Indian stock-index futures swung between gains and losses as the country kicks off the world’s biggest election today. Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. may move after Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. agreed to buy the company.
SGX CNX Nifty Index futures for April delivery was little changed at 6,743 at 10:10 a.m. in Singapore after earlier gaining as much as 0.9 percent. The underlying CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. fell 0.6 percent to 6,694.35 on April 4. It climbed to records for eight straight days through April 2. The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 0.7% to 22,359.50. The Bank of New York Mellon India ADR Index of U.S.- traded shares fell 0.5 percent to 1,228.07.
Global funds pumped $11 billion into Indian debt and equities this year on the prospect that Narendra Modi’s opposition will form a stable coalition and revive Asia’s third-biggest economy. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party has seen its popularity fall as graft cases, Asia’s fastest inflation and subdued economic growth erode support.
“There is some amount of caution in the near term as markets have run up sharply. Election results may throw a bit of a surprise,” Kishor Ostwal, managing director at CNI Research Ltd., said in a phone interview today. “We expect another $10 billion of inflows at the prospect of a stable government coming to power.”
About 815 million voters, roughly the populations of the U.S. and European Union combined, are eligible to cast ballots in nine rounds of voting over the next five weeks to pick 543 lawmakers. Results will be known on May 16 in the nation of 1.2 billion people, where about two-thirds live on $2 per day.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its coalition partners are forecast as many as 246 seats in the lower house of parliament, shy of the 272 needed for a majority, according to an opinion poll released on April 4 by CNN-IBN and The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
Ranbaxy may move. Sun Pharmaceutical agreed to buy Ranbaxy in a $4 billion stock transaction to expand in the U.S. and in emerging markets. Buying Ranbaxy will help Sun, India’s largest drugmaker by market value, expand in the U.S., India and emerging markets, according to a statement today.
Overseas investors bought a net $148.6 million of Indian shares on April 3, the 16th straight day of purchases, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Sensex has climbed 5.6 percent this year and trades at 14.2 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with the average multiple of 14.5 over the past five years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index trades at 10.4 times.