Indian stock-index futures swung between gains and losses before the expiry of derivatives contracts today and the release of official economic growth estimates later this week.
SGX CNX Nifty Index futures for March delivery lost 0.1 percent to 6,201 at 9:54 a.m. in Singapore after rising as much as 0.3 percent. The underlying CNX Nifty Index gained 0.2 percent to 6,200.05 yesterday, the highest close since Jan. 24. The S&P BSE Sensex (SENSEX) added 0.2 percent. The Bank of New York Mellon India ADR Index of U.S.-traded shares fell 0.3 percent.
Financial markets in India are closed for a holiday tomorrow. Derivatives contracts typically expire on the last Thursday of every month. The government may say on Feb. 28 that Indian gross domestic product grew at less than 5 percent for a fifth straight quarter in the three months ended Dec. 31, according to a Bloomberg survey.
“The markets are keenly looking forward to the GDP data,” Raghu Kumar, co-founder of brokerage RKSV Ltd., wrote in an e-mail. “If GDP crosses 5 percent year-on-year growth, we could very well see the Sensex break its all-time high.”
The government may estimate GDP grew 4.7 percent in the quarter ended December, compared with 4.8 percent in the previous quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey of 46 economists.
The Sensex rose to a record on Jan. 23, paring this year’s loss. The index advanced 1.6 percent last week after Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram pledged to cut the fiscal deficit to a seven-year low and said inflation pressures are diminishing in a nation where consumer prices are rising at the fastest pace in Asia.
Overseas funds bought a net $ 45.3 million of Indian shares on Feb. 24, extending this year’s inflow to $ 138.6 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show. They bought $ 20 billion last year, the most in Asia after Japan.
The Sensex has retreated 1.5 percent this year and trades at 13.4 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with the average multiple of 14.4 over the past five years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is valued at 10.2 times.
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