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Focus on select stocks

Investors to watch out for Covid-19 spread and partial opening up of economy
Analysts said benchmark indices may consolidate around the current levels, with attention focussed on individual stocks.

Our Special Correspondent   |   Mumbai   |   Published 19.04.20, 09:52 PM

Investors would look at corporate earnings, the trends in Covid-19 cases and a possible relief package from the Centre before putting their money on stocks. The markets fared modestly last week, going up by 1 per cent.

Analysts said benchmark indices may consolidate around the current levels, with attention focussed on individual stocks.

Investors believe the worst may be over with recent data indicating the outflow from foreign portfolio investors gradually falling.

FPIs have been net sellers in April to the tune of Rs 3,808 crore against a whopping Rs 61,973 crore in March.

“Though it is still early to say whether the bottom has already been reached and that we are now in recovery path, one is unlikely to see a repeat of the huge drop that we saw in some sessions in March,” an analyst said.

He said investor focus would continue to be on Covid-19, particularly with the partial lifting of lockdown restrictions from Monday.

“In terms of Indian equities, our base case prognosis is the benchmark indices could continue to consolidate in a broad range of 8500-9200 on Nifty for the next few weeks. The situation is still volatile and uncertain in terms of the extent of disruption in economy and businesses. Thus, it is advisable to stick to quality companies with proven track record, healthy balance sheet and stable growth outlook,” Gaurav Dua of Sharekhan by BNP Paribas said.

The country’s second largest IT services player Infosys will also declare numbers for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2019.

Here, too, the attention will be on the management commentary. The management of Tata Consultancy Services had earlier forecast a tough first and second quarters in the current fiscal with CEO Rajesh Gopinathan saying the situation will only normalise in the third quarter, a lean season for IT companies.

On Saturday, HDFC Bank declared its fourth quarter numbers, and net profits of the private sector lender came a tad below estimates.

However, provisions rose and the bank made a contingent amount of Rs 1,500 crore. Analysts continue to have a positive outlook on the stock.

“HDFC Bank is better positioned to weather the storm. However, in times of economic dislocation, it is sensible to remain conservative assessing the multiplier adverse effect of Covid-19,” analysts at ICICI Securities said.

The analysts said the bank's loan growth will moderate to 12 per cent in this fiscal, and net interest margin to contract 9 basis points because of the focus on quality, with credit cost going up 1.7 per cent.

“This leads us to cut our earnings estimate by 19 per cent. Near-term earnings impact, however, does not overshadow HDFC Bank’s balance sheet strength, franchise value and competitive advantage.”

The brokerage has a buy rating on the stock with a target price of Rs 1,339.

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