Indian Stocks Fluctuate Amid Derivatives Expiry, Policy Meetings

  • Axis Bank leads lenders lower after profit misses estimates
  • Bharti Airte rallies ahead of earnings; Adani Ports top gainer

Indian equities fluctuated as investors awaited policy decisions from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan and the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts on Thursday.

Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. increased the most in two months. Bharti Airtel Ltd., the largest mobile-phone operator, rose to an eight-month high before its quarterly results later Wednesday. Axis Bank Ltd. dropped the most in a month after its net income missed estimates. ICICI Bank Ltd. and State Bank of India were among the worst performers on the S&P BSE Sensex.

The Sensex added 0.2 percent to 26,064.12 at the close, changing direction at least 15 times. A 13 percent rally from a February low sent the gauge above its 200-day moving average this week for the first time in eight months. That has pushed up its valuation to the highest since August. The index is just 0.2 percent away from erasing this year’s loss.

“Global factors and the local earnings are the two overhangs on the market, which is witnessing expiry-related volatility,” Chokkalingam G., managing director at Equinomics Research & Advisory Pvt. in Mumbai, said in a phone interview. “Indian economic macros are getting better and the earnings so far have been slightly better than expectations.”

Traders rolled over 51 percent of the NSE Nifty 50 Index futures contracts to the May series that starts Friday, versus a six-month mean of 57 percent, data show. The Nifty index rose 0.2 percent. The monthly derivatives futures expire on last Thursday of every month.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.7 percent. The gauge is up about 16 percent from this year’s low in February amid optimism the Fed will be patient with increases to interest rates, while Japan’s central bank steps up measures to shore up its economy.

Earnings Scorecard

Bharti Airtel may report fourth-quarter profit of 12.3 billion rupees, according to the median estimate of 20 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. That compares with net profit of 12.6 billion rupees in the same period a year earlier. The shares surged 3.5 percent.

Axis Bank reported after market hours that fourth-quarter profit was 21.5 billion rupees, missing the 23.3 billion rupees estimated by 28 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The shares tumbled 3.1 percent, the most since March 28.

So far, four out of seven Sensex companies that have reported March-quarter results beat or matched estimates.

ICICI Bank tumbled 3.7 percent, while State Bank declined 2.4 percent.

Adani Ports soared 5.1 percent, the best performer on the Sensex. Oil & Natural Gas Corp., the largest state-owned explorer, advanced the most since Feb. 18 as U.S. crude climbed above $45 a barrel for the first time since November.

Global funds bought $400 million of Indian stocks this month, adding to their biggest monthly purchase in three years in March. The Sensex has risen 2.9 percent this month and trades at 16.1 times 12-month projected earnings versus 11.9 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

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