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Traders Roll Over Fewer India Nifty Bets Amid Valuation Concerns

Derivatives traders in India rolled over fewer contracts in the S&P CNX Nifty Index this month amid concern the recent gains have made equity valuations expensive.

Open interest, or the number of outstanding contracts in the index futures, totaled 409,338 at 10:59 a.m. Mumbai time, compared with 522,724 on Dec. 26, a day before the end of the December series, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Rollovers in Nifty futures were at 53.24 percent, compared with the three-month average of 53.73 percent, the data showed.

The Nifty is valued at 15.8 times estimated earnings, the highest reading since February 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a multiple of 10.9 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. The Indian gauge is up 2.5 percent this year, after jumping 28 percent in 2012, as government measures to lift growth prompted foreigners to buy a net $3.7 billion of local shares in 2013, a record for the period, the data show.

“Traders are bracing for consolidation after the recent stocks rally,” Siddarth Bhamre, head of derivatives at Angel Broking Ltd., said by phone from Mumbai. “The risk of a big decline is low” because of a drop in the number of outstanding positions, he said.

The Nifty retreated 0.1 percent to 6,051.7. Its February futures traded at 6,081.7, down 0.2 percent.

Indian derivative contracts expire on the last Thursday of every month.

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