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NSE Intra-day chart (23 March 2022)
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Market Commentary 24 March 2022
Benchmarks to get pessimistic start amid sharp rise in crude oil prices


Indian equity benchmarks gave up initial gains and edged lower on Wednesday as investors kept an eye on rising crude oil prices. Brent crude futures traded near the $117 a barrel mark on global supply concerns amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. The benchmarks staged a gap up opening, as traders took encouragement with a periodic labour force survey by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed that unemployment rate for persons of age 15 years and above in urban areas dipped to 9.8 per cent in July-September 2021 from 13.2 per cent in the same quarter of the previous year. Some optimism also came as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) retained the outlook for India's real gross domestic product (GDP) at 5.5% in FY24. Traders took a note of report that NITI Aayog sought to dispel the fear that India is favouring a closed economy by promoting Atmanirbhar mission, and said the country can achieve better results for its people by having a deeper engagement with the global supply and value chain. However, profit booking at higher levels led to benchmarks erase intraday gains a day ahead of weekly expiry of index futures and option contracts. Traders also got anxious with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that new International Monetary Fund forecasts due in April will show that the war in Ukraine will slow global economic growth, but will not cause a global recession. Meanwhile, the Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution has appreciated the government's efforts to cut the Bill on food subsidy during 2021-22 in comparison to 2020-21. However, the Committee feels that food subsidy is still very high and there is still scope to reduce it further. It noted that allocation of funds - in respect of food subsidy during 2021-22 is Rs 2,90,573.11 crore but actual expenditure as on February 11, 2022, is Rs 2,20,445.61 crore only i.e. 76 per cent of allocation. Finally, the BSE Sensex fell 304.48 points or 0.53% to 57,684.82 and the CNX Nifty was down by 69.85 points or 0.40% to 17,245.65.


The US markets ended lower with cut of over one percent on Wednesday amid spike in oil prices. Lingering concerns about the ongoing war in Ukraine have contributed to the pullback on markets. US President Joe Biden is expected to impose further sanctions on Russia during his trip to Europe this week. Meanwhile, the 10-year US Treasury yield surpassed 2.41% at its session high Wednesday, a level not seen since May 2019. The benchmark rate has surged since the beginning of the week, when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed to be aggressive on inflation. The Fed last week raised interest rates for the first time since 2018. On the sectoral front, housing stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, resulting in a 3.2 percent nosedive by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index. On the economic data front, new home sales in the US unexpectedly extended the previous month's sharp pullback in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department. The report showed new home sales slumped by 2.0 percent to an annual rate of 772,000 in February after plunging by 8.4 percent to a revised rate of 788,000 in January. The continued decrease surprised participants, who had expected new home sales to jump by 1.1 percent to a rate of 810,000 from the 801,000 originally reported for the previous month. With the unexpected drop, new home sales continued to give back ground after reaching their highest annual rate since last March in December.


Crude oil futures ended higher on Wednesday as disruptions to Russian and Kazakh crude exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline added to worries over tight global supplies. According to private report, crude oil exports from Kazakhstan's CPC terminal stopped fully on Wednesday after damage caused by a major storm and continued bad weather. The pipeline carries around 1.2 million barrels per day of the country's main crude grade, which is nearly 1.2% of global demand. Besides, oil prices also fell as data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed US crude stockpiles fell by 2.51 million barrels in the week ended March 18th after seeing an increase of 4.35 million barrels in the previous week. The drop was more than 1.7 times the expected decline. Benchmark crude oil futures for May delivery surged $5.66 or 5.2 percent to settle at $114.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May delivery gained $6.22 or 5.39 percent to settle at $121.72 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


Indian rupee ended lower against dollar on Wednesday, on account of sustained dollar demand from importers and banks amid rising crude oil prices and geopolitical tension. Traders were concerned, as Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas released its monthly production report for February 2022 showed that crude oil production failed to meet target while also lower in terms of year-on-year (YoY) data for the period; while natural gas production was higher in YoY terms, but still lower than the monthly target. On the global front, Sterling held at a three-week high on Wednesday as investors await British finance minister Rishi Sunak's Spring Statement later in the day and as latest data showed UK inflation hit a 30-year high. Finally, the rupee ended at 76.32 (Provisional), weaker by 14 paise from its previous close of 76.18 on Tuesday.


The FIIs as per Wednesday's data were net buyers in both equity and debt segment. In equity segment, the gross buying was of Rs 9868.55 crore against gross selling of Rs 9143.80 crore, while in the debt segment, the gross purchase was of Rs 1172.90 crore against gross selling of Rs 696.89 crore. Besides, in the hybrid segment, the gross buying was of Rs 62.93 crore against gross selling of Rs 68.54 crore.


The US markets ended lower on Wednesday as oil prices jumped and Western leaders began gathering in Brussels to plan more measures to pressure Russia to halt its conflict in Ukraine. Asian markets are trading in red on Thursday tracking overnight weakness over Wall Street. Indian markets gave up initial gains in a volatile session and ended lower on Wednesday, dragged by financial, IT and auto stocks. Today, the markets are likely to start session on pessimistic note as Brent crude oil prices have risen sharply near $120 a barrel mark. The markets may further witness volatility on account of weekly F&O expiry. Traders will be concerned as the Ministry of Commerce & Industry said total foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow to India declined to $74.01 billion in the calendar year 2021, which is 15 per cent lower from $87.55 billion recorded in the previous year. There will be some cautiousness as Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the government is in continuous dialogue with exporters to address the problems and challenges that are emerging due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and could lead to some kind of disruption in trade. He said that there are challenges of commodity prices, inflation, disruption in shipping lines, and container shortages. However, some respite may come later in the day as the commerce ministry's data showed that the country's exports for the first time crossed the $400 billion mark in a fiscal on healthy performance by sectors such as petroleum products, engineering, gems and jewellery, and chemicals. Traders may take note of report that the commerce ministry will extend the existing foreign trade policy (FTP) for some more months beyond March 31. Last year in September, the government extended the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 till March 31, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The present policy came into force on April 1, 2015. The policy provides guidelines related to imports and exports in India. Meanwhile, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has issued a standard operating procedure for the scrutiny of GST returns for financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19, the first two years of the roll-out of the new taxation regime. Real estate industry stocks will be in focus with a private report that investments in the real estate sector in India are bound to grow by 5-10 per cent in 2022, with the sector poised to hit the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. There will be some reaction in aviation industry stocks as Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the airline sector is on a revival mode with 3.82 lakh passengers travelling daily by airlines in the last seven days and hoped that the total passenger traffic would rise to 40 crore by 2023-24. Besides, Baba Ramdev's Patanjali-backed Ruchi Soya follow on public offering (FPO) will open today and conclude on March 28. The Patanjali group subsidiary has fixed a price band of Rs 615-650 per equity share for this FPO.


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