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Equities extend gains on healthy macro-data, global cues

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Sensex

Mumbai, April 14: Key Indian equity indices — the BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 — extended their gains for the third consecutive week as healthy macro-economic data, along with firm global cues on the back of fading trade war fears boosted investors’ sentiments.

On a weekly basis, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE surged by 565.68 points or 1.68 per cent to close at 34,192.65 points.

The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed trade at 10,480.60 points — up 149 points or 1.44 per cent from its previous week’s close.

“Markets rallied further this week after consolidating in the early part of the week. It was the third consecutive week of gains for the Nifty,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“The top sectoral gainers were IT, metal, Bank Nifty and energy indices. The top losers were PSU Banks, realty and pharma indices,” he added.

Prateek Jain, Director, Hem Securities, said: “Markets settled on a firm note last week as investors appeared confident in view of firm global cues. Stock markets across the globe rose after a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping calmed investor jitters over an escalating US-China trade row.”

“Escalating tensions over Syria were seen as a major contributor to weakness during the middle of the week. The Sensex and the Nifty advanced in all five trading sessions of the week,” Jain told IANS.

On the domestic front, healthy Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data added to the northward trajectory of the benchmark indices.

“The domestic market continued to trade higher and the Nifty managed to cross 10,500 levels in the week gone by amid global clues and healthy macro data,” D.K. Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director of SMC Investments and Advisors, told IANS.

Official data released post market hours on Thursday showed that India’s March retail inflation eased to 4.28 per cent, while factory production growth slowed only marginally in February to 7.1 per cent.

“The fears of a trade war seem to have completely abated as of now,” Aggarwal said.

According to Aggarwal, the sentiments were further supported after securities market regulator Sebi decided to raise the investment limit for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in central government securities and corporate bonds in two tranches.

“Limit for FPIs in central government securities shall be enhanced to Rs 207,300 crore on April 12 and to Rs 223,300 crore on October 1, respectively and this is sure to boost inflows of foreign funds into Indian capital markets,” he added.

On the investment front, provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 1,654.31 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 815.06 crore during the week.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that FPIs divested equities worth Rs 1,178.98 crore, or $182.25 million, during April 9-13.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were: Axis Bank (up 8.23 per cent at Rs 541.90); Tata Consultancy Services (up 6.82 per cent at Rs 3,151); Coal India (up 3.59 per cent at Rs 285.35); Infosys (up 3.52 per cent at Rs 1,169); and Larsen and Toubro (up 3.37 per cent at Rs 1,355.30).

The losers were: State Bank of India (down 3.31 per cent at Rs 251.20); Tata Motors (down 1.98 per cent at Rs 356.65); Bharti Airtel (down 1.97 per cent at Rs 377.80); Dr. Reddy’s Lab (down 1.75 per cent at Rs 2,087); and Tata Motors (DVR) (down 1.74 per cent at Rs 202.80).

IANS

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Lower GST rate lift equity indices

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, July 23: Lower goods and services tax rate on more consumer products, along with broadly positive global cues pushed the key indices of the Indian equity market higher during the morning trade session on Monday.

Around 9.45 a.m., the broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded at 11,044.20 points — up by 34 points or 0.31 percent — from its previous close.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), which opened at 36,501.05 points, traded at 36,599.62 points — higher by 103.25 points or 0.28 percent — from its previous session’s close of 36,496.37 points.

Sensex has so far touched a high of 36,623.65 points and a low of 36,491.83 points during the intra-day trade.

IANS

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Finance ministry ask Railways to raise Bullet train funds from market

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, July 22: The Finance Ministry has directed the Indian Railways to raise the capital from the market after the Railways sought around  Rs 10,000 crore this year, part of the Government of India’s commitment towards the Rs 1.08 lakh crore mega project.

Multiple between top bosses of the two ministries, the Railways has been told to look for ways to raise the capital from the market, to be repaid by the Finance Ministry later and should not expect it as additional Gross Budgetary Support from the Budget, the Indian Express reported.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) requires around Rs 10,000 crore this year mainly for land acquisition, part of the PM Modi’s pet bullet train project. Along with that, there is a commitment of around Rs 5,000 crore towards the Dedicated Freight Corridor project.

The Railways has communicated to the Financ Ministry that it will not be able to bear the yearly interest and associated charges.

If the money will be borrowed from the market at a high rate,the cost of fundingfor the bullet train will escalate which was billed to be “as good as free” owing to the inexpensive Japanese loan.

The work for the bullet train project which will ply over Mumbai-Ahmedabad route started in December 2017, however, since then the project has faced many challenges over land acquisition from farmers backed by local political groups in Gujarat as well as in Maharashtra.

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New 100-rupee note poses fresh headaches for ATM operators

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Rs. 100

Mumbai, July 21 : The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) announcement launching a new series of 100-rupee denomination notes has been greeted with trepidation by the major companies engaged in the manufacture and supply of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country.

Like the new post-demonetisation Rs 2,000, Rs 500, Rs 200 and the new Rs 50 notes and Rs 10 notes, even the new lavender-coloured Rs 100 is a tad smaller in size compared to the blue-coloured Rs 100 notes currently in circulation.

While the existing Rs 100 notes are sized 157×73 mm, the new ones measure 142x66mm, as per the RBI announcement this week.

“This means that all the 237,000 ATMs in the country would again have to be re-calibrated to dispense the new Rs 100 notes. This entails a massive effort which is both time-consuming and adds to our costs,” Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi) Director V. Balasubramanian told IANS.

For recalibrating all the ATMs in the country to enable them dispense the new Rs 100 notes, the operators need the concerned bank’s official Cash Agency and an engineer of the machine manufacturer together.

“Though the actual recalibration may take barely 20 minutes per ATM, there are huge logistical issues involved in getting the Cash Agency person and engineer together all the time. Even then, with best efforts they can recalibrate barely 15-20 ATMs per day depending on the banks’ cooperation. So, this will be a huge time-consuming and high-cost exercise at a national level,” Balasubramanian rued.

Hitachi Payment Services Managing Director Loney Antony estimates that the entire recalibration process could cost over Rs 1 billion (Rs 100 crore) and take a minimum of one year to complete.

“In fact, the recalibration of the new Rs 200 notes introduced last year is still not completed in all ATMs, so recalibration of the new Rs 100 notes could take even longer unless planned properly,” Antony cautioned.

The RBI said in its notification that initially, the new Rs 100 notes will be dispensed only through bank branches and printing and supply would gradually increase.

Antony said it is important to have sufficient supply of Rs 100 and Rs 200 notes to ensure there are enough lower denomination currency notes in circulation for all transactions.

Balasubramanian said the ATM industry is grappling with the problem of how to recalibrate the ATMs in terms of the new and old Rs 100 notes and may refrain from doing so till sufficient numbers of the new notes are available.

Euronet Services India Pvt. Ltd. Managing Director Himanshu Pujara said unless all the ATMs are recalibrated, the new notes will not be available through this channel to the people, and recalibration itself is a time-consuming and expensive process for the already struggling industry.

Balasubramanian — who is also the President of FSS Company that manufactures ATMs — said that since the old and new Rs 100 notes will co-exist till the RBI completely withdraws the old notes, “it will be difficult to recalibrate all the ATMs to support the new Rs.100 notes”.

“There is likelihood of an imbalance between the supply of the new notes and the withdrawal of the old notes, especially in the hinterland,” Balasubramanian pointed out.

In such a scenario, he thought it would be prudent to let the banks and service providers decide when to calibrate the ATMs for the new notes, depending on the “supply-withdrawal” situation of the old notes across all states over the next few quarters.

At present, as per National Payments Council of India Ltd (NPCIL), there are around 237,000 ATMs functional in the country, but to adequately cater to the entire country’s population, the need is almost three-four times more, or around a million ATMs.

Flying in the face of the government’s declarations about digitising the economy, a whopping 57 percent of all ATM transactions are only for cash withdrawals. Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) lags at 20 per cent followed by Point of Sale (PoS) 17 percent, and rest for Unified Payment Interface and mobile wallets. (Total = 100 percent, as per RBI).

Major industry players say that, barring the metros and urban centres, people in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and others have to travel 40 km or more to access an ATM.

“Moreover, as per official data, barely 30 per cent of bank account holders in the country regularly use their ATM cards… the others prefer cash transactions. There are problems of infrastructure and connectivity which hamper growth of ATMs network,” Balasubramanian pointed out.

India has among the lowest ATM penetration globally, averaging 8.9 ATMs per 100,000 population, compared to Brazil’s 119.6, Thailand’s 78, South Africa’s 60 and Malaysia’s 56.4.

Incidentally, China currently has around a staggering one million ATMs, which will touch 1.5 million by 2020.

(Qqaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])

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