Indian stock-index futures gained as the benchmark index headed for its biggest monthly advance since October, and before quarterly economic data due today.
SGX CNX Nifty Index futures for March delivery climbed 0.2 percent to 6,305.5 at 10:27 a.m. in Singapore. The underlying CNX Nifty Index increased 0.6 percent to 6,238.80 on Feb. 26. The S&P BSE Sensex (SENSEX) rose 0.7 percent, extending this month’s gain to 2.3 percent. Markets in India were closed for a holiday yesterday. The Bank of New York Mellon India ADR Index of U.S.- traded shares added 0.9 percent.
The government announces its fourth-quarter economic growth estimate today, as well as the fiscal deficit level for January. The economy expanded 4.7 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 4.8 percent in the previous quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
“Growth seems to have bottomed out and we expect an improvement in the future,” Rajendra Wadher, a director at PRB Securities Ltd., said by phone today. “The fiscal deficit is also getting to manageable levels. The worst is over for macro-economic indicators.”
Shares of Tech Mahindra Ltd. (TECHM) and United Spirits Ltd. (UNSP) may be active. The two companies will be added to the Nifty Index effective from March 28, according to a statement yesterday from IISL, a joint venture between the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. and Crisil Ltd., a credit-rating agency. Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. (RBXY) and Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. (JPA) will be removed from the gauge.
The economy will grow 4.9 percent in the fiscal year ending March, recovering from a decade-low 4.5 percent in the previous year, according to a government forecast on Feb. 7. The estimate still faces risks from expenditure curbs and interest-rate increases to cool inflation.
The Sensex rose for the first time in four weeks 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 country battling slowing economic growth and the fastest price increases in Asia.
India’s fiscal deficit will narrow to 4.1 percent of gross domestic product by March 31, 2015, compared with a 4.8 percent target, Chidambaram said last week.
Overseas funds bought a net $ 79.3 million of Indian shares on Feb. 25, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That extended this year’s inflow to $ 217.8 million, the most in Asia after Indonesia, the data show.
The Sensex has retreated 0.9 percent this year and trades at 13.5 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with the average multiple of 14.5 over the past five years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is valued at 10.3 times.
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