Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

Stock markets may consolidate; Maruti, Bharti shares in focus

  • Japan's benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.3% ,while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3%
  • Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday that a 15 December deadline is still in place to impose a new round of US tariff

Indian stock markets are expected to consolidate on Monday. Asian stocks edged up on Monday, catching some of Wall Street's momentum after surprisingly strong US jobs data, although regional gains were capped by concerns about China's economy due to the prolonged Sino-US trade war.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.3% ,while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3%. Australian stocks and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2% and 0.6%, respectively.

The modest Asian gains compared with Wall Street, which rose to near record highs on Friday on a strong jobs report and some sign of optimism about US-China trade talks, with the benchmark S&P 500 closing within 0.2% of its peak set in late November.

US jobs grew the most in 10 months in November as the healthcare industry boosted hiring and production workers at General Motors returned to work after a strike, in the strongest sign that the economy is in no danger of stalling.

Meanwhile, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday that a 15 December deadline is still in place to impose a new round of US tariffs on Chinese consumer goods, but President Donald Trump likes where trade talks with China are going. Still, investors think things could change if trade tensions escalate further, especially if Trump goes ahead with planned tariffs on some $156 billion worth products from China from mid-December.

The market has been largely working on the assumption that those tariffs, which cover several consumer products such as cellphones and toys, will be dropped or at least postponed, given that Washington and Beijing agreed in October to work on a trade deal.

Meanwhile, China's exports shrank for the fourth consecutive month in November, underscoring persistent pressures on manufacturers from the prolonged trade war, although growth in imports may be a sign that Beijing's stimulus efforts are working.

Back home, a restructuring of personal income tax rates could cheer the middle class, boost consumption and act as a fiscal stimulus, if ongoing discussions in the finance ministry lead to concrete proposals in the Union budget. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in response to a question at the Hindustan Times Leadership summit on Saturday that relief on personal income tax was among the several things the government was looking at, and that one should wait for the Union budget to be presented in February.

The Karvy Stock Broking debacle and the ensuing loss of securities underlying their secured credit have forced lenders, especially banks, to review their exposure to brokerage firms, according to a Mint report. Fearing that more secured loans could turn unsecured if the loans are backed by client securities, these lenders have sent out letters to brokers to verify whether these securities belonged to them or to clients.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd will be in focus as the company, after nine straight months of falling production, built more vehicles in November than a year earlier, following the mild sales recovery seen in the festive month of October. Production in November rose 4.33% year-on-year to 141,834 vehicles, India’s largest carmaker said in a statement on BSE.

Bharti Telecom, a promoter of Bharti Airtel, has sought government nod for the infusion of 4,900 crore investment from Singapore-based Singtel and other foreign entities, a move that would make the country's oldest private telecom operator a foreign entity.The fund infusion will enhance foreign stakeholding in Bharti Telecom to over 50% that will make it a foreign-owned entity, an official source aware of the development told PTI. Sunil Bharti Mittal and his family own around 52% stake in Bharti Telecom, at present.

US Treasury yields climbed after the strong employment report, with benchmark 10-year notes rising to 1.843%.

The Fed's Open Market Committee (FOMC) kicks off its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. The central bank is expected to highlight the economy's resilience and keep interest rates on hold in the range of 1.50% to 1.75%.

Analysts said Friday's much better-than-expected jobs report offset mixed signals from recent economic data and validated the Federal Reserve's wait-and-see stance on interest rates after three "insurance cuts" this year.

Oil prices retreated but hovered near recent peaks after OPEC and its allies agreed to deepen output cuts by 500,000 barrels per day in early 2020.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 slipped 0.4% to $58.94 per barrel, still not far from Friday's 2.5-month high of $59.85 per barrel.

In the currency market, the dollar maintained a firm tone on Monday, with the dollar index against a basket of major currencies standing at 97.691 and the euro changing hands at $1.1058 both little changed on the day. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar last traded at 108.59 yen, flat on the day.

(Reuters contributed to the story)