India’s Sensex Index Advances Before Inflation, Production Data

India’s benchmark stock index rose the most in three weeks ahead of retail inflation and factory output data and as comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman boosted optimism about the world’s biggest economy.

ICICI Bank Ltd. climbed 3.1 percent, leading a measure of lenders to a two-week high. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. rose 1.5 percent, sending the S&P BSE India Capital Goods Index to its biggest rally in three weeks. Oil & Natural Gas Corp., the nation’s biggest explorer, increased to a one-month high.

The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.4 percent to 20,448.49 at the close. Consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in two years in January, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts, signaling central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan’s pledge to prioritize the fight against inflation may be working. A separate report may show a deceleration in factory output slowed in December. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed to a three-week high.

“We expect the consumer-price inflation to moderate,” Mayuresh Joshi, head of institutional sales at Angel Broking Ltd. in Mumbai, said in an interview to Bloomberg TV India today. “Fed chairman’s comments brought some respite to global markets, including India.”

The pace of U.S. growth has picked up and there has been “broad improvement” in the labor market, Fed Chairman Janet Yellen said yesterday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 4.6 percent in January for its worst start to a year since 2009 amid concern about the Fed’s stimulus cuts, China’s slowdown and volatility in developing markets. Global equity losses in 2014 peaked at $3 trillion on Feb. 4 and have since narrowed to $1.4 trillion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

ONGC, Tata

ICICI Bank advanced the most since Jan. 21. The S&P BSE Bankex index of lenders rose 1 percent. Bharat Heavy had the biggest gain in a week. ONGC added 2.6 percent to the highest price since Jan. 24.

Tata Steel Ltd. fell 4 percent, the most in two weeks. The company reported quarterly profit of 5.03 billion rupees ($80.8 million) after the market closed yesterday, falling short of the 6.68 billion-rupee median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Consumer prices accelerated 9.2 percent in January, the slowest pace since February 2012, according to the survey. The Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly raised the benchmark rate by a quarter-point to 8 percent on Jan. 28 to curb inflation.

Industrial output may have shrunk 1.1 percent in December, compared with 2.1 percent the previous month, a separate survey of 38 analysts showed.

Earnings Scorecard

Seventeen out of 23 Sensex companies, or 74 percent, that have reported earnings for December quarter so far have beaten or matched analyst estimates, compared with 70 percent in the September quarter and 47 percent three months earlier.

Cipla Ltd. fell to a one-week low. The drugmaker may say net income rose 13 percent from a year earlier to 3.82 billion rupees, according to a Bloomberg survey of 25 analysts.

Global investors sold a net $32 million of Indian shares on Feb. 11, taking this year’s outflow to $329 million, data compiled by Bloomberg. They invested $20 billion last year, the most in Asia after Japan, and $24.6 billion in 2012.

The Sensex has lost 3.4 percent this year and trades at 12.8 times projected 12-month profits, near the cheapest since August. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is valued at 9.3 times. The CNX Nifty Index added 0.4 percent to 6,084.

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