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

Stock Rally Leaves Indian Investors Low in Two-Faced Market

(Bloomberg) -- The benchmark equity gauge of India’s 50 biggest companies reclaimed the 11,000 level after four months on Wednesday, but not all investors are celebrating.

Only a handful of stocks, including Reliance Industries Ltd. and software exporters Infosys Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. have driven the gains in the NSE Nifty 50 Index since the year started. What’s more, about 40 percent of the gauge’s members are trading below their prices from three months ago, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Anemic breadth among frontline stocks aside, confidence in the broader market has also been busted recently by the meltdown in stocks teeming with risky debt. The Nifty Midcap 100 Index has slid to near its lowest level since October, led by companies such as Dewan Housing Finance Corp. that lost almost half its market value last week and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd., which plunged 32 percent on Wednesday.

Stock Rally Leaves Indian Investors Low in Two-Faced Market

“It is a bipolar market where the main index has gained but bulk of the stocks remain in negative territory,” said Dharmesh Kant, head of research at Mumbai-based Indianivesh Securities Ltd. “The uncertainty around elections, concerns regarding leveraged companies and possible debt defaults is dragging down the broader market.”

Why are some of the biggest names in the Nifty rising? The answer lies in the flows from global exchange-traded funds, which typically deploy cash in few heavyweights in times of uncertainty, Kant said. Foreigners have bought a net $144 million shares this month after withdrawing $75 million in January.

The market may begin to broaden now that the Nifty has reclaimed the key psychological level of 11,000, some analysts who study stock price moves say. A widely expected shift in the central bank’s policy stance to neutral at its rate decision due Thursday may also help turn the sentiment, according to Angel Broking Ltd.

“We expect the Nifty to hasten towards 11,200 and won’t be surprised to see the index extend the move toward 11,400 in the next few days,” Angel said in a note Wednesday.

The gauge rose 0.3 percent to 11,094.1 in a sixth day of gain at 9:39 a.m. in Mumbai, set for the longest winning streak since December.

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