Indian markets continue to hold their early gains in the noon trade with benchmark indices trading higher by over quarter percent, as lenders such as SBI rallied after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government would soon announce new measures to tackle non-performing assets (NPAs). Jaitley also said the government is keen to roll out the GST on July 1 and other aspects like bringing petroleum and land under its ambit will be considered after the first year of implementation of the new system of indirect tax collection. The GST Bill will be tabled in the Lok Sabha later in the day. Strengthening of rupee against the dollar, also supported the domestic sentiments. However, gains remained capped on the report that the current account deficit (CAD) widened to $ 7.9 billion or 1.4% of GDP in the October-December quarter on account of higher trade deficit. Also, the Reserve Bank reported that the country added $ 14.2 billion in foreign exchange reserves on the balance of payment basis during the first nine months of the outgoing financial year, which is marginally down from $ 14.6 billion accretion in the year-ago period.
On the global front, Asian markets were trading mostly lower on Friday, as investors await a delayed vote on US healthcare reform, which is seen as a proxy for the success of Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda. Further, oil prices edged up, supported by a fall in Saudi exports to the United States, but overall markets remained under pressure on the back of a world market awash with fuel.
Back home, stocks from Banking, PSU and Realty counters were supporting the markets’ uptrend, while IT and Teck counters were adding to the underlying cautious undertone. In scrip specific development, Asian Oilfield Services surged after the company received Letter of Award (LoA) of Contract worth Rs 108.97 crore from ONGC for 2D Seismic Data acquisition in unapprised on land areas of Sedimentary Basins of India for Sector 6 (Ganga). Furthermore, Bharti Airtel gained after the company entered into a definitive agreement with Tikona Digital Networks (Tikona) to acquire Tikona’s 4G Business including the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and 350 sites, in five telecom circles.
The market breadth remained optimistic, as there were 1456 shares on the gaining side against 1023 shares on the losing side, while 165 shares remained unchanged.
The BSE Sensex is currently trading at 29457.38, up by 125.22 points or 0.43% after trading in a range of 29350.17 and 29500.19. There were 18 stocks advancing against 12 stocks declining on the index.
The broader indices were trading in green; the BSE Mid cap index was up by 0.42%, while Small cap index up by 0.67%.
The top gaining sectoral indices on the BSE were Bankex up by 1.07%, PSU up by 0.93%, Realty up by 0.79%, Metal up by 0.73% and Telecom up by 0.72%, while IT down by 0.31% and TECK down by 0.18% were the only losing indices on BSE.
The top gainers on the Sensex were ICICI Bank up by 2.88%, SBI up by 2.01%, ITC up by 1.35%, Bharti Airtel up by 1.21% and GAIL India up by 1.09%. On the flip side, Bajaj Auto down by 0.60%, TCS down by 0.58%, ONGC down by 0.54%, Cipla down by 0.51% and Infosys down by 0.36% were the top losers.
Meanwhile, in order to meet the deadline of rolling out the country's biggest tax regime from July 1, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has underlined the urgency to pass the GST supporting legislations during the current session of Parliament that ends on April 12. He also pointed out that the Centre and states would otherwise lose their right to collect indirect taxes after September 15.
Jaitley has stated that the government wants to implement GST bill from July 1 this year and aspects like bringing petroleum and land under its ambit will be considered after one year of GST implementation. He also said that four bills supporting the Constitution amendment law on GST enacted last year will be introduced in the Lok Sabha shortly and added that these have to be passed in this session to meet the September 15 deadline for switching over to the new indirect tax regime. He noted that the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill does not provide for extension of the deadline beyond September 15 this year for transition to GST regime. Jaitley also pointed out that if GST is not implemented by September 15, the government’s legal entitlement for collection of taxes will.
For bringing petroleum products and alcohol under the new tax regime, the Finance Minister has said that these will come under GST once the states and the GST Council arrive at a consensus on the rates to be imposed. He also said that these are a part of GST but till all the states, the GST Council agree, they will not start imposing tax on these and till then, the states will continue to impose their own taxes. Talking on the marine areas, he said that there is a dispute over revenue jurisdiction between the Centre and the states, while the seas come under the purview of the central government, the revenues are collected by the states.
The CNX Nifty is currently trading at 9117.45, up by 31.15 points or 0.34% after trading in a range of 9089.40 and 9131.95. There were 30 stocks advancing against 21 stocks declining on the index.
The top gainers on Nifty were Bank of Baroda up by 3.76%, ICICI Bank up by 2.94%, SBI up by 2.09%, ITC up by 1.49% and Bharti Airtel up by 1.15%. On the flip side, BPCL down by 1.24%, Grasim Industries down by 1.19%, Tech Mahindra down by 1.06%, ONGC down by 0.93% and Bajaj Auto down by 0.81% were the top losers.
Asian markets were trading mostly in red; Taiwan Weighted decreased 0.28%, Hang Seng slipped 0.19%, KOSPI Index shed 0.25% and Jakarta Composite was down by 0.11%. On the flip side, Shanghai Composite rose 0.15%, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI increased 0.03% and Nikkei 225 was up by 0.91%.