Markets seen rangebound; Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea in focus

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Indian stocks are likely to be rangebound on Wednesday, while trends in SGX Nifty indicate a flat opening for the benchmark indices. On Tuesday, the BSE Sensex ended at 34,915.80 down 45.72 points or 0.13% and the Nifty closed at 10,302.10, down 10.30 points or 0.10%

Asian stocks were mixed in the early dealsas optimism about a global economic recovery from the pandemic jousted with signs in the United States the health crisis may not yet be past its peak.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday pledged to do more for the US economy as it battles the enormous fallout from the virus outbreak.

That assurance helped push Wall Street higher to close out the best quarterly rebound in nearly two decades, and pushed the safe-haven dollar slightly lower.

Higher finance costs and exceptional items on account of licence fees and spectrum dues in the AGR case nearly doubled the losses at Vodafone Idea in March quarter to 11,643 crore from 6,438 crore in the immediate previous three-month period.

Bharti Airtel said Carlyle Group will buy a 25% stake in its data centre business for $235 million. Carlyle Group will make the investment in Bharti Airtel’s Nxtra Data at a valuation of $1.2 billion. Bharti Airtel will continue to hold the remaining 75% holding in Nxtra Data. Private equity player Carlyle will make the investment though an entity called Comfort Investments II.

The eight infrastructure sectors contracted sharply for the third month in a row in May though lower than the record dip in April, with only fertilizer production (7.5%) registering positive growth. In May, the core sector data released by the industry department shrank 23.4% compared to 37% in April, mostly due to large dip in outputs of steel (48.4%), cement (22.2), electricity (15.6) and refinery products (21.3%).

The dollar index fell 0.04%, with the euro up 0.02% to $1.1233.

The Bank of Japan, meanwhile, released a new schedule for bond purchases on Tuesday, which signaled the monetary authority would not be more aggressive on longer maturity bonds.

Still, gold prices rallied as some investors fled to safety after Fauci’s warning that the U.S. daily case-load could reach 100,000 from the current 40,000. US gold futures settled up 1.1% at $1,800.5.

Oil prices slumped after Libya’s state oil company said it made progress in talks to resume exports, potentially boosting supply. US crude was down 43 cents, or 1%, at $39.27 a barrel.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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