Indian stock indices traded relatively steady on Thursday morning following their recent all-time highs. However, analysts have cautioned that high valuations may deter investors from entering the market at this time. The Sensex and Nifty indices showed minor fluctuations, with some sectors experiencing gains while others declined. Despite the positive momentum driven by global market rallies and strong domestic macro fundamentals, concerns over rich valuations cast a shadow on the sustained rally.
Market Performance and All-Time Highs:
At the time of writing, the Sensex was marginally lower by 14 points, while the Nifty points showed a slight increase. Notably, Nifty auto, Nifty metal, and Nifty media sectors witnessed gains, while Nifty IT and Nifty FMCG, among others, faced declines. On the previous day, the Sensex, India’s benchmark index, reached its all-time high. The index touched a record level of 63,588 points before settling at 63,523 points, representing a 0.31 percent increase. Year-to-date, the Sensex has accumulated 4 percent returns, showing a remarkable 23 percent surge over the past 12 months.
Strong Fundamentals and Cautionary Note:
The Indian market’s positive performance can be attributed to strong fundamentals, including a favorable GDP outlook, moderate inflation, and robust foreign investor activity. However, VK Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services, expressed caution regarding a sustained rally beyond the record highs. He highlighted that stock valuations in India are considered rich, making it challenging for the market to sustain further gains. While India stands out among emerging markets with a balanced growth-inflation profile, the concern over high valuations could lead to institutional selling, according to Vijayakumar.
US Market Performance and Monetary Policy:
In contrast, the US stock market experienced a third consecutive day of decline as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated expectations of further interest rate increases to combat inflation. Powell’s hawkish stance on the central bank’s monetary tightening campaign contributed to the negative sentiment. He emphasized that although inflation has moderated to some extent, inflationary pressures remain high, and the process of bringing it back to the desired 2 percent level is still underway. The US Federal Reserve’s recent decision to maintain the key interest rate at 5.0-5.25 percent reflects their commitment to combating inflation. Raising interest rates is typically aimed at reducing inflation by suppressing demand.
While Indian stock indices traded steadily after reaching record highs, concerns about high valuations loom over the market. The positive performance has been driven by strong fundamentals and global market rallies. However, cautionary statements from analysts regarding rich valuations in India could potentially impact the market’s sustained rally. In the US, stock markets experienced declines as Federal Reserve Chairman Powell emphasized the central bank’s commitment to combatting inflation through further interest rate increases. The trajectory of both markets will continue to be influenced by factors such as inflation, monetary policy decisions, and investor sentiment.