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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Stocks rise, shaking off J&J trial halt and inflation woes

Both stock indexes are close to erasing year-to-date losses, supported by inflows of around $580 million into Indian equities from foreign investors this month.

By: Bloomberg | October 13, 2020 11:09:56 am
Pedastrians wearing protective masks walk near the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Bloomberg Photo: Dhiraj Singh)

India’s stock benchmark rose, set for a ninth straight day of gains, as investors shrugged off concerns about a halt in Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine study and rising domestic inflation.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.2% to 40,684.98 at 9.48 am in Mumbai, after falling as much as 0.3%, following Johnson & Johnson’s announcement that its study has been temporarily halted because a clinical trial participant experienced an unexplained illness. The NSE Nifty 50 Index rose by a similar magnitude, as trading activity returned to normal with power supply restored in Mumbai following an outage on Monday.

Both stock indexes are close to erasing year-to-date losses, supported by inflows of around $580 million into Indian equities from foreign investors this month. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after falling as much as 0.2%.

Still, rising prices in Asia’s third-largest economy weighed on sentiment at a time when consumer confidence has plummeted to a record low. Data published Monday showed consumer-price inflation accelerated to 7.34% last month, which was more than estimated and could prompt monetary policy makers to keep interest rates on hold for longer. This comes as the government has unveiled measures worth $6.6 billion to stimulate consumer demand and investment in the economy.

Indian stocks are moving “in line with other Asian markets, with the negatives of inflation and the GST stalemate also affecting sentiment,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities Ltd. The meeting of the goods and services tax council on Monday failed to arrive at a unanimous decision, as some states wanted the federal government to borrow from the market to bridge a shortfall in revenues from sluggish collections.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond rose one basis point to 5.91%. The rupee weakened 0.2% to 73.3913 per dollar.

The numbers

* Fifteen of the 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a gauge of basic material producers
* Infosys Ltd. added 0.6% and contributed the most to the Sensex’s advance, while ICICI Bank Ltd. was the biggest drag and dropped 2.1%

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