Friday's trading session was clearly of consolidation as the Indian benchmark indices appeared a bit fatigued and remained in tight range throughout the day. Nevertheless, the benchmarks managed to extend the winning momentum for the second consecutive day of trade as local sentiments got a boost after the goods and services tax (GST) council on Thursday gave its nod to the two remaining pieces of supporting legislation for implementing the landmark tax reform, paving the way for their introduction in Parliament and state legislatures. The council's approval for the state GST and Union territory GST bills marks an important step in India's journey towards creating a unified market and is critical to meeting the deadline of July 1 for GST implementation. Adding optimism among investors, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh said the GST regime can push up the country's growth by as much as 150-200 basis points (bps). India's GDP for the third quarter ended in December 2016 recorded a growth of 7%. The estimate of GDP growth for the full fiscal 2016-17 is 7.1%. Meanwhile, IT stocks, which get bulk of their revenues from exports to the US, edged higher after Indian rupee, snapping its four-session long gains, fell 24 paise to 65.65 against the dollar on Friday. Also, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said the government had voiced its concern regarding the H1-B visa issue to the US and added that Indians do not steal but create jobs. Further, cigarette stocks such as ITC surged after the GST Council capped the cess on tobacco and cigarettes at 290% or Rs 4,170 per 1,000 cigarette sticks.
On the global front, Asian markets ended mostly higher on Friday, posting their best week in eight months, after the Federal Reserve indicated it was unlikely to speed up monetary tightening. While the Fed raised rates by quarter a point as widely expected on Wednesday, the central bank's projections called for only two more rate hikes this year. Now traders were eyeing the G20 finance ministers' meeting in Germany, which is set to be dominated by debate on protectionism. Further, Seoul shares edged higher as foreign investors extended their buying streak for the 10th straight session, while Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index ended in green, a day after the country's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged, as widely expected. Meanwhile, European equity benchmarks were trading in the green in early trade as financial services stocks advanced in Paris and traders digested a raft of monetary policy decisions made by central banks earlier in the week.
Back home, after getting a firm start, the local indices traded in tight range, near neutral line, for most part of the session and ended the day with moderate gains. The NSE's 50-share broadly followed index Nifty, added single digit gains to settle above the crucial 9,150 support level, while Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index or Sensex gained around sixty-three points and ended above the psychological 29,600 mark. However, the broader markets failed to show any kind of fervor and settled on an uninspiring note, underperforming their larger peers by a small margin. The market breadth on the BSE was pessimistic, as there were 1243 shares on the gaining side against 1575 shares on the losing side, while 203 shares remained unchanged.
Finally, the BSE Sensex surged 63.14 points or 0.21% to 29648.99, while the CNX Nifty was up by 6.35 points or 0.07% to 9,160.05.
The BSE Sensex touched a high and a low of 29824.62 and 29601.86, respectively and there were 11 stocks on gainers side as against 19 stocks on the losers side on the index.
The broader indices ended in red; the BSE Mid cap index declined by 0.14%, while Small cap index was down by 0.04%.
The top gaining sectoral indices on the BSE were FMCG up by 2.41%, Realty up by 0.78%, IT up by 0.71% and TECK up by 0.10%, while Telecom down by 2.72%, PSU down by 0.71%, Utilities down by 0.50%, Capital Goods down by 0.47% and, Bankex down by 0.46% were the top losing indices on BSE.
The top gainers on the Sensex were ITC up by 4.85%, Infosys up by 1.12%, Maruti Suzuki up by 0.96%, Wipro up by 0.89% and Axis Bank up by 0.66%. On the flip side, Bharti Airtel down by 3.73%, SBI down by 1.74%, Mahindra & Mahindra down by 1.37%, ICICI Bank down by 1.30% and Larsen & Toubro down by 1.12% were the top losers.
Meanwhile, with an aim to provide assured health services to all, the union cabinet has accorded its nod to the much-awaited National Health Policy (NHP). As a crucial component, the policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5 percent of the GDP in a time bound manner from way below 2 percent GDP expenditure on the sector at present.
In order to provide access and financial protection, it proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency and essential healthcare services in all public hospitals. Reduce mortality rate of children under 5 years of age to 23 (per 1000) by 2025 and maternal mortality rate (MMR) from current levels to 100 by 2020. Reduce infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019. Reduce neo-natal mortality to 16 and still birth rate to 'single digit' by 2025. To improve and strengthen the regulatory environment, the policy seeks putting in place systems for setting standards and ensuring quality of healthcare.
Health Minister J.P. Nadda has said that NHP would aim at increasing life expectancy to 70 years from 67.5 and reduce fertility rate to 2.1 by 2025. He added that this policy has come after a gap of 15 years to address the current and emerging challenges necessitated by the changing socio-economic, technological and epidemiological landscape.
Highlighting some of the key targets of the policy, Nadda said that the NHP aims to raise public spending on health besides revisiting public private partnerships in the health sector. The policy envisages providing a larger package of assured comprehensive primary healthcare through the 'Health and Wellness Centers'. It is a comprehensive package which includes care for major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health, geriatric healthcare, palliative care and rehabilitative care services.
Nadda further said that the policy aims to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within golden hour. It also looks at reforms in the existing regulatory systems both for easing manufacturing of drugs and devices to promote ‘Make in India’, as also for reforming medical education. The policy advocates development of mid-level service providers, nurse practitioners, public health cadre to improve availability of appropriate health human resource.
The CNX Nifty traded in a range of 9,218.40 and 9,147.60. There were 15 stocks in green as against 36 stocks in red on the index.
The top gainers on Nifty were ITC up by 4.40%, HCL Tech up by 1.25%, Infosys up by 0.99%, Eicher Motors up by 0.99% and Tech Mahindra up by 0.96%. On the flip side, Idea Cellular down by 4.56%, Bharti Airtel down by 4.45%, Bank of Baroda down by 2.20%, Tata Motors - DVR down by 2 % and SBI down by 1.90% were the top losers.
The European markets were trading mostly in red; UK’s FTSE 100 decreased 4.61 points or 0.06% to 7,411.34, Germany’s DAX decreased 20.45 points or 0.17% to 12,062.73, while France’s CAC increased 10.68 points or 0.21% to 5,024.06.
Most of the Asian markets made a positive close on Friday, posting their best week in eight months, even as the global equities rally spurred by the Federal Reserve’s outlook lost momentum. Now traders were eyeing the G20 finance ministers' meeting in Germany which is set to be dominated by debate on protectionism. Seoul shares extended gains for a second day to hit fresh highs in almost two years as foreign investors extended their buying streak for the 10th straight session. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index too ended higher, a day after the country's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged, as widely expected. On the other hand, Chinese shares fell sharply and lost about a percent, a day after the country's central bank raised short-term interest rates to avoid downward pressure on the yuan and manage capital flows. The Japanese market too ended in red ahead of a long holiday weekend.
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