Indian stock markets are set to open higher on Monday as Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party is leading as the counting of votes has started for the assembly elections in the state of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Gujarat is considered a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state and a litmus test for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The early indicator of India’s key equity index NSE Nifty, SGX Nifty Futures was also trading 0.39% higher at 10,402.5 on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
Word on the street is that a strong or even a comfortable win for BJP in Gujarat will boost the market sentiment in the short term. Nifty may fly past the level of 10,490 if the actual results for BJP are even better than what exit polls showed. BJP is seeking a sixth straight term in office, the Congress is aiming to stage a comeback in power after being in the opposition for over two decades.
The much awaited results of keenly fought assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat will be out today. The counting of votes has already been started in the two states amid tight security. In both states, PM Narendra Modi led the campaign for the BJP, while Rahul Gandhi was the pivot of the Congress’ electioneering. During the campaign in Gujarat, Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah trained guns on the Congress on issues like Ram Temple, alleged Pakistani interference in the Gujarat polls and (suspended Congress leader) Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks.
The counting of votes will be held at 37 centres across the state’s 33 districts, amidst tight security. For the 182 seats up for grabs, a total of 1,828 candidates contested the elections which were held in two phases on December 9 and 14. The voting was held following an acrimonious campaign where both the main political parties indulged in no-holds-barred attacks on each other. The main contestants from the BJP are Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani (Rajkot West), Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel (Mehsana) and state BJP unit president Jitu Vaghani (Bhavnagar West). The main contenders from the Congress are Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi), Arjun Modhvadia (Porbandar), Siddharth Patel (Dabhoi), and Paresh Dhanai (Amreli).
Indian rupee gained 30 paise on Friday
The Indian rupee gained as much as 30 paise against the US dollar on Friday after most of the exit polls showed BJP winning with a clear margin in the state elections of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party was seen heading for victories in both states. As far as the state of Gujarat is concerned, almost all exit polls predicted more than 100 seats out of 182 for the BJP where the party has been positioned in power nearly for last two decades. Earlier on Friday, the Indian rupee opened 15 paise higher against the US dollar. The domestic currency rupee jumped as high as 33 paise in the afternoon trades to hit a high of 64.01 apiece US dollar. On Thursday, the Reserve Bank of India has fixed the reference rate of the rupee at 64.2798 against the US dollar and 75.9980 for the euro.
Indian stock markets ended higher on Friday
Indian stock markets closed higher on Friday after blazing in the morning trades as investors rejoiced the exit poll results which has predicted an easy win for BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. S&P BSE Sensex concluded 216.27 points or 0.65% higher at 33,462.97 whereas NSE Nifty added 81.15 points or 0.79% to settle at 10,333.25. The key equity indices Sensex and Nifty traded higher through the day. Shares of HDFC Bank, HDFC gained phenomenally ahead of board meetings in which both are mulling to look for options for fundraising in their respective board meetings scheduled on 19 and 20 December. In the intraday trade, Sensex jumped as many as 375.26 points to hit the day’s high at 33,621.96 while Nifty 50 index neared 10,400, rising by 119.55 points to hit the day’s high at 10,373.1.
US stock market on Friday
Wall Street’s three major indexes tallied record closing highs on Friday with broad gains across sectors as a long-awaited tax bill that would cut corporate tax rates looked like it would win enough support from lawmakers to pass, Reuters said in a report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 142.49 points or 0.58% to 24,651.15, the S&P 500 gained 23.62 points or 0.89% to 2,675.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 80.06 points or 1.17% to 6,936.58.