Main equity indices that trudged along posting steady gains for nine straight sessions regardless of profit booking by foreign portfolio investors ~who sold shares worth Rs 1,659.11 crore in previous sessions~finally ran out of steam on Wednesday to end with a marginal drop for want of positive cues either domestic or external.
Domestic mutual funds that were keeping bullish sentiment intact with focus on quality stocks post last month’s 10 per cent correction in the Sensitive Index of Bombay Stock Exchange and Nifty of National Stock Exchange apparently took a pause ahead of crucial earnings data that is lined up for the next ten days.
Analysts say, over the past ten sessions gains have been moderate because DIIs have drastically cut risky investment in their bid to protect interest and returns of retail investors. DIIs were net buyers in shares worth Rs 4,322.97 crore in April until Tuesday, shows official NSE data.
Market participants are looking forward to earnings data of heavyweights such as Tata Consultancy Service which will be declaring its numbers for January-April quarter on Thursday.
The next in line will be Reliance Industries Limited. Analysts say FMCG shares like ITC and HUL with consumer durables or engineering stocks such as L&T are propping up the 30-share Sensex of BSE as well as broader market’s 50-stock Nifty of NSE.
Domestic funds are gradually turning away from state-run banks and even some private banks in the aftermath of a series of frauds that have come to light in past two months.
Even private lenders ICICI Bank and Axis Bank now are facing frequent selling pressure on account of governance lapses for which Reserve Bank of India has virtually held their CEOs and MDs responsible.
One stock in the financial segment that stood out as a favourite of fund managers was HDFC Bank despite heavy valuation. According to data with Accord Fintech, sheer growth prospects and largely clean account books are major upticks for investors to park their funds in HDFC Bank.
Investors seem to be unmoved by its valuation. As on 31 March 2018, 64 of 145 mutual funds schemes have given top priority to HDFC Bank share in their investment portfolio.
Analysts say the rise in investment of HDFC Bank shares suggests there are few or limited options in the banking or financial segment for market participants unlike in FMCG, auto or IT.
HDFC Bank’s profit increased at a compounded rate of 23.8 per cent between 2012 and 2017. FPIs or foreign funds are the biggest investors in this top private lender by asset. The bank is yet to declare its numbers for Q4.
Analysts say the stocks specific action by domestic MFs is likely to continue as more quarterly results are declared over the next ten days. Kolkata-based Indian Tobacco Company in FMCG segment has been impressively climbing for the past four sessions.
On Wednesday it gained more than 4 per cent to trade at Rs 278.90 ahead of its results. Considering 6.5 per cent rise in previous three trades, ITC stock has out-performed two equity benchmarks by a huge margin. Credit Suisse, a brokerage, has rated ITC “neutral” with a target price of Rs 320/stock.
Another stock that is likely to provide a trigger for continuing upside momentum for Sensex and Nifty is TCS which is announcing its numbers on Thursday.
Brokerage Kotak Securities sees constant currency revenue growth at 1.3 per cent which will be aided by a ramp-up of some deals won in the second half of FY 2017-18.
It expects EBIT margin to recover 25 basis points driven by operational efficiency and benefits of rupee depreciation against non-dollar currencies. Edelweiss expects revenue growth at 2.3 per cent in United States dollar terms.