Market Outlook – Feb’23

Budget and uncertainties.

The markets in the month of Jan consolidated by about ~3% and it performed exactly as per our expectation and traded between 18150 and 17600 levels even after the initial consolidation due to some distress caused by the bombshell report from Hindenburg research on Adani. The Indian market was the worst performer among its global peers since the start of the year mainly due to the shock waves caused by the report on Adani having a spillover effect and some lower-than-expected earnings reports. The FIIs last month were net sellers and solve ~41k Crs worth of equity some of this selling was offset by DIIs who bought more than 33.4k Crs worth of equity. Nifty closed out at 17662 levels and Sensex closed out at 69550 levels.

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Sectorial performance

Looking at the sectorial performance for the month of Jan, most sectors underperformed. However, there were a few sectors that performed positively i.e. IT, FMCG, and Auto. The domestic CV wholesale volumes registered positive momentum with 9% YoY growth in Jan23, which was driven by the pickup in infrastructure spending and replacement demand by fleet operators. The domestic PV wholesale volumes grew 21% YoY and 30% MoM due to demand momentum in the SUV segment with multiple new launches this year. The budget’s Logistic focus on 100 critical transport infrastructure projects for last and first-mile connectivity for ports, coal, steel, fertilizer, and food grains sectors is positive for the auto sector. Major steel players have taken hikes since the beginning of CY23, resulting in HRC price in traders’ market rising above Rs. 60,000/te (the highest level in past 7 months) in the week ending 2nd Feb23 due to the increased lucrativeness of export market and anticipation of demand firming up in infrastructure segment which is a positive for the sector. In Q3FY23 so far, IT companies have reported better-than-expected results and their guidance also has been encouraging. Also, banks continue to report improvement in their asset quality. Coming to the sectors which we expect to do well this month are Consumer goods, Auto and Banking. 

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Important events & Updates

A few important events of the last month and upcoming ones are as below:

  1. Union was announced by our FM on the 1st of Feb and we have posted the detailed macro and personal finance impacts on our recent post so we would recommend our clients to go through it.
  2. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) increased the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.5%, in line with market expectations. Consequently, the revised Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) stood at 6.25% and Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) at 6.75%.
  3. The committee has lowered the CPI inflation expectation to 6.5% for FY23.
  4. The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, compiled by S&P Global, dipped to 55.4 in January from December’s 57.8. It was lower than the consensus estimate of 57.4 but despite the slight loss of momentum, the sector looks set to at least remain in expansion mode and this is the 19th consecutive 50-plus print for India’s manufacturing PMI which are positive.
  5. The Current Account Deficit (CAD) has witnessed signs of improvement and stood at 3.3% of GDP during the first half of FY2022-23.
  6. Net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows remained strong at $22.3 billion during April-Dec22 (vs. $24.8 billion in the corresponding period last year).
  7. Foreign exchange reserves have rebounded back from $524.5 billion to $576.8 billion as of 27th Jan23, covering around 9.4 months of projected imports for FY22-23.
  8. The deposit Growth rate increased to 10.5% in Jan 2023 compared to 9.2% in the previous month.
  9. India’s services PMI for Jan has come in above the key level of 50 and rose to 57.2, indicating a sharp increase in output.

Outlook for the Indian Market

Domestic economic activity is expected to remain resilient, aided by the sustained focus on capital and infrastructure spending in the Union Budget 2023-24, even as continuing fiscal consolidation creates space for private investment. The easing of inflation in the last two months was driven by strong deflation in vegetables may dissipate in the coming months the headline inflation has been rising well above the upper tolerance band and remaining elevated, which is a significant risk to the outlook in the short term hence MPC meet this month decided to increase the policy repo rate by 25 bps to 6.5% remaining focused on the withdrawal of accommodation to ensure that inflation remains within the target, going forward while supporting growth. Overall liquidity still remains in surplus, with average daily absorption under the LAF increasing to 1.6 lakh Cr during December-January from an average of 1.4 lakh Cr in October-November which will also help curb inflation. Based on the comments from the MPC we expect the rate hike cycle to be behind us and see a pause going forward unless there is a massive disruption in the macro factors. The RBI has taken several developmental measures such as i) In order to provide further impetus to the TReDS platforms and to aid cash flows of MSMEs, It has expanded the scope by permitting insurance facility on TReDS platform, ii) proposed to permit all inbound travelers to India to access UPI for their merchant payments, iii) To further enhance transparency, reasonableness, and consumer protection, draft guidelines on levy of penal charges will be issued to obtain comments from stakeholders, this may impact a few NBFCS having high penal charges currently and help consumers. All of the high-frequency macroeconomic indicators are giving a positive signal and this coupled with various regulatory changes and initiatives undertaken recently in the budget and the MPC meet have a stabilizing and supporting effect on the Indian markets in the medium to long term. The outlook for this month on fundamental & technicals is explained.

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Fundamental outlook: The month of Jan initially saw some volatility and sideways movement but the Hindenburg’s bombshell report caused carnage in Adani group stocks and wiped out 10 lakh crore in less than a month, this caused some of the other companies that had exposure to Adani group to fall which caused the Market as a whole to consolidate by around 3%. However, we believe this incident to be isolated and won’t affect our fundamental outlook on the Indian Markets in the medium to long term. Based on the Union Budget announcements, the government has continued its thrust on Capital Expenditure by allocating an outlay of Rs.10 lakh Cr but the execution capabilities are still a question. Strong credit growth, resilient financial markets, and the government’s continued thrust on capital spending and infrastructure will create a friendly environment for investment but the external demand is likely to be dented by a slowdown in global activity in the near term.

Technical outlook. The Indian market was the worst performer in Jan compared to its global peers. Most of the high-frequency indicators such as CPI, PMI, credit growth, etc. are providing positive signals. The MPC will continue monitoring the economic indicators and RBI will continue to ensure price and financial stability while supporting growth. Looking at the technicals there is immediate resistance at 18300 and major resistance around 18800 levels for the month of Feb. There is immediate support at 17000 levels and major support at 16500 levels. The RSI for the Nifty 50 is around 60 which signifies that it is in the moderate zone.

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Outlook for the Global Market

The IMF has made a slight increase to its global growth outlook for 2023, due to “surprisingly resilient” demand in the United States and Europe, easing energy costs, and the reopening of China’s economy after Beijing abandoned its strict COVID-19 restrictions. It still sees the pace of global growth falling this year compared with 2022, but by a smaller margin than it predicted in October. The IMF is now forecasting 2.9% growth for 2023 – up from a 2.7% forecast in October versus 3.4% growth last year. The US government reported on the state of the labor market in January, many observers had expected a continued deceleration in employment growth but instead, it showed an unbelievably strong jobs report with more than 500,000 jobs created in January and a decline in the unemployment rate to 3.4%. There was an increase in the labor participation rate in January and also the number of employed grew faster than the number of labor market participants which caused a decrease in the unemployment rate. These conflicting signals caused the Federal Reserve to boost the Federal Funds rate by 25 basis points. Since the FED sees the job market as the indicator for robust growth it might further increase interest rates going forward which may cause equity prices to fall while bond yields increase on expectations of further rate hikes amid underlying inflationary pressure. Looking at the Eurozone, its real GDP grew 3.5% in 2022 versus the year-earlier which was faster than the United States and China last year which was contrary to the expectations based on the geopolitical situation. Inflation in the Eurozone continued to decelerate in January, entirely due to an easing of energy prices. Last week, monetary policy in Europe became much tighter, with both the ECB and the Bank of England (BOE) raising their benchmark interest rates by 50 bps. Looking at China, its forecast was upgraded this month to 5% owing to the removal of the ‘zero covid’ policy and positive indication from its high-frequency indicators which have recently rebounded but they still remain below pre-pandemic norms.

Outlook for Gold

In the month of Jan, the Gold market performed positively by around ~1.2% and the demand for gold as a hedge against uncertainties still remains strong especially now since fears of a recession still remain in the advanced economies. The outlook for gold remains slightly positive to neutral for the near term.

What should Investors do?

Even though it’s a new year the same uncertainties still persist and India’s economy is expected to navigate uncertainties in 2023 in relatively good shape on the back of resilient consumer demand, better corporate performance, and the abating of inflation, even as the year is likely to be full of challenges. The Budget for 2023 is more of a stabilizing one rather than fully growth-oriented. Nifty50 is relatively trading at a premium valuation compared to other global equity indices due to solid fundamentals, strong macroeconomic indicators, and easing inflation. The pace of increase of interest rate, due to moderation of inflation is expected to reduce in the coming months. The private sector balance sheet has improved over the past couple of years, implying that the private sector is poised to increase spending, which can boost capex as and when the investment cycle picks up. However, along with all the positives, there are a few factors such as inflation and aggressive tightening in advanced economies which will have a big impact on the Indian IT sector since they depend on them for a significant portion of their revenue which might derail the growth expectations.

To conclude based on the above global and domestic macros; we expect the Indian markets to be volatile and may perform positively in the coming month. After considering all the factors we would recommend the investors to add quality stocks based on fundamentals if they are available at a relative discount.


This article should not be construed as investment advice, please consult your Investment Adviser before making any sound investment decision.

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