The Communists Are Out, India's Market Soars
MUMBAI, India (AP) — India's stock market surged an unprecedented 17%, forcing trade to close for the day, after the Congress Party's definitive victory in national elections set the scene for long-delayed economic reforms. Within seconds of trading, the Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark Sensex vaulted 2,110.79 points, or 17.3%, to 14,284.21, triggering the historic shutdown Monday (see chart above). Infrastructure, banking and real estate companies led gains.
Putting to rest fears of an unwieldy coalition, the victory raised hopes of a revival in foreign direct investment and economic growth, as well as tax reform and significant infrastructure spending. The near collapse of India's once powerful communist parties — which lost more than half their parliamentary seats — paves the way for long-awaited economic reforms, many of which the Left had blocked over the last five years.
The Congress party now has more room to ease restrictions on foreign investment in insurance, retailing and banking. The government may also sell some of its stakes in state-run oil, banking, and fertilizer companies. The nation's pension regulator could get proper legal standing, which would encourage greater investment. And some steps might be taken to loosen hidebound labor laws, like allowing contract labor, analysts and business groups say.
Citigroup economist Rohini Malkani said the result would likely revive India's investment growth, which was a key driver of the nation's four-year boom that's now waning in the face of the global slump.
MP: The BSE reached an 8-month high, the highest level since Sept. 11, 2008, and is up by almost 50% from the early March bottom.