A security officer stands guard next to a bronze bull statue at the entrance to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai. (Photographer: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg)

Weekly Wrap: Bank Stocks Help Sensex, Nifty Clock Year’s Best Weekly Gains

Indian equity benchmarks clocked their longest stretch of weekly gains since November, driven by banking and financial services stocks.

The S&P BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty 50 Index gained 1.68 percent and 1.58 percent this week at 36,671.43 and 11,035.40, respectively. On Friday, the 31-share index and the 50-stock gauge, however, ended 0.15 percent and 0.21 percent lower, respectively, halting a four-day rally.

Weekly Wrap: Bank Stocks Help Sensex, Nifty Clock Year’s Best Weekly Gains

The stocks of financial services companies rallied after the government’s announcement to provide liquidity to non-bank lenders, according to Debabrata Bhattacharjee, head of research at CapitalAim. Companies like Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd., Dewan Hosuing Finance Corporation Ltd. and Bajaj Finserv Ltd. are likely to benefit, he said.

“The Indian equity market is likely to remain slightly positive on account of steady foreign inflows. However, global cues and the upcoming general election are likely to keep the index volatile,” he said. The Nifty, according to Bhattacharjee, could touch 11,080-11,120 and even hit 11,200.

Also, the equity market will track the consumer price index and wholesale price index data in the coming week, he said. “The U.S. retail sales and China’s industrial production are the key international events to watch out for in the next week.”

Also, in the broader market, the NSE Nifty 500 Index rose for the second straight week to end 1.92 percent higher, led by Manpasand Beverages Ltd. and Repco Home Finance Ltd.

Seven out of the 11 sectoral gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange fell, led by a 1.5 percent drop in the NSE Nifty Metal Index. On the flip side, the NSE Nifty Realty Index was the biggest gainer, up 0.19 percent.

How The Rupee Fared

The Indian rupee halted its three-day winning run and edged lower by 14 paise to close at 70.14 against the U.S. dollar on Friday, in line with the fall in domestic equities market. On a weekly basis, however, the domestic currency appreciated 78 paise.

Also read: Flow-Driven Rally in Indian Rupee May Run Into Election Wall

Big Talking Points This Week

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  • The rare flavors of North East India
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  • GMR group didn’t write down Rs 2,250-crore investments despite auditor’s red flag.
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  • A crucial source of funding for Indian founders is drying up.
  • April 1 date set for availing increased GST exemption limit, composition scheme.
  • Getting driving licenses in Delhi to get tougher with these tests.
  • The economic pressures behind the latest India-Pakistan clash.
  • ECB injects more stimulus as Draghi reveals slashed forecast.
  • Inflows into equity mutual funds fall for fourth straight month.
  • Giants of India Inc. wade into rupee bond market as costs drop.
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Women’s Week Special:

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Meanwhile, don’t forget to catch all the BQ Blue Exclusives here.

Key Events To Watch Next Week

  • March 9: Election Commission to announce dates for 2019 general elections.
  • March 12: CPI Inflation for February.
  • March 14: WPI Inflation for February.
  • March 14: Supreme Court to hear Rafale case.
  • March 14: OPEC Oil production and demand forecasts.
  • March 15: February trade data.