Pedestrians walk near the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), left, in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Sensex at Three-Week High as Investors Focus on Elections

(Bloomberg) -- India stocks gained as investors looked beyond U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to end key trade benefits for the country and focused on the prospects of the current government in the national ballot in April-May.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.1 percent to 36,442.54, a level last seen on Feb. 8, erasing a drop of as much as 0.4 percent earlier in the day. Trump notified Congress in letters of his “intent to terminate” the trade benefits, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said in a statement. The step comes as tensions between India and Pakistan remain heightened after retaliatory border skirmishes last week. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also gained 1.1 percent.

The rally also showed up in the broader market with the index of mid-cap companies clocking its biggest gain since Dec. 12. The S&P BSE Small-cap index gained 3.1 percent, the sharpest gain since Oct. 10.

Strategist View

  • “A tough stance against a threat from Pakistan-based terrorists has won Prime Minister Narendra Modi praise from the Indian public, which in our view could translate into electoral gains for him and his Bharatiya Janata Party in national elections in May,” according to Abhishek Gupta, an economist with Bloomberg Intelligence.
  • “As geopolitical tensions ease, every dip will be a buying opportunity for investors,” said Dharmesh Kant, head of research at Indianivesh Securities Ltd.

The Numbers

  • Seventeen of the 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained led by a gauge of automobile companies; a measure of software exporters was the worst performer.
  • Tata Motors Ltd. was the best performer on benchmark gauge rising 7.6%
  • Cochin Shipyard climbs 3.7% after JSW order win.

Analyst Notes/Market-Related Stories

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