Indian stocks rose to a seven-week high after a decline in oil to the lowest level in eight months improved the outlook on inflation, and as JPMorgan Chase & Co upgraded the nation’s equities. The BSE India Sensitive Index (Sensex) gained 0.8% to 17,032.56, its highest since May 3, at close.
India is “Asia’s big market to focus on,” Adrian Mowat, chief Asian and emerging-market strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co, told Bloomberg TV yesterday. “Oil is coming down and the currency is becoming more competitive. The outlook for Indian sequential data is going to improve.”
JPMorgan raised India to overweight from neutral.
Oil fell below $80 a barrel for the first time in eight months as US inventories increased amid concern that Europe’s debt crisis will drag down the global economy, reducing fuel demand. Falling energy costs improve India’s inflation outlook because the nation imports 80% of its crude.
The Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly left interest rates unchanged on Monday after the inflation rate climbed more than estimated in May amid surging food and fuel prices. Curbing the fiscal deficit and the success of the monsoon rains are among the keys to controlling prices, RBI governor Duvvuri Subbarao said on Tuesday. Wholesale-price growth of 7.5% is “above our tolerance level” and consumer-price inflation is “disturbing” at more than 10%, he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is grappling with an economy hobbled by a record trade deficit, a budget shortfall that has exceeded targets, corruption scandals and coalition in-fighting that has stymied his efforts to lure more foreign investment. The rupee touched a record low of 56.5388 per dollar, tracking other Asian currencies, after the Federal Reserve reduced its growth estimate for the US.
The Sensex has advanced 10% this year.from gulf times.