MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies are forecast to sweep to a parliamentary majority in the world's biggest-ever election, two exit polls showed on Monday.
Research group C-Voter predicted 289 seats for the National Democratic Alliance headed by the BJP, while another poll, by Cicero for the India Today group, showed the NDA hitting between 261 and 283 seats.
Other media organizations were due to post their results later on Monday.
A majority of 272 is needed to form a government, although that is often achieved with outside support from regional parties. Official results will be out on Friday.
Still, several national exit polls over-estimated the BJP's seat share in the last two general elections in 2004 and 2009. The ruling Congress party went on to form coalition governments on both occasions.
SALMAN AHMED, GLOBAL FIXED INCOME STRATEGIST, LOMBARD ODIER
"A lot of expectation-based flows have come through. Looking through the noise, if the base scenario (BJP majority) happens, two things change structurally - first, you get a pro-investment government and one that is focused on infrastructure.
"A strong government that understands the need for infrastructure should be able to get reforms in place and put in place the conditions for long-term growth.
If you have get a scenario of less than 200 seats every asset will sell off."
"Currently markets are in a honeymoon mood on expectations of a stable government post-elections.
However, it will be a huge task for any new government to rev up the economy given inflation is picking up and recovery likely to be marginal only after October.
In terms of fiscal policy the government won't be able to pump in much funds as tax revenues may not be buoyant. There could be some correction in equity markets once this harsh reality meets the current perception."
"Any clear majority with fewer coalition partners is good news from the perspective of creating an enabling environment for economy to grow. However, it is premature to pronounce with conviction at this juncture. All eyes are on May 16.
The priority would clearly be reviving investment sentiment and business climate and this could be enabled by clarity on policies which are stalling investments at the moment, including the investments in the pipeline.
However, it's not a magic wand, that with BJP coming to power, problems are going to disappear instantly.
It would take a while for the economy to come around on a mending track. And, as such, the recovery process would be a gradual one. So while FY15 GDP could still remain between 5 percent and 6 percent, it is only that the prospects for the subsequent year begin to look better."
"If the NDA government wins with a clear majority and Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister, there will be increased thrust on execution, speed and co-ordination.
We have a lot of FIIs (foreign institutional investors) who have invested in India with a long-term horizon. If there is confidence about the government, and the reforms that they plan to undertake, we will also start attracting a lot of FDI.
The implications of a strong NDA government at the centre is that the quality and composition of the capital flows will improve, which will in turn improve the comfort on the external sector front."
"I think you should see positive upward movement in equity markets. You will actually see custodial flows coming in from outside India. That will also bring in little bit of strength in rupee. It may go below 59.50 per dollar and could test 59.25-59.30 on Wednesday.
You should see resonance from equities into government bonds, with yields going down 3-4 basis points."
A. PRASANNA, ECONOMIST, ICICI SECURITIES PRIMARY DEALERSHIP
"I think exit polls in India need to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, looking at the tally, I expect the positive sentiment in equity market to continue on Tuesday. There could be a limited rally in bonds as most of the rally has already happened on expectations of a stable government.
"Although it has got discounted by some stretch, the announcements (on exit polls) will provide a boost to markets.
Volatility would be there, but broad uptrend remains intact. I think cyclicals, industrials, consumer discretionary, broadly sectors tied to domestic economy have been outperforming."
J.K. JAIN, HEAD OF RESEARCH, KARVY STOCK BROKING LTD, MUMBAI
"At this juncture we can't rule out more support coming for the NDA from other smaller regional parties which has not taken a stance on supporting either NDA or UPA.
We expect Nifty to open gap-up in tomorrow's trade and gain by 3-4 percent to around 7300 levels before the election results are announced.
Long term investors can wait for the actual election results and increase their exposure to equities significantly."
Reporting by Mumbai markets team; Editing by Rafael Nam