Indian equity markets started the day on a positive note after IT giant Infosys reported better than expected earnings. However the markets edged lower after India's Wholesale Price Index (WPI) rose to 5.7% in March, higher than the previous month's 4.7%.The markets finally closed the day in the red. Realty and metal stocks were the biggest losers. While the BSE-Sensex closed lower by 144 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 43 points. BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap closed on a negative note.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed in the red. European indices have opened in the red too. The rupee was trading at Rs 60.25 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation increased to 5.7% in March from 4.68% a month ago, snapping a three-month easing trend as fruit and vegetable prices started climbed up again. Food inflation rose to 9.9% in March from 8.1% in February and, within it, prices of vegetables jumped 8.5% compared with a 3.9% rise a month ago and that of fruits rose 16.1% compared with a 9.9% growth earlier. Fuel inflation increased to 11.2% from 8.7% a month ago as the government raised cooking gas prices. According to the data released by the Government today, the January inflation number has been revised upwards to 5.1% as against the earlier estimate of 5.1%.
Business confidence, as reflected in the Index for Industrial Production (IIP), de-grew 1.9% in February against the 0.8% growth in January, while the country's trade deficit hit a five-month high in March at US $10.5 bn. The IIP data showed de-growth in capital goods at 17.4% against the previous month's de-growth of 4.2%, while consumer durables also de-grew at 9.3% against the negative growth of 8.3% in the earlier month. Consumer non-durables contracted 1.2% against the previous month's growth of 4.4% and consumer goods fell by negative 4.5% versus the previous month's de-growth of 0.6%. The most disappointing part is decline in the growth rate of 13 out of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector during February 2014.