Winning streak: The recent resurgence in the US dollar index has caught the bulls by surprise after the currency had shown signs of weakness over the past two months
Benchmark equity indices came in for some profit booking on August 19 after rising for eight consecutive sessions before today tracking weakness in global equity markets.
At 12:15 pm, the Nifty 50 index was down 137.6 points or 0.8 percent at 17,819 while the BSE-Sensex was at 59,836.5, down 0.8 percent or 461.5 points.
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“The market momentum which pushed the Nifty up by 18% from the June lows is likely to face some headwinds from now on. Some profit booking and diversion of money to fixed income may be considered as a short-term strategy,” said V K Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
Here’s a look at the factors driving the market lower in today’s session:
Return of the US Dollar
The recent resurgence in the US dollar index has caught the bulls by surprise after the currency had shown signs of weakness over the past two months. The US Dollar index surged to a one-month high of 107.6 against a basket of major currencies amid comments by US Federal Reserve members that did little to support the market’s optimism for slower interest rate hikes going ahead. A strong dollar is negative for emerging market equities like India as it triggers capital outflows.
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No slowdown in rate hikes
While the Reserve Bank of India is gaining confidence that the rate hikes taken by it so far have helped ensure that inflation peaked back in April, the US Federal Reserve is yet to display such belief despite retail inflation cooling in July. Fed members William Dudley and Neil Kashkari on August 18 reasserted the stance that they would support a 75-basis-point rate hike in the September meeting and maintain the current pace in 2022.
Windfall gains tax
The government’s decision to hike the special additional excise duty on export diesel and jet fuel from August 19 came as a rude shock for investors, particularly, those of Reliance Industries. Shares of the highest-weighted index stock, RIL, fell 1.3 percent during the session and were the top laggard on the Nifty 50 index.
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The near 18 percent surge in the Nifty 50 and Sensex from their year’s low hit in mid-June coupled with very minor downgrades to corporate earnings following the June quarter earnings season have again made Indian equities among the most expensive in Asia. “The elevated valuations do not justify further run-up in markets,” V.K. Vijaykumar said.
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Disclosure: MoneyControl is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.
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