Home >Markets >Stock Markets >Indian equities expected to be in range; Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel to be in focus

Mumbai: Indian stock markets may continue to be in a range on Friday even as global peers rose. Asian equities gained after S&P 500 index hit a new record closing high. However, investor sentiment remained fragile following weak data from China and Germany, which reinforced concerns of a slowing global economy.

Early in the Asian trading day, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.34%. Japan's Nikkei advanced 0.58% and Australian shares climbed up 0.53%.

On the currency front, the safe-haven yen weakened, with the dollar rising 0.11% to buy 108.50 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.1021 and the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals was flat at 98.163.

Higher US Treasury yields also indicated a slight risk-on tone in the Asian session, with the 10-year yield rising to 1.8307% from a US close of 1.815% on Thursday.

The policy-sensitive two-year yield rose to 1.6036% from 1.593% on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the risk of the US economy facing a dramatic bust is remote.

A Reuters poll of more than 100 economists showed that while concerns have eased over a recession in the US, few see an economic rebound, and most believe a trade truce is unlikely in the coming year.

Global sentiment has been buffeted in recent weeks by conflicting assessments of progress in talks between the US and China over ending their 16-month-long trade war.

On Thursday, China's commerce ministry said the two countries are holding "in-depth" discussions on a first phase trade agreement, and that cancelling tariffs is an important condition to reaching a deal. China has also ended a nearly five-year ban on imports of US poultry meat, which the US Trade Representative said would lead to more than $1 billion in annual shipments to China.

These developments followed comments from officials from both countries last week that they had a deal to roll back tariffs, only to have US President Donald Trump deny that any such deal was not agreed to.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.01% 27,781.96 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.04% to 8,479.02.

European shares also fell after data showed the German economy grew just 0.1% in the third quarter ending September, with consumer spending helping the country to avoid a mild contraction.

Back home, telecom stocks will be in focus today. Vodafone Idea Ltd and Bharti Airtel Ltd have posted record losses in the July-September, ravaged by an unfavourable Supreme Court verdict that upheld the government’s broader definition of adjusted gross revenue on which it calculates levies on telecom operators.

Vodafone Idea’s loss for the September quarter widened to 50,922 crore from 4,874 crore in the year earlier, as it set aside money to pay dues to the government following last month’s adverse court order. The company’s loss is roughly five times its revenue from operations, which fell to 10,844 crore in the September quarter from 11,270 crore in the year-ago period.

Rival Bharti Airtel too posted a massive loss, its highest and second quarterly loss in 14 years, amid a brutal price war unleashed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd that has reshaped India’s telecom market.

India and China said a new committee, headed by senior ministers, will meet at the earliest and discuss ways to pare the $53-billion trade deficit between the two countries. The announcement follows a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Brasilia on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the 11th Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa, or Brics, summit.

The government has so far mopped up 6 trillion or less than 50% of the total tax collection target of 13.35 trillion for the current fiscal, according to a Mint report. Efforts are being made to achieve the target set in the Budget, Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman PC Mody said.

In commodity markets, US crude prices rebounded after sliding on Thursday due to rising US crude inventories. US West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was 0.37% higher at $56.98 a barrel.

Gold retreated from gains prompted by trade uncertainty. Spot gold was last trading at $1,466.98 per ounce, down 0.27%.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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