Indian Stocks Retreat for Fourth Day as GST Bill Debate Begins

  • Upper house to vote on goods-and-services tax post discussion
  • Crude slips to below $40, triggering global risk-off trade

Indian stocks dropped the most in a month amid losses in emerging-market equities and as investors turned cautious before lawmakers began debating the unified sales tax bill.

The S&P BSE Sensex tumbled 1 percent at the close in a fourth day of losses, the longest losing run in seven weeks. A gauge of mid-cap stocks had its steepest drop in more than five months, with property developers and automakers ending in the red.

The Sensex last week capped its fifth month of gains last week, fueled by $1.7 billion of foreign inflows in July, and the mid-cap index rose to a record Monday as the government inched closer to getting clearance for the passage of the goods-and-services tax bill. The advance sent valuations of the medium-sized companies to levels last seen in early 2008, a year that saw Indian equities suffer their worst-ever annual loss.

“The GST news is fully in the price and our valuations are high,” said Chokkalingam G., managing director at Mumbai-based Equinomics Research & Advisory Pvt. “Global factors also weighed on the market.”

A gauge of global stocks declined for a third day as a rebound in European banks failed to trigger a broader recovery. Emerging markets sank and the ringgit weakened with crude holding below $40 a barrel. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index plunged 1.9 percent.

India’s upper house of parliament began debating on the GST bill, ending a decade-long wait for the passage of India’s biggest tax reform. The lawmakers will vote on the bill, which has already been passed by the lower house. Once implemented, the tax will go a long way in fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to make it easier to do business in the world’s fastest-growing big economy.

The levy can boost economic growth by as much as 2 percentage points, according to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The benefits will start to show up gradually in the year starting April 1, 2017.

Tata Motors Ltd., owner of Jaguar Land Rover, and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., the largest carmaker, were among the top losers on the Sensex. ITC Ltd. declined the most since April, while Hindustan Unilever Ltd., the biggest household products maker, fell for the first time in six days.

Power Grid Corp. slid the most in two weeks. Housing Development Finance Corp. declined for a fourth day. Reliance Industries Ltd., owner of the world’s largest refining complex, retreated 1.9 percent. Larsen & Toubro Ltd., the largest engineering company, decreased to a five-week low.

The Sensex is valued at 16.1 times 12-month estimated earnings, near the highest since April 2015. A gauge for emerging-markets nations trades at a multiple of 12.1, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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