Markets surge on reform hope
The Sensex was up 94.94 points or 0.49% at 19,486.80, while the Nifty gained 30.40 points or 0.5% to 5930.9. The ' gains were led by interest rate-sensitive companies that added between 2% and 3% on Thursday. The Bank Nifty, the NSEís sectoral index on banks, rallied more than 1% to a two-year high.
The marketís recent rally, which was triggered by Goldman Sachs upgrading its outlook on Indian equities, is further powered by expectations that the government will strengthen its reforms stance post the FDI debate in parliament. Goldman joined other foreign brokers including JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and UBS that had raised their outlook on the Indian market in the last six months.
In fact, the Indian market has outdone not only those in BRIC peers but also most Asian counterparts. Having gained more than 5% in the last seven trading sessions, both the Sensex and Nifty, with year-to-date gains of 26-28%, are two of the best-performing emerging market indices.
In contrast, China's Shanghai Composite is the worst performer, having lost close to 8% during the year. The benchmark indices from Brazil (Bovespa) and Russia (Micex) have added a meagre 1.5% and 2.5% in 2012, in that order.
Even after its outstanding performance, the Sensex is quoting near its long-term valuations.
At the current level of about 19500, the index is trading at 17 times its 2012-13 earnings and 14 times to that of 2013-14. On a standalone basis, the Sensex valuations (price to earnings multiple) look competitive to that of Jakarta Composite and Thailand's SET but cheaper than both Taiwan's Taiex and South Korea's Kospi. While net inflow from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) so far this year was $20.7 billion, South Korea saw $12.4 billion worth of stock purchases by FIIs in the period.
In dollar terms, the Indian benchmarks fared better than Asian markets even as the rupee lost more than 3% of its value in the last 11 months and remained volatile. The dollar-term gains of the Nifty and the Sensex stand near 25%.
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