Market outlook: Macro data, new COVID variant updates to drive stocks this week

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai. File Photo: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

New Delhi: Stock markets this week will be driven mostly by updates related to the new coronavirus variant that sent equities tumbling globally on Friday, macroeconomic data announcements and auto sales numbers, analysts said.

A World Health Organisation panel has named the new COVID strain 'Omicron' and classified it as a highly transmissible variant of concern, the same category that includes the Delta variant.

The potentially more contagious Omicron was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel. Many countries have introduced travel bans and restrictions on southern African countries in an effort to contain Omicron's spread.

"New COVID variant, FIIs' behaviour along with macro numbers will be key factors to drive the market this week. COVID related developments will remain key triggers for the market where the market will remain keenly interested to know the efficacy ratios of various vaccines against a new variant of COVID whereas restrictions-related news across the globe will also cause volatility," said Santosh Meena, Head of Research, Swastika Investmart Ltd.

The Sensex nosedived 1,688 points on Friday amid concerns over the new coronavirus variant that also led to rout in global markets.

Yesha Shah, Head of Equity Research, Samco Securities, said, "Post Q2 result season, Dalal Street will look towards macros for hints to move the needle in broader markets. Inflation being a key factor will be at the centre of all news in the next two weeks since the RBI MPC meet is scheduled in December. November monthly auto sales number can be a trigger to drive some movement this week."

Among macroeconomic data, PMI numbers for manufacturing and services sectors would also be tracked.

"Equity markets in the near term will closely follow the impact of new COVID variant, inflation data, and Central Bank policies," said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities Ltd.

During the last week, the BSE benchmark plunged 2,528.86 points or 4.24 per cent.

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