Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Stock markets may be in tight range, Vodafone Idea and Bharti shares in focus

  • Asian shares started softer as another day awaiting clearer news on the progress of US-China trade negotiations weighed on jaded investors' sentiment
  • Telecom stocks will be in focus as Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd will raise prices of their services from 1 December

Indian stock markets may continue to remain in a tight range on Tuesday.

Asian shares started Tuesday softer as another day awaiting clearer news on the progress of US-China trade negotiations weighed on jaded investors' sentiment.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.1%.Japan's Nikkei was 0.2% lower in early trade.

Optimism that an agreement between US and China could be struck before 15 December is still holding, but it is beginning to run out of puff. Wall Street's main indexes were mostly flat, looking for direction on trade, though they ended the day inching higher to record high closing levels. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.33 points, or 0.1%, to 28,036.22. The S&P 500 gained 1.57 points, or 0.05%, to 3,122.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.11 points, or 0.1%, to 8,549.94.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed down 0.01%, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares fell 0.04%.

Back home, ICICI Bank Ltd plans to raise at least 20,000 crore by selling shares to institutional investors, in the biggest such capital raising in India, as the nation’s largest private lender looks to expand lending and compete with rivals to fill in the void left by shadow lenders after a crisis engulfed the sector.

Telecom stocks will be in focus as Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd will raise prices of their services from 1 December, for the first time in more than a decade, the two companies said in separate statements on Monday. The increase comes after a prolonged period of hypercompetition in India, where telecom tariffs are the cheapest in the world. The companies did not say by how much they plan to raise tariffs.

The finance ministry said on Monday that India is on track to reach the $5 trillion target by 2025, and although the economy has slowed down, it is still projected to grow at the fastest pace among G-20 nations this year.

Meanwhile, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell overnight and steadied at 1.8152% in Asia.

Currency markets were becalmed and trading was light. Uncertainty on the trade front dented the dollar a little bit overnight, though most currencies kept to tight ranges awaiting more concrete news.

The greenback was steady against the Japanese yen in early trade at 108.67 yen and a touch stronger against the Australian and New Zealand dollars at $0.6805 and $0.6394 respectively.

The biggest mover overnight was the British pound which headed towards $1.30 as four polls showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party tracking toward victory at the 12 December election.

Sterling hit a one-month high of $1.2984 overnight, before retreating a little in early Asian trade to settle around $1.2950.

Spot gold, which has been closely tracking the fortunes of the Sino-US trade dispute was flat at $1,470.30 per ounce.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 1.6% to $62.29 a barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 lost 0.23% to $56.92 per barrel.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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