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Post-Budget, Sensex trumps
March, 19th 2010

The Budget has provided a fillip to the bourses and India, at present, tops the return charts of the Asia-Pacific equity markets. Since February 26, the BSE Sensex has surged 7.78%, while the broader NSE Nifty has gained 7.95%. During the same period, Japans Nikkei 225 and Singapores Straits Time Index have posted gains of 6.36% and 5.99%, respectively.

Other key equity indices in Asia have given comparatively lesser returns with Kospi (South Korea) gaining 5.52% and Hang Seng 4.56%. Chinas Shanghai Composite ended in the red with a negative return of 0.47%.

A survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) among global fund managers during March showed that while sentiments towards the US equities have improved, emerging markets globally continue to remain the most favoured regions to invest in.

The survey has noted that the Asia-Pacific investors have scaled back their overweight positions on China, Taiwan and Indonesia and raised their preferences on India, Australia and Korea. Meanwhile, the Philippines and Malaysia remain out of favour among the fund managers surveyed.

The overseas investors preference towards the Indian markets is noticeable from the extent of money they are pumping in Indian equities.

Foreign institutional investors (FII) purchased Indian equities worth over Rs 14,000 crore in the post-Budget rally in just 14 trading sessions.

FIIs for the calendar year till the Budget had been net seller to the tune of Rs 118 crore. Their total investment is the highest in March (till the 10th) since September 2009, when they invested Rs 18,344 crore.

On Thursday, the BSE Sensex extended its rally by another 29 points or 0.17% to end at 17,519, its highest closing in eight weeks.

The NSE Nifty closed at 5,246, up 14 points or 0.27%. Provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that FIIs bought net equity worth Rs 485 crore while domestic institutional investors sold equities to the tune of Rs 53 crore.

No takers for Hang Seng scheme

The Hang Seng Benchmark Exchange-traded scheme opened for trading on the NSE on Thursday. It saw lacklustre participation with the days turnover totalling just Rs 3.35 crore. According to fund officials, the fund collected over Rs 55 crore from the NFOs.

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