The markets are expected to remain rangebound during the week as the seven-phase general election continues unless the unfolding earnings season brings up some surprise for sectoral push. The Chinese team for trade talks with the US will arrive in Washington on May 8, but a breakthrough is unlikely despite US President Donald Trump's claim a deal could be signed any moment now. Chinese media have been less optimistic and have tried to play down expectations.
The market will be keenly watching the direction of oil price through the first full week after the waiver from sanctions that the US granted to major Iranian oil importers ended on May 2. Brent crude continued to reign above $70 a barrel, heating up worries in major consumer markets. Suggestions in media of non-Opec member Russia that it will further cut production this week could send crude to over $75 a barrel and make markets jittery.
While traders could look for stock-specific play as earnings unfold, economic data like March factory output and manufacturing numbers could bolster the markets.
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex fell 104.07 points, or 0.27 percent, to 38,963, last week while the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty fell 42.40 points, or 0.6 percent, to 11,712. Significantly, Sensex closed the week below 39,000 points and Nifty fell through the 11,750 and will need a fresh impetus to find a direction.
The fifth phase of voting in the general elections on Monday will see voting in 51 Lok Sabha constituencies in seven states. The 67 percent voting in the first four phases is deemed comparable to 67.6 percent in 2014, supporting the market feeling that the incumbent party could return to power led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On the earnings front, 216 companies will report their March quarter earnings in the coming week. The key players include State Bank of India (SBI), Bharti Airtel, Vedanta, Escorts, Titan, HCL Tech, and Apollo Tyres. Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, and Marico will be announcing results on Monday, Vedanta, Escorts and CEAT on Tuesday, Titan and Dhanlaxmi Bank on Wednesday, HCL Tech and Apollo Tyres on Thursday and SBI, L&T, Eicher Motors and Allahabad Bank on Friday.
The market's expectations of the industrial production numbers for March set to be announced on Friday will continue to influence the market direction. The index of industrial production (IIP) was a 20-month low in February. Monday's purchasing manufacturer's index (PMI) will also be keenly watched for a cue on the direction of the economy.