Indian stock markets are expected to stay in a range on Thursday as investors remain cautious with corporate earnings for July-September underway. Global stocks barely moved on Thursday as soft US retail sales data raised concerns about the health of the world’s largest economy and risk of global recession.
Both MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan and Japan's Nikkei were little changed in early trade, while US stock futures lost 0.15%.
The S&P 500 shed 0.20% the previous day after data showed US retail sales contracted in September for the first time in seven months, in a potential sign that manufacturing-led weakness could be spreading to the broader economy.
Given US consumption has been one of few remaining bright spots in the global economy, the data fanned worries about a global recession.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that US and Chinese trade negotiators were working on nailing down phase-1 of the trade deal text for their presidents to sign next month. But he also said there were no plans for another high-level meeting on the trade deal outlined last week.
Back home, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said more reforms are on the anvil this fiscal to boost growth as fresh economic data and subdued corporate earnings point to a deeper economic downturn.
Promoters of bankrupt real estate firm HDIL Ltd have written to the Reserve Bank of India and other agencies to sell their assets and repay loans owed to Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC).
Mindtree shares will be eyed as the company announced its September quarter results on Tuesday. Its revenues were up 3.2% quarter-on-quarter in constant currency terms and up 11.1% year-on-year. Ebitda margins improved to 12.9% in Q2FY20 from about 10% in Q1FY20. Ebitda is earnings before, interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. These numbers were broadly in-line with what analysts had estimated for the second quarter.
In the currency market, soft US retail sales took the shine off the dollar. The dollar index fell 0.30% on Wednesday and last stood at 97.964, having touched its lowest since 27 August. Against the yen, the dollar slipped to 108.73 yen, after peaking at 108.90 on Tuesday.
The euro stood at $1.1075, up 0.04% so far in Asia, near a one-month high of $1.1085 hit in US trade on Wednesday.
Sterling traded at $1.2823, having risen to as high as $1.2877 on Wednesday, its loftiest level since mid-May. It has risen more than 5% in the past five sessions on the prospect that the UK and the European Union can strike a fresh deal to avoid a no-deal exit in the summit on Thursday and Friday.
The Turkish lira steadied off seven-week lows as US President Donald Trump’s sanctions for Turkey’s military incursion into Syria were perceived to be lighter than expected.
Oil prices eased after US data showed a larger-than-expected build in US crude stocks. Brent crude futures fell 0.82% to $58.93 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 1.01% to $52.82 per barrel.
(Reuters contributed to the story)