Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
An upbeat start saw some sharp gains for the Indian stock markets but a correction towards the end of the week wiped out most intra-week gains in contrast to global indexes.
Indian markets were on edge during the week on worries that U.S. President Donald Trump’s import tariffs may trigger a trade war among the world’s leading economies. Trump's trade rhetoric had heightened risk aversion among global investors, leading them to cut bond investments in emerging economies like India, widening the yield spread between India and U.S. government bonds.
The Indian stock market remained volatile during the week with the Nifty touching a high of 10,632 and a low of 10,462 to end with minor gains of 0.4 percent. The midcap and smallcap indexes underperformed the benchmark index. Sluggish tax collection estimates amid weak global cues dented risk appetite. The rupee ended at a three-month low of 65.17 against the dollar after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's first testimony.
A rally in benchmark indexes on Friday helped the Indian stock market clock modest gains for the week. The March derivative contract started on a positive note after a dismal February series due to a $1.8 billion fraud reported at Punjab National Bank (PNB). The Nifty gained 0.4 percent for the week to end at 10,491 while the mid- and small-cap indexes underperformed and fell 0.2 percent.
A volatile week saw the Nifty trading in a range between 10,450 and 10,600, and the Bank Nifty index being dragged down by the $1.77 billion Punjab National Bank fraud case. The rupee ended at 64.21 against the dollar, compared to 64.39 last week. FIIs were net sellers to the tune of 28.5 billion rupees ($44 million) while DIIs were net buyers to the tune of 23.7 billion rupees.
Markets were back on a selling spree after central banks across the globe hinted at reducing stimulus. U.S. markets were gripped by fears that upbeat wage growth in the United States may prompt the Federal Reserve to hike rates more aggressively in 2018. The Bank of England also warned of a sooner-than-expected rate hike.
After rallying for eight consecutive weeks, India’s stock markets finally took a breather following the announcement of the Union Budget, with investors getting spooked by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s proposal to introduce long-term capital gains tax. The government tried to maintain a balancing act between growth and populism but tilted towards the latter.
The Nifty and Sensex scaled significant landmarks of 11,000 and 36,000 levels respectively during the week as unabated fund inflows continued amid robust corporate earnings and optimism over the upcoming Union Budget on February 1.
Markets continued their relentless march upward with the Nifty hitting the 10,900 mark and the Sensex surpassing 35,500 levels. Sentiment was aided by the government's decision to cut its additional borrowing requirement and a cut in GST rates of 29 goods and 54 services.
Markets hit a fresh record high again on hopes of better earnings performance as TCS and Infosys results met expectations. Optimism related to the upcoming annual budget also aided sentiment.