Bystanders react to an electronic screen displaying stock quotes outside of the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg News)

India Stocks Decline With Asia Amid Fiscal Deficit Concerns

(Bloomberg) -- India’s stocks fell, joining peers across Asia, amid concern that a potential farm relief package along with lower tax collection may worsen the fiscal health of the country.

The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 1 percent to 35,891.52 on Wednesday in Mumbai. The broad NSE Nifty 50 Index slipped 1.1 percent. Markets across Asia slipped into the red after a weak reading of China’s manufacturing data signaled slowing growth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking re-election this year, needs to shore up popular support by increasing social spending and addressing distress among farmers. There is little room to spend, since the government has already exceeded an annual budget gap target. Gross collections under the goods and services tax fell 3 percent month-on-month in December, official data showed Tuesday.

The Numbers

  • Seventeen of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined paced by a measure of metal companies
  • Housing Development Finance Corp. and Reliance Industries Ltd. were the biggest drags on the benchmark index
  • Vedanta Ltd. and Tata Steel Ltd. were the worst performers on the Sensex
  • Eicher Motors Ltd. fell as much as 9.7% on lower sales
  • Jet Airways declines as much as 7.2% after missing loan interest payment

Strategist View

  • “Lower tax collection and weak monthly vehicle sales are a matter of concern. The only factor working in favor of India is lower oil prices,” said Chokkalingam G, managing director at Equinomics Research & Advisory Pvt. in Mumbai
  • “With most large cap sectors struggling with its own set of problems, we prefer small and mid-cap companies, some of which are into unique single product, and offer a great opportunity,” Chokkalingam said

Analyst Notes/Views

  • Tata Steel Cut to Sell in a Likely Tough 2019 for Metals: CLSA
  • Indian Central Bank’s Report Seen as Positive for Lender Outlook
  • United Spirits Rated New Buy at Ashika Stock Broking
  • Somany Ceramics Raised to Buy at ICICI Securities; PT 400 Rupees

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