Indian stock markets are expected to remain subdued on Thursday tracking weakness in global peers as the US Federal Reserve has indicated that there may no rate cuts going ahead due to a global slowdown.
Asian equities fell to six-week lows on Thursday and the dollar rose after the US Federal Reserve delivered a 25-basis-point rate cut as expected but doused hope of a lengthy easing cycle.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid 0.4%, extending losses for a fifth day to the lowest since mid-June. Japan’s Nikkei also fell 0.4%. South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.5%, while Australian shares declined 0.3%.
Speaking at a news conference after the release of the US central bank’s statement, Fed chief Jerome Powell termed the rate cut as “a mid-cycle adjustment to policy", citing signs of a global slowdown, simmering trade tensions and a desire to boost too-low inflation. Markets took that as a sign that further sharp cuts were unlikely anytime soon.
Overnight, the Dow and the Nasdaq lost 1.2% each, while the S&P 500 declined 1.1%. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe slipped to a five-week low.
Back home, shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd are likely to be in focus. Ahead of a September deadline, Subhash Chandra’s Essel group has agreed to sell an 11% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) for ₹4,224 crore to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, as controlling shareholders of the broadcaster attempt to pay off debts.
In macro-economy news, eight infrastructure sectors, accounting for 40.27% of the index of industrial production (IIP), was almost flat (0.2%) in June, paving the way for another round of policy rate cut by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India during its meeting on 7 August. Data released by the Controller General of Accounts showed that the central government exhausted 61.4% of its full-year fiscal deficit target during the first quarter (April-June) of the fiscal. This compares with 68.7% during the same period a year ago.
Companies that will announce June quarter earnings are Bharti Airtel, Tata Power Company, Marico, Godrej Consumer Products, Ceat, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and ICRA among others.
Auto stocks will also be in focus as monthly sales number will be released by the manufacturing companies.
Meanwhile, US Treasuries reacted to Powell’s remarks by flattening the yield curve as the front-end of the market scaled back prior expectation of at least a 100 basis points of easing in the near-term.
Further hurting sentiment, the US and China ended a round of meetings without much progress on their ongoing tariff war.
In currency market, the dollar rose against the euro and Antipodean currencies on expectation that monetary policies in Europe, Australia and New Zealand will remain accommodative. The dollar index finished July 2.5% higher. The common currency hit a more than two-year trough of $1.1058 overnight and was last at $1.1061.
Against the Japanese yen, the dollar broke above 109 to jump to its highest since end-May.
In commodities, crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday for the fifth straight day, buoyed by a bigger-than-expected drop in US inventories, but a stronger dollar helped bring prices down from the session’s high in post settlement trading. US crude futures fell more than $1 to $57.56 per barrel. Brent was down $1.10 at $63.95.
Spot gold made a new two-week trough on Thursday after falling to 1,399.75.
(Reuters contributed to the story)