Stocks rise to record as lenders gain on Goldman upgrade

India’s benchmark stock index rose to a record as State Bank of India paced a rally among lenders after Goldman Sachs Group Inc raised its recommendation on the nation’s biggest bank.

By (Bloomberg)

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Published: Thu 27 Mar 2014, 9:44 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 6:26 PM

State Bank advanced to its highest level since December after the US investment bank advised investors to buy shares and raised its price target by 44 per cent. The S&P BSE India Bankex rallied to a 10-month high. Mobile-phone operator Bharti Airtel Ltd was the biggest gainer on the S&P BSE Sensex.

The Sensex rallied 0.5 per cent to 22,200.43, according to preliminary closing prices in Mumbai. The gauge has advanced 4.9 per cent this quarter, the best performance among the three other BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia and China. Foreigners have bought $3.9 billion of local shares and bonds this month amid improving public finances, easing inflation, and before the elections due next month.

“India’s economy has bottomed out and will see an improvement,” Ayaz Ebrahim, chief investment officer for Asia ex-Japan at Amundi Hong Kong Ltd, which manages $1 trillion globally, said in an interview to Bloomberg TV India on Thursday. The rupee has risen 2.7 per cent this month, the most among major Asian currencies, amid capital inflows. Overseas funds bought a net $216 million of shares on March 25. That extended this year’s inflows to $3.1 billion, the highest among eight Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg.

The Sensex also rose on optimism the central bank will not increase interest rates at its April 1 review amid an easing in consumer prices. The Reserve Bank of India will keep its repurchase rate at eight per cent, according to a survey. One sees an increase to 8.25 per cent. Retail inflation eased to a two-year low in February and wholesale prices rose by the least in nine months, official reports showed.

The Sensex is valued at 14.1 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with the average multiple of 14.5 over the past five years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index trades at 8.7 times, near the cheapest level since October 2011. 

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