Indian markets have turned positive for the first time since the beginning of 2019. After a 250-point rally last week, supported by a 1 per cent jump in the rupee against the US dollar, the Nifty has returned 1 per cent since January 1 compared to a negative 2 per cent a week ago. In rupee terms, the index is up 1.1 per cent for the year till date.
The performance is mainly driven by the FIIs and index heavyweights like ITC, Axis Bank and RIL – up 7 per cent, 4.5 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively, in the last one week in dollar terms. In terms of year-to-date performance, these stocks are up 2.3 per cent, 16 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively. The biggest drags on the index in 2019 so far have been L&T, Maruti Suzuki and HUL – down 8.1 per cent, 7.7 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively, in dollar terms.
With the smart gains last week, India and the US are the only markets, among the 20 most followed global markets, that have given positive returns over the past one year. The Nifty has gained 0.1 per cent in the past one year and the Dow Jones Industrial Index (US market) has gained 2.3 per cent. This is despite the rupee falling almost 8 per cent against the greenback during the same period. In rupee terms, the Nifty is up 8 per cent. Also, India is the best performing market since early October, after rupee made a smart comeback against the US dollar. This will leave foreign investors, who own 45 per cent of Nifty’s free float, with very little to complain.