Key benchmark indices continued to trade in positive territory in the afternoon session amid a firming trend in global markets after the US Fed hiked the key lending rate. Sentiments remained positive with report that India’s merchandise exports registered double-digit growth in February for the first time since the Narendra Modi government took office, on the back of a 47% rise in engineering goods and improved international demand. Exports swelled by 17.48% in February to $24.5 billion but a steeper increase in imports at 21% widened the trade deficit to $8.8 billion from $6.5 billion in the year-ago period. Moreover, the rupee was in a sweet spot, strengthening by another 32 paise to hit a fresh 16-month high of 65.37 against the dollar in early trade. Meanwhile, the draft for the final Goods and Services Tax Bill is expected to be cleared at the two-day meeting of the Council later in the day. In scrip specific development, Great Eastern Shipping Company was up by around three and half percent after taking delivery of a secondhand Suezmax Crude Carrier ‘Jag Leena’ of about 157,000 dwt.
On the global front, all the Asian markets were trading in green, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected and also maintained its interest rate forecast for the next few years, predicting only two more rate hikes this year.
The BSE Sensex is currently trading at 29509.16, up by 111.05 points or 0.38% after trading in a range of 29482.83 and 29614.79. There were 23 stocks advancing against 7 stocks declining on the index.
The broader indices were trading in green; the BSE Mid cap index was up by 0.97%, while Small cap index was up by 0.96%.
The top gaining sectoral indices on the BSE were Metal up by 2.01%, Basic Materials up by 1.30%, Industrials up by 1.27%, Consumer Durables up by 1.13% and Power up by 1.12%, while there were no losing indices on BSE sectoral front.
The top gainers on the Sensex were Adani Ports & SEZ up by 3.90%, Tata Steel up by 2.94%, Asian Paints up by 1.62%, GAIL India up by 1.19% and Infosys up by 1.08%. On the flip side, Hero MotoCorp down by 1.01%, Bharti Airtel down by 0.87%, ICICI Bank down by 0.67%, SBI down by 0.45% and Reliance Industries down by 0.20% were the top losers.
Meanwhile, in a step ahead to roll out the ambitious indirect tax reform from July 1, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising representatives of all states, is expected to approve the state GST (SGST) and the union territory GST (UTGST) bills at its meeting on March 16. The GST council is also expected to discuss, capping the cess to be levied on demerit goods like luxury cars and tobacco products for creation of a corpus that will be used for compensating states for their revenue loss from GST implementation in the first five years.
In the previous meeting, the Council had approved two key legislations, the Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) and is expected to approve supplementary legislations that are SGST and UTGST. Once approved, the supporting legislations together with a GST Compensation Law, will go to the Cabinet for a formal nod before they are presented in Parliament in the ongoing Budget session that ends on April 12.
On similar lines, the panel is also expected to decide on a cap rate for cess to be levied at the peak rate of tax to create the compensation corpus. Any law approved by Parliament cannot have open-ended tax rates and therefore a cap or peak rate will have to be mentioned. For the levy of GST, the peak rate has been put at 40 per cent and a similar cap will also have to be approved for the cess.
The government is hoping the C-GST, the I-GST, the UT-GST and the GST Compensation laws will be approved in the current session of Parliament and the S-GST by each of the state legislatures soon to help roll out GST regime from July 1. The council may also be given an update on technology preparedness and migration of assessees to the new regime.
The CNX Nifty is currently trading at 9130.70, up by 45.90 points or 0.51% after trading in a range of 9128.55 and 9152.90. There were 43 stocks advancing against 8 stocks declining on the index.
The top gainers on Nifty were Adani Ports &SEZ up by 3.88%, Tata Steel up by 2.83%, Hindalco up by 2.54%, Indusind Bank up by 2.05% and Aurobindo Pharma up by 2.01%. On the flip side, Hero MotoCorp down by 1.07%, Bharti Airtel down by 0.88%, ICICI Bank down by 0.60%, SBI down by 0.36% and Reliance Industries down by 0.31% were the top losers.
All the Asian markets were trading in green; Nikkei 225 increased 12.76 points or 0.07% to 19,590.14, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI surged 16.05 points or 0.93% to 1,733.41, KOSPI Index was up by 17.08 points or 0.8% to 2,150.08, Shanghai Composite gained 22.1 points or 0.68% to 3,263.86, Jakarta Composite rose 58.24 points or 1.07% to 5,490.62, Taiwan Weighted added 97.52 points or 1% to 9,837.83 and Hang Seng was higher by 355.75 points or 1.5% to 24,148.60.