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Sensex Trades Marginally Lower; Realty Stocks Witness Selling
Wed, 15 Feb 11:30 am

After opening the day on a flat note, the Indian share markets witnessed choppy trades and are presently trading marginally lower. Sectoral indices are trading on a negative note with stocks in the realty sector, auto sector, and healthcare sector witnessing maximum selling pressure.

The BSE Sensex is trading down 90 points (down 0.3%) and the NSE Nifty is trading down 24 points (down 0.3%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.6%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading down by 0.8%. The rupee is trading at 66.91 to the US$.

After the outcome of retail inflation data, it's wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation now. However, unlike retail inflation data, it is not comforting.

Data released yesterday showed the WPI rose to a two-and-a-half-year high of 5.2% in January. This compared with 3.39% in December. The rise was seen on the back of costlier fuel and adverse base effect.

Furthermore, core wholesale inflation (which excludes food and fuel items) firmed up to a 28-month high of 2.67%.

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The above WPI inflation data depicts the widening divergence with the consumer price index (CPI) inflation. CPI inflation (retail inflation) fell to a five-year low at 3.17% in January. The decline was led by a marked fall in food inflation.

CPI Inflation at Five Year Low

CPI Inflation at Five Year Low

While this came as a welcome breather, the same is expected to rise as the cash crunch led by demonetisation turns normal. So when consumer spending normalizes, we should all be on our guard for rising inflation.

In the news from global financial markets, US Fed Chair Janet Yellen yesterday said the US central bank may need to hike interest rates at the next meeting. This, she said, will be the case even as there is considerable uncertainty over economic policy under the Trump administration.

The next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meet is scheduled on March 14-15, where the Fed will decide its stance on interest rates.

The Fed last hiked interest rates in December by 25 basis points, just the second hike in more than ten years.

We believe that a quick succession of rate hikes would create a massive storm in the global financial markets. However, any pause to the rate hikes would lay the ground for much bigger financial storms later. Sooner or later, there will be an end to easy money policies. And that will lead to some big trends in global financial markets.

But as usual, we recommend that you, the intelligent investor, avert your eyes from this drama and keep them focused on the value and comfort of the safest stocks.

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Feb 21, 2018 (Close)