13/05/2015 12:17 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

HSBC Downgrades Indian Stocks After Slow Earnings Growth, El Nino Threat

Street lamps stand in the foreground as an exterior views shows a logo on the global headquarters building of HSBC in the Canary Wharf business district of London, Friday, April 24, 2015. HSBC is considering moving its headquarters from Britain in the wake of

Disappointing earnings of Indian companies have dragged the stock markets down since December, and now a major global bank has downgraded Indian stocks.

HSBC downgraded Indian stocks to "underweight" from "overweight", citing slowing earnings growth, little room for rate cuts and potential negative impact from an unusual weather due to El Nino.

India remains one of the most over-owned market in Asia and the bank says the potential for more equity outflows has increased because foreign positions look stretched.

Overseas investors have sold nearly $2.2 billion worth of cash shares in the last 16 sessions, excluding Japan's Daiichi Sankyo's block sale of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries shares. That led sudden drops in the Sensex, such as last Thursday, when the gauge was down to its lowest in almost a year before recovering on Monday.

"Rate cuts beyond 2015...will depend on the government's structural reforms. If they are coming, there could be further space to cut. But if not, the RBI may just have to sit tight," wrote analysts Devendra Joshi and Herald van der Linde.

The investment bank also raised Philippines shares to "overweight" from "neutral" and Hong Kong to "neutral" from "underweight". China and Singapore remain "overweight".

(With agency inputs)

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