Gold Silver Reports ~ Indian equity-index futures advanced, with the benchmark stock gauge heading for its third weekly loss in four weeks before the federal budget on Monday.
SGX Nifty Index futures for March delivery climbed 0.8 percent at 10 a.m. in Singapore, after February derivative contracts expired on Thursday. The underlying Nifty 50 Index lost 0.7 percent Thursday, capping a third day of losses, while the S&P BSE Sensex slid 0.5 percent to a two-week low. The Bank of New York Mellon India ADR Index of U.S.-traded shares declined 0.9 percent.
The Sensex has fallen 3.1 percent this week, taking its losses in February to 7.6 percent, the most for any month in more than four years. The government will on Friday present the economic survey, a summary of the various policy initiatives over the last year, before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveils tax and expenditure proposals for the year starting April 1 on Monday.
“Markets will be watching out for the fiscal deficit numbers and steps taken by the government to kick start the investment cycle,” Shreyash Devalkar, a fund manager at BNP Paribas Mutual Fund, wrote in an e-mail on Thursday. Stock indexes are “on their way to test recent lows after a lackluster rail budget dampened investor sentiment.”
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday signaled the solution to finding the $124 billion needed to modernize the congested transportation network includes carrying more types of cargo and generating revenues from land holdings. He said the target is for the railways to earn as much as 20 percent of revenue from non-tariff sources in 5 years.
The Sensex is valued at 14.3 times its estimated 12-month earnings, versus a multiple of 10.9 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Foreigners sold a net $76 million of Indian stocks on Wednesday, taking this year’s outflow to $2.4 billion. They bought $3.3 billion of shares last year, the smallest in four years. ~ Neal Bhai Reports