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Sensex and Nifty Open at Record Highs; Modi Takes Early Lead
Thu, 23 May 09:30 am | Rini Mehta, TM Team

Asian share markets are lower today as Chinese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Shanghai Composite is off 0.8% while the Hang Seng is down 1.2%. The Nikkei 225 is trading down by 0.8%. Wall Street's major indices dipped on Wednesday as inflamed trade tensions between the United States and China weighed on investor sentiment.

Back home, India share markets opened the day on a strong note as the counting of votes begin. The BSE Sensex is trading up by 515 points while the NSE Nifty is trading up by 137 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index opened up by 1% and 1.1% respectively.

All sectoral indices have opened the day in green with realty, power, capital goods and bank stocks leading the pack of gainers.

India began counting hundreds of millions of votes in its general election today, with a coalition led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party already preparing to form the next government.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is expected to surpass the 272 seats needed to command a majority in the lower house of parliament, six of seven exit polls showed on Sunday.

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Their predicted margin of victory is larger than surveys indicated in the run-up to the vote, when most polls showed the NDA would be the largest alliance but would fall short of an overall majority.

Counting of votes began at 8 am in the morning and trends are expected to be known by noon because of the use of computerised voting machines.

Final results in the polls, in which around 900 million Indians were eligible to vote, are due by the evening.

According to latest trends in the first half an hour of counting, BJP is leading in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is leading from Lucknow and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is leading from Wayanad seat.

Interestingly, once the exit polls were released on Sunday, the markets reacted positively.

The Sensex notched up gains of more than 1,400 points.

Clearly, the prediction of a BJP-led NDA victory has fired up the markets.

But there are two things that history has shown us.

One, is the exit polls should be taken with a pinch of salt. The 2004 elections are a classic case in point where the exit polls predicted a BJP win, while the actual counting resulted in Congress-led UPA gaining clear majority.

In the Long Run, Elections Don't Influence the Stock Market

In the Long Run, Elections Don't Influence the Stock Market

Second, near term reactions to elections aside, stock markets in the longer run have been influenced by the Indian economy and growth in corporate earnings.

Indeed, despite the Congress win in 2004 (something not factored in by the markets), the Sensex has been on a major bull run since then.

This, during years when both the UPA and the NDA have been in power.

Moving on to the news from currencies space. The rupee is currently trading at 69.44 against the US$. On Wednesday, the rupee opened nearly unchanged at 69.70 and moved to 69.67 in early trade

The rupee ticked higher by 5 paise to 69.67 against the US dollar on Wednesday amid weakness in the greenback and easing crude oil prices.

Strong foreign institutional investor inflows and higher domestic equity markets improved sentiments for the rupee.

The rupee had appreciated by 2 paise to 69.72 against the US dollar in the previous session.

Rupee as well as bonds rallied after exit polls projected a major could be on its way for the NDA. Indian equities too rallied and witnessed its single-day gain since September 2013.

In the recent past, foreign fund inflows have aided the rupee while the central bank's efforts to ensure adequate liquidity in the banking system through forex swaps and open market bond purchases have helped bonds.

To know what's moving the Indian stock markets today, check out the most recent share market updates here.

For information on how to pick stocks that have the potential to deliver big returns, download our special report now!

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