of stalled infrastructure projects and other reforms,” said K. Alex Mathews, head of research at Geogit BNP Paribas.
The main 30-share BSE index rose 0.36% to 16,967.76 points, a second consecutive day of mild gains.
The broader 50-share NSE index added 0.41% to 5,141.90 points.
Hopes about Singh’s commitment to infrastructure have been raised after he assumed an additional role as acting finance minister after previous incumbent Manmohan Singh stepped down on Tuesday.
Markets made gains on Wednesday led by utilities and an initial rally in infrastructure stocks. Mint’s Lisa Pallavai Barbora takes us through the day’s action.
The Prime Minister Office had been actively involved in pushing ahead with major transport and power projects this year, convening a meeting of relevant ministries.
Bhel gained 0.6%, while Reliance Infrastructure rose 2.02%.
Power utilities were also among the day’s leading gainers after Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission proposed a 24% hike in power tariffs for household consumers in New Delhi and a 19.5% hike for commercial consumers.
Reliance Infrastructure rose 2%, while Tata Power added 2.2%.
State-run power sector lenders advanced on expectations utilities would be better placed to pay back their loan commitments. Power Finance Corp gained 5.2%, while Rural Electrification Corp added 4%.
Strides Arcolab gained 2.7% after the company said it had redeemed $80 million of outstanding foreign currency convertible bonds, removing a key concern for investors.
However, among under-performers, State Bank of India ended flat% after Morgan Stanley maintained its “underperform” rating on the stock, expressing concerns about asset quality pressures after meeting with management.
Also See | Maintaining an edge (PDF)
PDF by Sandeep Bhatnagar/Mint