India Stocks See Worst January in Four Years Ahead of Budget
Pedestrians walk past an electronic ticker board that indicates stock figures for Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), from left, Reliance Industries Ltd., State Bank of India and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai, India (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Stocks See Worst January in Four Years Ahead of Budget

(Bloomberg) -- India’s benchmark stock index fell as it capped its worst January since 2016 as the government grapples with measures to spur the slowing economy.

The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.5% to 40,723.49 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Mumbai, resulting in a monthly loss of 1.3%, its worst such performance since July and start to the year since 2016. The NSE Nifty 50 Index fell 0.6%.

Local markets will open Saturday, enabling investors to trade as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman outlines India’s annual budget as the government seeks to revive demand. Growth in Asia’s third largest economy is at its slowest pace in more than a decade.

India Budget Seen as Modi’s Key Test to Revive Growth (Podcast)

As earnings season progresses, 14 out of 26 Nifty 50 companies that have reported results for the quarter through December have missed analyst estimates. ITC, Hindustan Unilever, and Vedanta are due to post results today.

Strategist View

“There are a lot of expectations on the positive side for the budget,” said Sanjiv Bhasin, an analyst at IIFL Securities Ltd. in Mumbai. “The recent market correction gave investors a good buying opportunity.”

The Numbers

  • Thirteen of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a gauge of oil and gas companies.
  • Nineteen Sensex shares rose while 11 fell
  • Reliance Industreies contributed most to the index decline with a 2.1% fall, ONGC had the biggest drop, falling 5.8%

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Also read: India Stocks Drift Sideways After Week of Hitting Multiple Highs

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