Indian stock indices at their peak; analysts feel high valuations a concern

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): Indian stock indices traded largely steady on Thursday morning after their all-time highs reached in the previous session. Meanwhile, analysts cautioned high valuation may keep investors at bay for the time being.

Sensex was just 14 points lower and Nifty points higher at the time of writing this report. Among Nifty sectoral, Nifty auto, Nifty metal, and Nifty media jumped while Nifty IT, and Nifty FMCG among others tanked.
On Wednesday, the benchmark index Sensex, which has been buoyant over the past several sessions, touched its all-time high. The rise in domestic stocks is in tune with the global market rally and firm domestic macro fundamentals.

Sensex touched its record high of 63,588 points to later settle at 63,523 points, up 0.31 per cent. Sensex, so far, accumulated 4 per cent returns this year, rising about 23 per cent over the past 12 months.

Strong fundamentals including a firm GDP outlook, moderate inflation, and strong purchases by foreign investors saw the markets trading in the green.

VK Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services cautioned a sustained rally beyond the record highs is difficult since current valuations of stocks in India are, according to him, rich.

Going ahead, the slow progress of the southwest monsoon may remain a concern for the financial markets. Monsoon, typically, has a bearing on the country’s economic outlook.

Southwest Monsoon hit India on June 8, arriving in Kerala a week after the scheduled onset of June 1 and its progress so far has been patchy and uneven.

The monsoon normally hits Kerala on June 1, with a standard deviation of about seven days. It is crucial, especially for the Kharif crops. The country has three cropping seasons — summer, kharif, and rabi.

“India stands out among emerging markets with the best growth-inflation balance. However, the big wall of worry is the rich valuation, which might invite institutional selling beyond a point,” added Vijayakumar.

Meanwhile. stocks in the US finished lower on Wednesday for a third straight day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that policymakers still expect more interest-rate increases this year to combat inflation — doubling down on his hawkish tone that the central bank isn’t done with its aggressive monetary tightening campaign.

“Inflation has moderated somewhat since the middle of last year. Nonetheless, inflation pressures continue to run high, and the process of getting inflation back down to 2 percent has a long way to go,” Powell said Wednesday as part of its ‘Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress’.

The US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee had recently paused the key interest rate. The policy rate has been maintained at 5.0-5.25 per cent, which was near zero after the outbreak of COVID-19, in the fight against inflation. Raising interest rates suppress demand and typically helps in reducing inflation.