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NSE Intra-day chart (23 February 2022)
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Market Commentary 24 February 2022
Markets to get gap-down opening as Ukraine crisis escalates


Indian equity benchmarks wiped out all the initial gains and ended marginally lower for the sixth straight day on Wednesday, dragged by Energy, Capital Goods and Auto stocks. Markets opened higher as traders took encouragement with 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. Key indices trimmed some gains in morning deals, but continued to trade in green, as some solace also came with Nasscom Centre of Excellence for internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) CEO Sanjeev Malhotra stating that India has the third-largest ecosystem for start-ups in the world and the number of such firms is growing significantly with ten per cent being added every year. However, benchmark indices failed to hold on to their gains in late hour of trading session and ended lower, as traders turned cautious with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's statement that the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the ensuing jump in global crude prices are a challenge to financial stability in India. Sitharaman said it is difficult to say how it (crude prices) will go. Even today, in the FSDC, when we were looking at the challenges which are posed for the financial stability, crude was one of the things. Some pessimism also came as 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. It said the economy had a relatively stable Q3 with several sectors returning to pre-pandemic level of activity, with services playing a bigger role in activity and added that with the mild Omicron wave in January, there is clear downside risks to the earlier growth forecast of 10 per cent in FY22. Finally, the BSE Sensex declined 68.62 points or 0.12% to 57,232.06 and the CNX Nifty was down by 28.95 points or 0.17% to 17,063.25.


The US markets ended deeply in red on Wednesday, extending the sell-off seen over the three previous sessions, amid lingering concerns about a potential Russia invasion of Ukraine. Selling pressure seemed to intensify after President Joe Biden officially announced plans to allow the toughest sanctions on Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to move forward. Biden called the move another piece in his administration's initial tranche of sanctions against Russia, arguing Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions have provided the world with an overwhelming incentive to move away from Russian gas and to other forms of energy. The continued weakness on markets also came as a Pentagon official said 80 percent of Russian forces amassed on the Ukraine border are ready to go and said Putin has assembled enough military assets to conduct a large-scale invasion. Traders remained concerned a potential Russian invasion coupled with the international sanctions imposed in response could derail the global economy even as the Federal Reserve prepares to begin raising interest rates. On the sectoral front, housing stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 2.9 percent to its lowest closing level in almost a year.


Crude oil futures ended higher on Wednesday as traders weighed risks to global crude supplies amid sanctions on Russia and the potential for a full invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine declared a state of emergency and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began evacuating its Kyiv embassy in the latest ominous signs for Ukrainians who fear an all-out Russian military onslaught. Benchmark crude oil futures for April delivery surged $0.19 or 0.2 percent to settle at $92.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for April delivery ended flat at $96.84 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


Erasing previous session drubbing, Indian rupee ended significantly higher against dollar due to pullback in the greenback and crude oil prices after Western countries imposed several sanctions on Russia for sending troops into separatist-held regions in Ukraine. Investors hoped that Western sanctions on Russia after Moscow's troop movements near Ukraine border might soften Vladimir Putin's defiant tone and leave some room to avoid war. Sentiments got boost with commerce ministry data showing 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. On the global front, sterling edged up on Wednesday mirroring the equity market, which rebounded as investors waited to see how Russian President Vladimir Putin will respond to Western sanctions over the standoff with Ukraine. Finally, the rupee ended at 74.61, stronger by 23 paise from its previous close of 74.84 on Tuesday.


The FIIs as per Wednesday's data were net sellers in both equity and debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 9102.54 crore against gross selling of Rs 11560.74 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 352.03 crore against gross selling of Rs 783.34 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 3.65 crore against gross selling of Rs 8.53 crore.


The US markets ended lower on Wednesday extending their recent rout as Ukraine declared a state of emergency and the U.S. State Department said a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains potentially imminent. Asian markets are trading in red on Thursday with investors avoiding risks as tensions between Russia and Ukraine mount. Indian markets extended their losing streak to the sixth session on Wednesday as lingering Ukraine crisis continued to dent investors' sentiment. Today, markets are likely to start F&O series expiry session with deep cut after a global sell-off. As per reports, United States secretary of state Blinken has said that Russia will invade Ukraine before the night is over. While, Donetsk and Luhansk-separtatist regions have asked Russia for military assistance to repel Ukraine's aggression. Traders will be concerned as India Ratings revised downwards its GDP growth forecast for 2021-22 to 8.6 per cent from the consensus 9.2 per cent projected earlier. The National Statistical Organisation (NSO), which has forecast 9.2 per cent real GDP growth for the year, will release the second advance estimate of national income on Monday. According to an India Ratings analysis, NSO is likely to peg the FY22 real gross domestic product growth at Rs 147.2 lakh crore. Some pessimism may also come as Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) remained net sellers of domestic stocks on Wednesday. FIIs sold Rs 3,417 crore worth equity. There will be some cautiousness as the central bank's deputy governor Michael Patra said Consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation - the main yardstick of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for policy making - is likely to have peaked in January this year and, it will ease to the 4 per cent target by 2023. Meanwhile, Patra said that India's central bank wants to focus all its energies on reviving the country's economic growth given that inflation's momentum is declining. Healthcare industry stocks will be in focus as a private report stated that India has the potential to generate a staggering $774 billion revenue in the healthcare sector by 2030. It added with an investment of $217 billion, the country can create 12 million jobs in healthcare and allied sectors, which can impact 1.5 billion lives by 2030. There will be some reaction in oil & gas industry stocks as the government data showed India's crude oil production fell to 2,511.66 thousand metric tonnes (TMT) in January 2022, which is 2.40 per cent lower than the output registered during the same month last year and 6.04 per cent lower than the official target for the month.


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