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Rally witnessed across the globe as expectations grew that the United States (US) and China would open new trade talks; relief rally witnessed on domestic bourses on recovering rupee..

During the initial part of the week there was disappointment on the faces on market participants as domestic bourses plunged significantly nearly 1,000 points in the first two trading sessions of the week. However, the markets saw a sharp recovery in the last two trading sessions. The S&P BSE Sensex settled 373 points higher on Friday at 38,091 owing to rupee recovering against the dollar. In the last two trading sessions of the week, the 30-share index moved up around 678 points, or 1.81 per cent, while the NSE's Nifty50 index added 227 points, or 2.01 per cent, to end at 11,515 levels. On a weekly basis, the 30-share index of BSE lost 299 points or 0.77 per cent while the Nifty50 index shed 74 points or 0.63 per cent.

A slew of encouraging macro numbers brought cheer to the investors on Dalal Street. The headline inflation (CPI) data cooled off to a 10-month low of 3.69 per cent in August, while the wholesale price inflation (WPI) eased to a four-month low of 4.53 per cent in August on softening of prices of food articles, especially vegetables. That apart, industrial production (IIP) for July grew at 6.6 per cent on the back of good performance by the manufacturing sector and higher offtake of capital goods and consumer durables. Trade deficit, too, narrowed to $17.4 billion in August as compared to $18.02 billion in July, data showed.

A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday decided to curb non-essential imports and increase exports, besides announcing five-pronged measures as a knee jerk reaction to increase dollar inflows into the country to fund and reduce the current account deficit (CAD). The CAD rose to 2.4 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2018-19 from 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017-18. These measures will increase dollar inflows by up to US$10 billion in the country. The government decided to cut non-essential imports and increase exports, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the meeting, adding the measures would be announced in the next few days after consultations with the ministries concerned. A long term sustainable economic policy taking all the stakeholders in the picture will go a long way to give right direction to the market rather than the frequent policy changes as a knee jerk reaction.

Sectors and stocks

Rising for the second straight session, sugar stocks on Friday surged up to 20 per cent on the government's announcement of hike in ethanol price for blending in petrol by 25 per cent. In the previous trading session, shares of sugar firms had registered a rise of around 18 per cent.  The government on Wednesday approved an over 25 per cent hike in the price of ethanol produced directly from sugarcane juice for blending in petrol in a bid to cut surplus sugar production and reduce oil imports.

Avadh Sugar & Energy, Ponni Sugars (Erode), Magadh Sugar & Energy, Simbhaoli Sugars, Rajshree Sugars & Chemicals, Dalmia Bharat Sugar & Industries and Uttam Mills rose as much as 20 per cent each and hit their upper circuit limits on the BSE. Shares of Shree Renuka Sugars surged 16.17 per cent and Thiru Arooran Sugars jumped 15.63 per cent. K M Sugar Mills rose 14.04 per cent.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs raised the procurement price of ethanol derived from 100 per cent sugarcane juice to Rs 59.13 per litre from the current rate of Rs 47.13.

The government's move of raising ethanol price for blending in petrol would help sugar mills quickly release arrears of cane farmers, which stands at over Rs 13,000 crore. As much as 40 per cent of these dues are in Uttar Pradesh alone. Ethanol so extracted would be doped in petrol to cut reliance on imports. The government is looking at scaling up the blending to 10 per cent in the next couple of years from 4-5 per cent now. However, we recommend a caution as not every sugar Company will gain from these changes and many of them are under heavy debt.

Global Markets

Rally was witnessed across the on Friday as expectations grew that the United States (US) and China would open new trade talks, while an interest rate hike in Turkey supported the Turkish lira and global risk appetite. The MSCI All-Country World index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up nearly half a percent on the day after the start of trade in Europe. Led by technology and autos stocks, the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose half a per cent, set for its best weekly gains in seven weeks. US stocks closed higher Thursday, with the S&P 500 gaining for a fourth straight session on the back of strong technology shares.

Ajcon’s view

Last week, the domestic bourses see saw movement owing to volatility in rupee. However, the recovery in rupee was cheered by the market in the last 2 days which led to rally in domestic bourses. The Indian economy grew 8.2 percent in April-June this year, the highest in two years, amid signs that households are buying more and companies are adding capacities, shrugging off the disorderly effects of the twin shocks of demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST). Domestic air passenger traffic, robust rail freight movement, rising sales growth of passenger vehicles and strong consumer durables sales also point to a turnaround in the greater household spending. Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF), a useful metric to measure corporate investment activity, grew 10.0 percent in April-June. The agriculture sector grew 5.3 percent, from 3 percent in the same period last year, largely reflecting a strong Rabi or winter sown harvest. The monsoon rains, critical for the summer-sown kharif crop, has been slightly below normal this year so far, particularly in the grain bowl states in north India, but the shortfall isn’t alarming enough to pull down growth in the broader economy. India also cemented its status as the world’s fastest growing major economy, ahead of China, which grew 6.7 percent in April-June 2018.

Going ahead, we believe, progress of ongoing monsoons, rupee movement against the dollar, volatility in oil prices, US Fed meeting on rate hike will keep domestic bourses volatile. We believe that the investors can have a stock specific approach. We still believe that there is significant value in midcaps after the recent correction post implementation of ASM and announcement of LTCG in Union Budget 2018-19. Midcap stocks did show some signs of bottoming out in August but it will be difficult to say that the pain is over and stock selection will be the key.

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Ashoka Ajmera
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