Key benchmark indices continued to trade in positive territory in the afternoon session led by gains in frontline blue chip stocks. Sentiments remained up-beat with the GST council moving a step closer towards implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, approving two crucial supporting legislations of central GST law (CGST) and the integrated GST (IGST) law for this ambitious tax reform. It will again meet on March 16, to clear the state GST law (SGST) and the union territory GST law (UTGST). Adding the optimism among investors, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has said that India’s gross domestic product (GDP) will achieve 8% growth and continue its momentum for the next financial year, even after demonetising about 85% of all currency in circulation last November. Besides, appreciation in Indian rupee coupled with bouts of buying in Energy, Oil & Gas, Power and Utilities sector stocks, too supported the market. In scrip specific development, HDFC Bank was trading in green after unveiling an electronic virtual assistant, an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot, for customer services.
On the global front, Asian markets were trading mostly in green, despite the prospects of a likely interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve later this month as well as slower Chinese economic growth this year. Back home, the BSE Sensex is currently trading at 29004.72, up by 172.27 points or 0.60% after trading in a range of 28856.12 and 29070.20. There were 22 stocks advancing against 8 stocks declining on the index.
The broader indices were trading in green; the BSE Mid cap index was up by 0.38%, while Small cap index was up by 0.47%.
The top gaining sectoral indices on the BSE were Energy up by 1.84%, Oil & Gas up by 1.14%, Power up by 1.08%, Utilities up by 0.97% and Realty up by 0.94%, while IT down by 0.55%, TECK down by 0.42%, Consumer Durables down by 0.31% and Metal down by 0.06% were the losing indices on BSE.
The top gainers on the Sensex were Reliance Industries up by 3.53%, Power Grid up by 2.04%, NTPC up by 1.60%, Tata Motors up by 1.17% and SBI up by 1.13%. On the flip side, TCS down by 1.20%, Sun Pharma down by 1.09%, Hindustan Unilever down by 0.70%, Wipro down by 0.51% and Tata Steel down by 0.28% were the top losers.
Meanwhile, the Information Technology (IT) industry body, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has said that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) decision to temporarily suspend the expedited premium processing of H-1B visas will create some process delays for the Indian IT companies. However, it feels that the temporary move will not be a significant impediment for $110 billion exporting software industry.
IT industry body further said that the move will put pressure on Indian IT companies as any changes in visa regime may result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the Indian outsourcing industry. It also said that under the premium route, companies can get H-1B visa application processed in 15 days by paying additional fee of $1,225, whereas a standard process takes 3-6 months under normal circumstances. It added that the temporary suspension of the fast-track processing of the H1B visas widely used by the Indian IT industry may last six months.
The US government has decided to suspend from April 3 premium processing of H1-B visas, which allowed some firms to jump the queue, as part of overall efforts to clear the backlog. The suspension came even as New Delhi pressed for a fair and rational approach on the matter from a trade and business perspective. Therefore, Nasscom has said that it will work with the US Embassy in India to ensure that movement of professionals is not hit by such process issues.
The CNX Nifty is currently trading at 8946.00, up by 48.45 points or 0.54% after trading in a range of 8914.00 and 8967.80. There were 36 stocks advancing against 15 stocks declining on the index.
The top gainers on Nifty were Reliance Industries up by 3.60%, BHEL up by 2.12%, Power Grid up by 2.10%, Indusind Bank up by 1.99% and Asian Paints up by 1.45%. On the flip side, Grasim Industries down by 1.51%, Tech Mahindra down by 1.45%, Idea Cellular down by 1.36%, TCS down by 1.31% and Sun Pharma down by 1.23% were the top losers.
The Asian markets were trading mostly in green; KOSPI Index increased 2.61 points or 0.13% to 2,081.36, Jakarta Composite gained 4.67 points or 0.09% to 5,395.88, Shanghai Composite was up by 11.33 points or 0.35% to 3,229.64, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 14.33 points or 0.84% to 1,722.71, Taiwan Weighted added 34.42 points or 0.36% to 9,682.63 and Hang Seng increased 82.79 points or 0.35% to 23,635.51.
On the other hand, Nikkei 225 was down by 90.03 points or 0.46% to 19,379.14.