Indian shares rise on boost from IT, Adani group stocks

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s Nifty 50 and Sensex rose on Wednesday, led by gains in IT companies ahead of quarterly results and boosted by a jump in some Adani group stocks on the conglomerate’s plan for a $24 billion investment.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 gained 0.34% to 21,618.70 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex added 0.38% to 71,657.71. Both the benchmarks lost about 0.5% each, before reversing gains in the final hour.

IT stocks rose 0.5%. Market leaders TCS and Infosys are due to report quarterly results on Thursday, kicking off the earnings season in earnest.

While their results are expected to be subdued due to weak spending by key U.S. clients, the forecasts will be in focus. In that regard, U.S. inflation data on Thursday is key. A soft print will likely fortify bets of a rate cut in March, making stocks generally, and IT companies in particular, attractive.

The overall earnings season is critical with valuations at all-time highs. The Nifty 50’s PE ratio (price-to-earnings) is 22.6 times one-year forward earnings, well above the five-year average of 21.6.

“The markets are too stretched right now. An earnings-led consolidation or mild correction is required and likely in the next few weeks,” said Aneesh Srivastava, chief investment officer at Esquire Capital Advisors.

Nifty constituents Adani Enterprises and Adani Ports rose 2.77% and 1.44%, respectively, after group chairman Gautam Adani announced a $24 billion investment in five years in green energy and renewable energy in the state of Gujarat.

Adani Green Energy gained 2.37%.

The Nifty laggards included ONGC and Bharat Petroleum, which along with Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil slid 1.0%-2.2% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stocks on earnings and valuation concerns.

Consumer stocks fell 0.40%, dropping for the fourth session since Marico and Godrej Consumer warned of weak rural demand hitting sales. ($1 = 83.0211 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman, Varun H K and Savio D’Souza)