Indian equity benchmarks continued consolidating for another session to close on a quiet note despite positive global cues. The benchmark Nifty remained in a tight range of 5465-5495 throughout the session though it touched the 5500-mark in intraday trade.
Market expert Nilesh Shah said share prices are likely to trade in a narrow range in the run-up to the budget, as the market is fairly valued at current levels. At the same time, he does not see the market piercing its recent lows, since most of the negatives have already been factored in.
The markets were unmoved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's candid discussion with television editors on Wednesday. Singh assured the nation that the government is trying to strike a balance between growth and inflation. "By the end of this (fiscal) year, inflation rate should come down to no more than 7%," he said. Singh also assured a growth rate of 8.5% this fiscal. "We have effectively tackled global financial meltdown," he stated.
The 30-share BSE Sensex closed at 18,300.9, up just 27.10 points and the 50-share NSE Nifty settled at 5,481.70, up 0.7 points. However, global markets were quite positive - European markets were trading half a percent higher. Even the major Asian markets ended in positive terrain - Shanghai, Hang Seng, Nikkei and Straits Times went up 0.5-1% while Kospi fell one percent. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq futures too gained 0.4%.
The market has seen a steady move since Friday in the budget run up but not many experts are pining high hopes on the budget policies scheduled to be announced by the Finance Minister on February 28.
Ashu Madan, Religare Securities feels that unlike all previous years, this time too the budget is going to be non-event and not a game changer. ''The expectation of market vis-à-vis budget is gradually going down. I think budget is just an exercise which keeps on building some excitement on account of various buzzes or probably expectation. But beyond that, I think market takes its own course,'' he adds.