Stocks
Nifty, Sensex may dip a bit – Weekly closing report
We had mentioned in last week’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex were getting overbought. The major indices of the Indian stock markets, despite volatility, closed the week on Friday with small gains over last week’s close. The trends of the major indices in the course of the week’s trading are given in the table below:
 
 
Positive domestic macro-economic data and a strong rupee cheered the Indian equity markets on Monday. Investors' sentiments were buoyed by official data released after market hours on Friday -- Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) -- which showed that inflation eased in April. The data on annual rate of inflation was calculated on a revised base year of 2011-12. However, India's factory output growth slowed to 2.7% in March on the back of poor manufacturing performance in the new Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with revised base year of 2011-12. The key indices traded with gains of close to half a per cent each during the mid-afternoon trade session, as buying was witnessed in banking, metal and healthcare stocks.
 
Private sector lender ICICI Bank on Monday said that it has reduced interest rates by up to 30 basis points (bps) for home loans of up to Rs30 lakh. "With this reduction, salaried borrowers can avail home loans at among the lowest rates in the industry. Salaried women borrowers will get home loans at 8.35% and others at 8.40%," the private sector lender said in a statement.  According to ICICI Bank, customers from economically weaker section (EWS) and low income group (LIG) can avail the dual benefit of low interest rates and credit linked subsidy under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. ICICI Bank shares closed at Rs302.05, up 1.82% on the BSE.
 
The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) crossed the 9,500-mark for the first time during the mid-afternoon trade session on Tuesday. Around 2 p.m., the NSE Nifty traded at 9,503.50 points -- up 58.10 points or 0.62%. According to market observers, positive global cues, coupled with healthy macro-economic data and expectations of a normal monsoon lifted the Indian equity markets to record high levels intra-day. Healthy macroeconomic trends, prediction of a normal monsoon and the news on EFPO (Employee Provident Fund Organisation) increasing its equity investment limits led to the rise, observed market analysts. According to market analysts, buying was witnessed in consumer durables, automobile, banking and IT (information technology) stocks. Sector-wise, the S&P BSE consumer durables index augmented by 122.50 points, followed by the automobile index by 112.28 points and the banking index by 72.90 points.
 
IT (information technology) major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Monday said it will commence its Rs 16,000 crore share buy-back program from Thursday. The company said that it will start the process after securities markets regulator Sebi gave its approval to the share buy-back plan. According to a regulatory filing with BSE, the IT major through letter dated 12 May 2017 has received the final observations from Sebi on the draft letter of offer for the buy-back dated 25 April 2017. "In accordance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Buyback of Securities) Regulations, 1998, the company will dispatch the Letter of Offer for the Buyback to eligible shareholders appearing on the record date of 8 May 2017, on or before 16 May 2017," the company said in the filing. On 20 February 2017, the global software major announced that it will buy back up to 5.61 crore equity shares of Re1 face value for Rs16,000 crore. TCS shares closed at Rs2,427.25, up 2.66% on the BSE.
 
The key Indian equity indices touched new intra-day highs during the mid-afternoon trade session on Wednesday, as a strong rupee and healthy buying in metal and automobile stocks buoyed investors' sentiments. Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the NSE Nifty rose by 15.40 points or 0.16% to 9,527.65 points. Investors remained firm ahead of a crucial GST (Goods and Services Tax) panel meet in Srinagar starting on Thursday. Both the benchmark indices touched all-time high levels. Appreciation of the rupee against the US dollar also supported the firmness, according to market analysts.
 
Bharti Airtel on Wednesday announced new plans for its home broadband users, offering up to 100% more high-speed data benefits within the same monthly rentals. "Our new plans are aimed at putting India onto the digital super highway and complement our superfast broadband offerings like ‘V-Fiber'," said Hemanth Kumar Guruswamy, CEO - Homes, Bharti Airtel (India). In-home high speed data consumption in India is increasing exponentially and to serve this growing demand and enable a seamless high speed data experience in a multi-device environment, Airtel has built a future ready network and introduced ‘V-Fiber' that delivers consistently superfast broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps to homes, the company statement said. Airtel's refreshed broadband plans are designed for ‘V-Fiber' superfast broadband. Bharti Airtel closed at Rs376.00, up 0.35% on the BSE.
 
After three consecutive days of record highs during the week, the Indian equity markets slipped on Thursday tracking bearish global cues, a weak rupee and heavy selling pressure in automobile, capital goods and consumer durables stocks. According to market observers, investors were also cautious over the ongoing two-day meet of the Good and Services Tax (GST) Council in Srinagar, which will finalise tax slabs on services and commodities in the country. On the NSE, there were 236 advances, 1,285 declines and 61 unchanged. The BSE market breadth was bearish -- with 2,043 declines and 702 advances.
 
Power utility CESC Ltd announced a business restructuring scheme which is based on demerger of certain existing businesses, group's Chairman Sanjiv Goenka said on Thursday. "This (the restructuring scheme) will lead to four entities focusing on generation, distribution, organised retail and other ventures," he said. All four entities will be listed with stock exchanges, Goenka said. The business restructuring scheme aims to simplify the present corporate structure, he added. The company’s shares closed at Rs829.80, down 15.10% on the BSE, on Thursday.
 
Following other prominent banks, the country's third largest private sector lender
 
Axis Bank on Thursday announced 30 basis points (bps) reduction in its home loan interest rates to promote affordable housing finance. "Taking forward its commitment towards affordable housing finance, the bank has revised its rates for home loans up to Rs 30 lakh for the salaried segment to 8.35%, the lowest in the industry," the bank said in a statement. For self-employed, rates for home loan up to Rs30 lakh have been revised to 8.40%.  The revised rates will be available with effect from May 16. The bank’s shares closed at Rs491.85, down 2.15% on the BSE.
 
Indian equity markets traded on a flat-to-negative note during the mid-afternoon trade session on Friday, as investors booked profits and automobile, consumer durables and capital goods stocks faced selling pressure. The key indices, which opened on a higher note following a rebound in global cues and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council's fitment of 1,211 goods in the tax slabs, were pulled lower during afternoon trade. However, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE touched a new intra-day high of 30,712.35 points. It had touched an intra-day high of 30,692.45 points on May 17. At the end of trading on Friday, the S & P BSE Sensex and the Nifty ended flat over Thursday’s close. On Friday, on the NSE, there were 456 advances, 1,026 declines and 65 unchanged.
 
Overall, the week has seen volatile trading, but the weekly gains have been a mere 0.29%-0.92% for the major indices of the Indian stock markets. The intra-day highs of the week only hold promise for the future, as, within the week, the gains have been meagre.
 

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Cunning life-hacks to help you survive these difficult days (The Funny Side)
I always say "please" and "thank you, Miss" when talking to Siri so that when the machines take over she won't kill me. "Spare the puny one. He was always polite."
 
You have to be cunning to make the best of life these days.
 
Another ingenious life-hack. My wife bought an avocado last week I carried it around for a week so that I could eat it in the 10-minute period between "not ripe yet" and "horribly rotten". That was the plan, anyway, and one day it will work.
 
But perhaps the biggest mass outbreak of cunning this year so far has been in India. Like everywhere else, hotels and other food and drink venues are conveniently located near major highways there, but Indian judges passed a law making it illegal for any alcohol-selling venue to be within 500 metres (in some places, 220 metres) of a highway.
 
Since it's tricky to pick up a hotel and move it, residents responded with a mass outbreak of ingenuity.
 
One bar-owner built a long, winding maze in front of his roadside bar, so it became quite literally a long walk from the street.
 
Some hoteliers attached signs to their back gates saying: "This is Now The Front Gate".
 
Other restaurateurs got friends in government departments to "demote" hundreds of kilometres of major highways, relisting them as humble "regular" roads, and thus exempt.
 
Of course, ingenuity can also be used in the name of evil, I hear from my friends at Shanghaiist, a news website. Chinese companies are selling portable engines on long poles designed to thump walls and ceilings purely for the purpose of annoying neighbors. One particularly irritating man turned on such a machine, called an Apartment Shaker, and then went away for the weekend. Of course, many of us already have free-of-charge apartment-shaking devices in our homes, but we call them "children".
 
A British correspondent sent me an example of evil ingenuity from the UK. A thief stole a car. Instead of making a fake number plate, he found a car of the same make, age and colour, and copied its number plate. Thus any police officer who ran a computerised check would find that everything seemed to be in order.
 
The only chance of exposure would be if both cars just happened to be parked in the same car park at the same time, and what were the chances of that in a country with a population of 60 million? The answer turned out to be not zero. A woman in the town of Coleshill phoned police to say that she was in a shop's parking lot and noticed a car exactly like hers, same brand, same colour, same licence number. Gotcha.
 
Room for one last life-hack. As you turn off the oven to go out, tell the oven what you are doing in a Mickey Mouse voice. It's such a weird thing to do that there's no way you'll later forget that you turned it off.
 
Yes, people will think you are crazy, but who cares? Siri is still nice to me, and that's the relationship that counts in the long term, right?
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Services to have 4-slab GST rates, no decision on gold
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council concluded its latest round of meetings on Friday with the decision to apply the same four tax rate slabs for services as for goods, exempting, however, healthcare and educational services from the purview of the GST.
 
Speaking to reporters here following the meeting, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said that no consensus could be reached on the rate to apply on gold, and that the next meeting of the GST Council has been fixed for June 4.
 
"We could not come to a decision in this meeting on the rate to apply on gold," Issac said. 
 
"Services will have the same four multi-slab structure of tax rates as for goods," he said. 
 
The council on Thursday approved the tax rates for 1,211 items, of which 7 per cent will be exempted, 14 per cent will be in the 5 per cent slab, 17 per cent in the 12 per cent category, 43 per cent in the 18 per cent segment, while 19 per cent of goods will go into the top tax bracket of 28 per cent.
 
"Services, which are at currently taxed 15 per cent will be fitted into the 18 per cent bracket. However, services will get the benefit of input tax credit for the goods used, so real incidence of taxation will be lower than the headline rate," Isaac added. 
 
He said that while "luxury services" would attract the highest rate of 28 per cent, health and education services would be exempt categories.
 
"Telecom services would continue to be taxed at the same rates of the past. Not in a single case has there been an increase in taxes from before," he added. 
 
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the media here on Thursday, after the first day of the council meeting, that "there is no increase in taxes of the items considered today. In fact, for many of them, taxes have come down." 
 
An overwhelming 81 per cent of items will attract tax of 18 per cent or below. Only 19 per cent of items will be taxed at the highest rate of 28 per cent.
 
Jaitley said that while the overall basket of taxes will see a reduction, he hoped for greater tax buoyancy because of greater efficiency and less tax evasion.
 
"On many commodities there would be reduction because of the cascading effect, but we are banking on the hope that because of a better tax system and less evasion there would be tax buoyancy," he said.
 
In a major measure of support to industry, the rate for capital goods, as well as industrial and intermediate items have been set at 18 per cent. 
 
Commenting on the GST Council's deliberations, a senior tax analyst said the rates announced were along expected lines.
 
"However, it seems a lot of work is yet to be done. Exemptions and issues related to reverse charge mechanism have not been finalised, and looks doubtful that it will be done in a day," said Taxmann.com Senior Consultant V.S Datey.
 
"Thus the chances of introducing GST by July 1 appears doubtful," he added.
 
"Companies would now quickly want to compute/re-compute the impact of rate change, if any, on their products and consequential change in their related margins," Partner in international accounting firm KPMG in India Harpreet Singh said in a statement here.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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