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India Inc's profit outlook may be hit by oil, rupee: What brokerages expect

Nupur Acharya | Bloomberg/ 10 Oct 18 | 04:01 PM

Illustration by Ajay Mohanty

The rupee's longest rout since 2000 and oil's surge to a four-year high have put earnings estimates of Indian companies at the risk of downgrades. 

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Analysts have boosted the average profit forecast for NSE Nifty 50 Index companies by 9.2 per cent this year, shrugging off a 12 per cent slump in the gauge since August. But history suggests the divergence won't extend for long, and the growing stress in Asia's third-largest economy may soon translate into lower projections.

Not that a weaker rupee is bad for all Indian companies -- exporters, including software producers and drugmakers, will gain in local-currency terms. Still, the net impact on the broader corporate sector may be negative because of higher import bills. Add to that the tighter local-funding conditions, and profit estimates begin to appear optimistic.

"Key factors are rising input costs, volatile crude prices, rupee depreciation and tightening liquidity, all catalysts for market de-rating," analysts led by Dhirendra Tiwari at Mumbai-based Antique Stock Broking Ltd wrote in a note. The brokerage expects earnings growth for Nifty companies to be 2.8 per cent on year in the fiscal second quarter, much slower than the 13 per cent expansion seen in the April-June period.

ALSO READ: Q2 earnings might have little to cheer due to high input costs, rupee fall

Demand in the world's fastest-growing major economy is cooling after back-to-back rate increases by the central bank, prompting policy makers to pause the hiking cycle in October despite the currency's free fall. A default by a systemically important non-banking finance company aggravated the sell-off in stocks, which were already reeling under a tumbling rupee and elevated prices of crude oil -- the nation's top import.

"Rupee depreciation and higher crude prices will further widen the current-account deficit and pose a risk of higher inflation," Pankaj Pandey, the head of research at ICICI Securities Ltd, wrote in a note this week. "There could be a downward revision in earnings across sectors post the adverse movement in macro parameters."

ALSO READ: Q2FY19 preview: IT firms to report higher sequential EBIT margin on Re fall 

Here's what brokerages and investors expect from the September-quarter results season that kicks off Thursday with Asia's top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.    

Reliance Securities

Expects banking, financial services and insurance companies to see pressure on operating performance; prefers HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank and DCB Bank

Earnings growth for construction firms and power utilities may remain flattish; capital goods expected to post revenue growth of 13 per cent and earnings gain of 23 per cent year-on-year. Key results picks: HG Infra, KEC International, Kalpataru Power, Engineers India and NTPC. 

Deutsche Bank

Predicts weak rupee may be favourable to technology companies. Tata Consultancy and HCL Tech may lead with year-on-year earnings growth of 24 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively.

Sectors likely to report weaker earnings growth are telecom, consumer discretionary and industrials. 


Says rising input prices and weaker rupee among factors affecting profits for consumer sectors; financials to benefit from lower base while earnings for autos, health-care, industrials and telecom may be weak. 

Expects positive surprise from Aurobindo Pharma, IndusInd Bank, Ambuja Cement and HCL Technology; negative surprise likely from Lupin, Shriram Transport, Mahindra & Mahindra Finance, Emami and Crompton. 

Motilal Oswal

Recent macro events pose significant risk to Nifty's second-half fiscal 2019 estimates; with 2Q profits expected to climb 12 per cent on a base of 15 per cent growth.

Rural consumption recovery to continue, with consumer staples likely to post fifth straight quarter of double-digit profit growth. Non-bank finance firms, too, should report strong growth as most headwinds emerged only toward the quarter end.

Top ideas include HDFC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Hindalco, Ashok Leyland, Tech Mahindra. 

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Company Price Gain (%)
Larsen & Toubro1,529.150.80
Sun Pharma.Inds.392.350.58
Power Grid Corpn194.600.44


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