Domestic equities mostly remained under pressure amid volatility as investors remained suspicious with regards to spread of Omicron virus and resultant restrictions in number of countries. However, benchmark Nifty bounced sharply from today's low mainly led by recovery in heavyweight private banks and Reliance Industries. Notably, acceptance of proposals by the RBI to increase promoters' holding limit in banks from 15% to 26% aided private banks like Kotak Bank and IndusInd Bank. Similarly, announcement of tariff hikes by Reliance Jio aided recovery in RIL and supported Nifty. Notably, barring Financials and IT, most key sectoral indices remained under pressure, while midcap and smallcap indices contracted around 1-2%. Kotak Bank, HCL Tech, HDFC Life and Bajaj Finance were among top Nifty gainers, while BPCL, ONGC, Sun Pharma and UPL were laggards.
Concerns with regards to spread of Omicron and vaccine effectiveness against it continued to weigh on investors' sentiments. However, any positive development with regards to Omicron can generate huge buying interests at these levels. On the positive side high frequency key economic indicators for Oct'21 remained upbeat and continues to reflect sustained economic activities and sustainable earnings growth. Further, government's effort to calm down high commodity prices by cutting excise duties in petrol and diesel augurs well, which along with CPI remaining below RBI's reference range will also aid RBI to keep interest rate at current range to support ongoing recovery. Notably, domestic markets witnessed high volatility in recent weeks due to rise in dollar index and absence of positive surprise from 2QFY22 earnings especially due to higher input costs. Notably, high input costs have adversely impacted margins and profitability of consumer and manufacturing companies despite steady volume and sales growth. However, despite that Nifty recorded 11% YoY and 30% YoY growth in revenue and profit, respectively during 2QFY22. Notably, MPC meeting minutes pointed towards uneven growth as 55% of 404 industries in India are still operating below FY20 levels. This essentially indicates that interest rate scenario is unlikely to reverse in the near to medium terms and should continue to support earnings despite elevated cost pressure. This should also get support from better-than-expected government's fiscal deficit in 1HFY22, which stood just 35% of budgetary estimate. Further, Moody's upgraded rating for banking industry from negative to stable in the backdrop of likely pick up in credit growth (10-13% annually) and possible contraction in credit cost, which should offer more comfort to investors. Steady rise in disbursal of banks and NBFCs in 2QFY22 and sharp rise in Securitization volumes in 1HFY22 vindicate growth momentum of the economy. Notably, a sustained recovery in key economic indicators and faster vaccination ramp-up with least possibility of third wave of COVID-19 hitting in a bigger way bolstered investors' confidence. Tax collection data for 1HFY21 was also quite impressive, which virtually crossed pre-pandemic FY20 numbers with a wide margin. In our view, India is at the beginning of capex revival phase and therefore corporate earnings recovery looks sustainable and premium valuations might sustain. Additionally, government's focus to improve credit growth through credit outreach programme and continued traction in PLI schemes augur well for domestic economy. Higher government's capex and revival in industrials' capex should continue to aid economic recovery in the medium to long term. However, liquidity driven market may take a backseat in 2022 and investors must start focusing on quality aspect of companies, in our view.