Friday , June 18 2021

Stocks in India rise on Covid-19 vaccine trial pause, inflation woes


India’s stock benchmark eked out gains to rise for a ninth straight day, 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 closed up 0.1%, after swinging between gains of 0.5% and losses of 0.3% following Johnson & Johnson’s announcement that its study had been temporarily halted because a clinical trial participant experienced an unexplained illness. The NSE Nifty 50 Index added three points, also edging higher for a ninth day. It’s the longest winning streak for both indexes since April 2018.
The two gauges 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 up 0.2% after falling by a similar magnitude earlier in the day.
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 India’s 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 revenue from sluggish collections.
Meanwhile, Wipro Ltd. reported net income for the September-ending quarter after market hours that missed analyst estimates.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond was little changed at 5.90%, while the rupee weakened 0.1% to 73.3550 per dollar. Six of the 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rise, led by a gauge of energy companies.

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