Indian Stocks Climb as GST Bill Optimism Lifts Logistics Firms

  • State-run lenders gain as RBI seen lowering borrowing costs
  • Tata Consultancy reports 1Q profit that exceeds estimates

Indian stocks climbed for a fourth day in volatile trading amid renewed optimism that the goods-and-services tax bill, one of the country’s biggest economic reforms in decades, may be passed in the parliament session beginning next week.

Gati Ltd. surged 9.5 percent to a 11-month high and Transport Corp of India Ltd. rallied to a record, pacing gains among logistics companies that would benefit from the unified tax bill. Canara Bank led state-owned lenders higher on speculation the yet-to-be-named central bank chief will lean towards a looser monetary policy. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Asia’s top software exporter, rose for fourth day before reporting results that beat estimates.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.5 percent to its highest level since Aug. 14, after changing direction at least 12 times before noon. The main opposition Congress party will meet the government Friday to discuss the GST bill before the parliament session begins Monday, CNBC Television reported. The Congress party has blocked the passage of the bill in the upper house where it is in majority for more than a year, delaying the conversion of the country into a single market.

“The Congress appears to have softened its stand," said Abhimanyu Sofat, founder of Mumbai-based AdviseSure Ventures Pvt. Banks rallied amid progress of the monsoon and demand for companies most-tied to the economy, he said.

The Sensex also tracked developing markets as optimism over prospects for stimulus in major economies boosted demand for riskier assets. Emerging-market stocks headed for the longest winning streak since April, sending valuations to the highest level in more than a year.

Earnings Season

Tata Consultancy rose 1.2 percent. Net income rose to 63.2 billion rupees ($944 million) in the June quarter, the Mumbai-based company said after trading ended, becoming the first Sensex member to report. The results beat the 60.6 billion-rupee mean of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Infosys Ltd., India’s second-biggest technology exporter, and Reliance Industries Ltd., owner of the world’s largest refining complex, report results on Friday.

The Sensex’s 22 percent rebound from a February low has left it trading at 16.4 times projected 12-months profits, or 15 percent higher than its five-year average. Investors are focused on company earnings to validate whether valuations are justified.

“The rally we’ve seen since February will depend on how the earnings momentum pans out,” Kaushik Dani, a fund manager at Karvy Stock Broking Ltd. in Mumbai, said by phone. “For the next two weeks we will have India’s top companies announcing earnings, and that will determine if the rally continues.”

Gati climbed to its highest level since Aug. 11. About 5 million shares of the company changed hands today on the NSE. Transport Corp. jumped 5.6 percent, extending this year’s gain to 19 percent. State Bank of India gained 1.9 percent, while Bank of Baroda climbed 2.2 percent to its highest since Dec. 7. Canara Bank jumped 6.3 percent.

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