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NSE Intra-day chart (22 February 2022)
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Market Commentary 23 February 2022
Benchmarks likely to open in green on Wednesday


Indian equity benchmarks continued their weak trend for fifth consecutive session and settled lower with over half a percent cut on Tuesday as investors turned cautious after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, increasing concerns about a major war. Markets made gap-down opening to trade around cut of 2% in early deals after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two Russian-backed breakaway republics in the east of Ukraine. Moreover, as per a private report, some Ukrainian civilians have been killed in frontline shelling over the night. Meanwhile, voicing deep concern over the escalation of tension along the Russia-Ukraine border, India has told the UN Security Council that the immediate priority is de-escalation of tensions, taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries. Adding more cautiousness, provisional data available on the NSE showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have net sold Rs 2,261.90 crore worth of shares. Lackluster trade continued in afternoon deals. However, markets managed to trim most of their losses in dying hours of trade as fag-end buying emerged in HDFC, M&M, Infosys, Kotak Bank, and Bajaj Finserv. Some support also came in with NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant's statement that Indian economy growing at 9.2%, among fastest-growing large economies. He added the Indian economy is expected to grow at similar rates in the coming years. Traders took note of report that Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman asked the industry leaders to explore ways to further strengthen their sector and help in the post-pandemic revival of economy. Sitharaman urged the market participants to strive for efficiency and transparency to help to channelize the resource for productive investment in the most effective manner. But, benchmark indices failed to gain its green terrain and ended below neutral lines, as anxiety still persist over Russia- Ukraine geopolitical concern which sent oil prices to seven-year high.  Meanwhile, the United States and its European allies are poised to announce harsh new sanctions against Russia after Putin formally recognised the breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, escalating a security crisis on the continent. Finally, the BSE Sensex declined 382.91 points or 0.66% to 57,300.68 and the CNX Nifty was down by 114.45 points or 0.67% to 17,092.20.


The US markets ended lower on Tuesday on intensifying worries about a Russian invasion of Ukraine a day after the Russian government recognized two Ukrainian separatist regions - Donetsk and Luhansk - as sovereign states. Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently ordered troops into the territory as peacekeepers, with Russia's upper house of parliament later giving consent to sending forces abroad. Describing the latest actions by Russia as the beginning of an invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden announced the first tranche of US sanctions. Biden said I am going to begin to impose sanctions in response, far beyond the steps we and our allies and partners implemented in 2014. And if Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions. He stated the US will impose sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions, VEB and Russia's military bank, and Russia's sovereign debt as well as Russian elites and their family members. He also announced the US has worked with Germany to ensure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will not move forward, with Germany previously halting certification of the pipeline. The UK also announced a first tranche of sanctions on Russia, targeting five Russian banks and three very high net worth individuals. On the sectoral front, tobacco stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day, dragging the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index down by 3.6 percent. Substantial weakness also emerged among retail stocks, as reflected by the 2.9 percent nosedive by the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index.


Crude oil futures settled higher on Tuesday on concerns over supplies following Russia's aggressive move into Ukraine. It is feared that a full-blown conflict in Ukraine could cause major disruption to crude supplies. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities and ordered the army to launch what Moscow called a peacekeeping operation into the area. Following the move, the UK announced a first tranche of sanctions on Russia, targeting five Russian banks and three very high net worth individuals. Benchmark crude oil futures for April delivery surged $1.70 or 1.9 percent to settle at $91.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for April delivery rose $0.60 or 0.65 percent to settle at $93.59 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


Indian rupee ended considerably weak against dollar on Tuesday as geopolitical tensions escalated in the Eastern Europe. Sustained foreign fund outflows, lackluster trend in domestic equities and elevated crude oil prices also weighed on investor sentiment. Sentiments were fragile as military vehicles including tanks were seen on the outskirts of Donetsk, the capital of one of two breakaway regions, and Putin signed treaties with leaders of the two breakaway regions giving Russia the right to build military bases. On the global front, pound edged lower on Tuesday as investors fled to the relative safety of government debt and the low-yielding Swiss franc after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine. Finally, the rupee ended at 74.84 (Provisional), weaker by 29 paise from its previous close of 74.55 on Monday.


The FIIs as per Tuesday's data were net sellers in both equity and debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 5103.49 crore against gross selling of Rs 5877.76 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 333.16 crore against gross selling of Rs 908.90 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 6.17 crore against gross selling of Rs 6.27 crore.


The US markets ended lower on Tuesday after President Joe Biden unveiled fresh sanctions on Moscow. Asian markets are trading mostly in green on Wednesday as investors regarded Russian troop movements near Ukraine and initial Western sanctions as leaving room to avoid a war. Indian markets extended losses to a fifth straight session on Tuesday amid a global sell-off triggered by heightened geopolitical tensions. Today, markets are likely to start session on a positive note following gains in other Asian markets amid focus on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Germany, Canada, UK and US have imposed sanctions on Russia for ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and the West has threatened to go further if Moscow launched an all-out invasion of its neighbour. Some support will come as the commerce ministry data showed that the country's merchandise exports rose by 26.4 per cent to $25.33 billion this month till February 21 on account of healthy performance by sectors including gems and jewellery, engineering, textiles and chemicals. The exports during February 1-21 last year stood at $20.04 billion. However, there may be some cautiousness as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the ensuing jump in global crude prices are a challenge to financial stability in India. Also, forecasting a lower-than-previously projected 10 per cent GDP growth for the fiscal year 2022 due to the third wave of the pandemic, a private report said the Indian economy is likely to have expanded by 6.6 per cent in the December quarter. Textile industry stocks will be in focus with report that India's annual textiles exports can rise to $100 billion in the next five years from the current $40 billion. Textiles Secretary Upendra Prasad Singh said the country's apparel industry must focus on vertical integration to increase its scale and size and to benefit from the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme. There will be some reaction in microfinance sector stocks as India Ratings revised upwards its outlook on the microfinance sector to neutral from negative next fiscal, on the back of a revival in growth that could clip at 30 per cent. The agency expects the sector to grow 20-30 per cent in both FY22 and FY23 in comparison to the below 10 per cent AUM (assets under management) growth in the previous two years. Given the yield limitations, mid- and small-MFIs have not seen comparable growth. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government would go ahead with the initial public offering (IPO) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), despite volatility in the market amid geopolitical concerns.


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