The bulls took a breather on Thursday as equity benchmarks closed rangebound session marginally lower after rallying for previous three consecutive days. Sell-off in telecom stocks on Jio’s tariff plans & profit booking in Reliance Industries dampened the market sentiment but FMCG, metals, auto and select banks limited the downside. Subdued Q1 GDP and July core industries data also weighed on the market.
The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 28.69 points at 28,423.48 and the 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 11.55 points to 8,774.65. The broader markets also ended lower by 0.4 percent on weak breadth. About 1662 shares declined against 1074 advancing shares on the BSE.
The market may not see major selling pressure in near term as foreign investors started pumping in more money into Indian equities again after showing caution last week ahead of Federal Reserve Chief speech, feel experts. FII bought Rs 1,800 crore worth of shares during the week (till Wednesday) against outflow of over Rs 100 crore last week.
With raising Sensex target to 30,000, Surendra Goyal of Citi said with the expected catalysts of GST, monsoon playing out and the market delivering 20 percent returns since February/March, focus would shift to H2 earnings.
He expects 12 percent/15 percent Sensex/Nifty profit growth in FY17. While the pace of recovery would likely be uneven, there are reasons to be positive in the medium term – reform impact, likely consumption uptick, peaking of NPL cycle, bottoming utilisation, increasing return on equities, he said.
Telecom stocks butchered badly with the Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular falling 6-10 percent after Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani unveiled Jio’s aggressive tarriff plans that will hit earnings of these companies.
Reliance Jio would commercially be launched on December 31 and the preview launch would be on September 5, Ambani said, adding all domestic voice calls for Jio would be absolutely free and roaming charges would be zero within India. He further said data, voice, video & apps were free for users from September 5-December 31, 2016.
Analysts see major impact on revenue of telecom companies as voice calls currently contribute about 70 percent to their revenue. They see migration of data users .
“This is a surprise as the market was not expecting Jio to aggressively target the low end market. We see some near term impact on Bharti/Idea financials given that the service is free till December, and expect consensus downgrades on back of it,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.
Reliance Industries declined nearly 3 percent on profit booking as the stock already rallied more than 5 percent since August.
Reliance has invested over Rs 1,10,000 crore on petchem business, Ambani said, adding petrochem & refining business would see 40-50 percent growth anually in future.
Auto stocks were also in focus on account of August sales data. Tata Motors, which gained 1 percent, will announce sales numbers later today. Maruti Suzuki (up 0.1 percent) and Mahindra & Mahindra (up 1 percent) reported 12.3 percent and 13.9 percent sales growth YoY, respectively. Royal Enfield sales grew by 32 percent while Ashok Leyland disappopinted by showing 6 percent degrowth, dragged by M&HCV segment.
Lupin rose 1.2 percent on tentative approval from the US Food & Drug Administration for antibiotic Zithromax oral suspension. HDFC and ICICI Bank gained a percent each.
Asia ended mixed despite better-than-expected China PMI data but European stocks were higher with France’s CAC rising 1 percent.