Indian stock-index futures gained after the benchmark equity gauge declined for a second week.
SGX CNX Nifty Index futures for March delivery added 0.5 percent to 6,541 at 10:33 a.m. in Singapore. The underlying CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. climbed less than 0.1 percent to 6,494.90 on March 22 in a special 90-minute trading session to test disaster management and recovery measures. The S&P BSE Sensex (SENSEX) advanced less than 0.1 percent. The Bank of New York Mellon India ADR Index of U.S.-traded shares fell 0.5 percent on March 21.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.9 percent today, poised for the biggest advance in a month. The Sensex is the best performer this year among the four largest emerging markets including China, Russia and Brazil amid speculation national elections starting next month will deliver a government with the mandate to revive economic growth from a decade low.
“Foreign inflows have been very strong and that’s supporting our market,” Kishor Ostwal, managing director at CNI Research Ltd., said in a phone interview today. “India is attractive compared to other emerging markets as our macroeconomic fundamentals are improving and there’s a buzz around the election.”
Overseas funds bought a net $123 million of Indian shares on March 20, extending this year’s inflows to $1.9 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. They bought $20 billion last year, the most in Asia after Japan, the data show.
The Sensex has risen 2.8 percent this year and trades at 13.9 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with the average multiple of 14.5 over the past five years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has declined 5.4 percent this year and is valued at 9.1 times.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party is headed for its worst-ever electoral performance as elevated price pressures, slowing growth and a series of corruption scandals erode support, opinion polls show. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, favored by investors seeking growth revival, may secure as many as 232 parliament seats, according to a poll released March 6 by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. That’s one more from the last survey in January.
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