In an extremely range-bound session of trade, Indian equity benchmarks were now trading marginally in red as investors avoided taking long positions ahead of the end of the fiscal year 2017. Sentiments remained subdued with the report that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to keep key interest rates unchanged on April 6, 2017. The RBI shifted to a neutral stance from accommodative in February and this, in turn, may prompt the central bank to hold rates in the ensuing meet early next month. However, losses remained capped with the report that India's consumer confidence is highest compared to other emerging market peers. According to the Credit Suisse Emerging Consumer Scorecard, India has the highest consumer confidence score among the eight emerging markets surveyed -- Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. India's buoyant consumer sentiment was supported by consumers' greater confidence in their current and future finances, as well as relatively lower inflation expectations. Meanwhile, with GST rollout looking imminent from July 1 after the Lok Sabha's approval, the Centre and states will sit together today to finalise rules and regulations of the new indirect tax regime. The Lok Sabha on Wednesday cleared four supplementary GST legislations -- Central GST (CGST), Integrated GST (IGST), Union Territory GST (UTGST) and the Compensation law.
On the global front, Asian markets were trading mostly lower on Friday, as investors turned cautious after a mixed set of Japanese economic data and weaker South Korean factory output figures. Japan's core consumer prices rose 0.2% in February year-on-year, marking the fastest growth in nearly two years. However, household spending fell 3.8% in February from a year earlier, missing estimates for a 1.7 percent fall. In South Korea, the Kospi slipped after the country's February factory output fell 3.4 percent from the previous month, the worst in over 8 years. However, China’s manufacturing activity accelerated in March in what the government said is a sign economic growth is stabilizing. A purchasing managers' index released by the National Bureau of Statistics rose to 51.8 from February's 51.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding. Meanwhile, US equities closed higher on Thursday, as investors digested key economic data and kept an eye on oil rising prices.
Back home, stocks from Oil & Gas, Energy and Metal counters were supporting the markets’ uptrend, while those from Telecom, TECK and IT counters were adding to the underlying cautious undertone. In scrip specific development, Vama Industries surged after the company received an order worth Rs 12.32 crore from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Furthermore, Union Bank of India gained after the bank raised Rs 750 crore by issuing 7,500 non-convertible, unsecured subordinated Basel III compliant perpetual debt instruments for inclusion in additional tier-I capital.
The market breadth remained optimistic, as there were 1429 shares on the gaining side against 880 shares on the losing side, while 181 shares remained unchanged.The BSE Sensex is currently trading at 29588.58, down by 58.84 points or 0.20% after trading in a range of 29567.57 and 29665.24. There were 17 stocks advancing against 13 stocks declining on the index.
The broader indices were trading in green; the BSE Mid cap index was up by 0.59%, while Small cap index up by 0.58%.
The top gaining sectoral indices on the BSE were Oil & Gas up by 1.54%, Energy up by 1.42%, Metal up by 1.24%, Basic Materials up by 1.09% and PSU up by 0.78%, while Telecom down by 1.39%, TECK down by 0.53%, IT down by 0.49%, Bankex down by 0.44% and FMCG down by 0.43% were the top losing indices on BSE.
The top gainers on the Sensex were Reliance Industries up by 1.25%, Tata Steel up by 1.23%, Larsen & Toubro up by 0.77%, ONGC up by 0.70% and Tata Motors up by 0.68%. On the flip side, HDFC Bank down by 1.57%, Cipla down by 1.06%, ITC down by 0.92%, Bharti Airtel down by 0.84% and Wipro down by 0.78% were the top losers.
Meanwhile, clearing the decks for budget implementation, the Parliament has approved the Finance Bill 2017, with the Lok Sabha rejecting five amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha with regard to curbing more powers to taxmen and a cap on donation by companies to political parties. The Bill, being a Money Bill, will now go to the President for approval before becoming law.
Talking on the amendments suggested by the Rajya Sabha, Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that it cannot be accepted by the Parliament as it would limit the number of donors to political parties. Finance minister said that most of the donations that come to political parties in the current scenario are from unclean money and lacks transparency. He also said that government has granted the option of receiving donations by cheque and he added that small donations of less than Rs 2,000 can be made by cash or can receive online donations too. He noted that one can do it through bonds, which is clean money.
With regard to the taxation amendments, Jaitley has stated that the current position will continue and as a matter of ‘abundant caution’ and to protect whistle-blowers, the government has specified in the bill that the ‘satisfaction note’ will not be given to the target of investigation. He also noted that since 1961, there is no example that the target of investigation was revealed the satisfaction note which forms the basis of investigation with regard to tax evasion.
The amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha is to delete the provisions relating to the powers given to taxmen like power to requisition books of account, power to survey and more powers to more officers. The Rajya Sabha also approved a cap of 7.5 per cent of net profit of the last three financial years for donations to political parties and a provision to disclose the name of political parties to which contribution has been made by a company.
The CNX Nifty is currently trading at 9159.70, down by 14.05 points or 0.15% after trading in a range of 9153.20 and 9181.25. There were 28 stocks advancing against 22 stocks declining on the index, while one stock remained unchanged.
The top gainers on Nifty were Indian Oil Corp up by 3.50%, Hindalco up by 2.57%, BPCL up by 2.12%, ACC up by 1.61% and Tata Steel up by 1.50%. On the flip side, Bharti Infratel down by 3.53%, HDFC Bank down by 1.82%, Eicher Motors down by 1.44%, Bharti Airtel down by 1.24% and Grasim Industries down by 1.07% were the top losers.
Asian markets were trading mostly in red; Hang Seng decreased 0.65%, Taiwan Weighted slipped 0.37%, KOSPI Index declined by 0.15%, Jakarta Composite decreased by 0.06%, Nikkei 225 slipped 0.53% and FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI was down by 0.32%. On the flip side, Shanghai Composite was up by 0.24%.