|Indian stock markets may stay steady following global peers but domestic macro-economic data may weigh on sentiment on Tuesday. Asian stocks and Wall Street futures inched higher as some investors held out hope that Britain still had a chance to avoid a messy exit from the European Union at key negotiations this week.|
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.01%. Australian shares were up 0.12%, while Japan's Nikkei stock index rose 1.38%. US stock futures rose 0.19% on Tuesday in Asia after the S&P 500 ended 0.14% lower.
Capping the broader gains, however, was a perceived lack of progress coming out of US-China trade negotiations. Reports of a “Phase 1" trade deal between the United States and China last week had earlier cheered markets but the dearth of details around the agreement has since curbed this enthusiasm with oil prices extending declines and the safe-haven yen holding gains versus dollar.
The focus has now shifted to Europe where officials from Britain and the EU will meet at a make-or-break summit on Thursday and Friday that will determine whether or not Britain is headed for a so-called no-deal Brexit.
However, sentiment may remain fragile because the outcome of Brexit talks is far from certain and the US-China trade war remains a risk to global growth.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to strike an exit deal at an EU summit on Thursday and Friday to allow an orderly departure on 31 October.
The main sticking point remains the border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which belongs to the UK. Some EU politicians have expressed guarded optimism that a deal can be reached. However, diplomats from the EU have indicated they are pessimistic about Johnson’s proposed solution for the border and want more concessions.
Back home, India’s retail inflation sharply accelerated in September to a 14-month high at 3.99% as food inflation nearly doubled to 5.1%. Data separately released by the industry department on Monday, however, showed that wholesale price inflation decelerated to a three-year low at 0.33% in September compared with 1.08% a month ago.
Among stocks, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) will be eyed as the company reported a 23.4% increase in its consolidated net profit to ₹1,818 crore and net sales rose 6.07% to ₹9,931 crore during the July-September quarter. Domestic consumer growth was 7%, with underlying volume growth at 5%.
Wipro will announce its September quarter results on Tuesday.
Adani Gas Ltd stock will be in focus as Total SA has agreed to acquire a 37.4% stake in the city gas distributor for around ₹5,700 crore, in the French energy major’s biggest bet on India’s clean energy push.
Meanwhile, a bankruptcy appeals court on Monday halted the transfer of Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd to JSW Steel Ltd and stayed the Enforcement Directorate’s move to attach assets of the insolvent steel maker, scuttling hopes of a swift resolution of the distressed asset.
In the currency market, sterling held steady at $1.2608, below a three-month high of $1.2708. The yen, often considered a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty, edged higher to 108.40 per dollar. A perceived lack of progress in resolving a prolonged trade row between the United States and China also weighed on investor confidence.
The United States agreed to delay a 15 October increase in tariffs on Chinese goods while Beijing said it would buy as much as $50 billion of US agricultural products after tense negotiations last week. However, the US has left in place tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods.
US crude dipped 0.22% to $53.47. Prices had declined 2% overnight due to worries that global energy demand will remain weak.