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Equity indices snap 7-day fall on investors’ bargain hunting

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Sensex

Mumbai, Feb 8: Bargain hunting by investors after seven consecutive days of losses propelled key Indian equity indices to close on a higher note on Thursday.

According to market observers, healthy buying in healthcare, banking and auto stocks added to the upward trajectory of the key indices.

The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed higher by 100.15 points or 0.96 per cent at 10,576.85 points.

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 34,413.16 points — up 330.45 points or 0.97 per cent from its previous session’s close.

The BSE market breadth was bullish with 2,197 advances and 625 declines.

In the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index edged higher by 1.82 per cent and the small-cap index by 2.25 per cent.

“Stocks advanced as bargain hunting emerged after seven straight sessions of sell-off in the domestic equities,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Sectorally, all the sectors of broader market have closed in positive trend and no sectors have showed any weakness for the day,” he added.

Talking about the global markets, Jasani said all the Asian markets closed on a positive note, except for Taiwan and Shanghai, while the European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the negative territory.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market rebounded as prospects of economic growth and earnings revival encouraged investors to start accumulate equities.”

“The 10-year-bond yield fell from yesterday’s high of 7.61 per cent to 7.49 per cent and rupee strengthened which is positive for investors,” Nair said.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by two paise to close at 64.26 against the US dollar from its previous close at 64.28.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 2,297.09 crore while domestic institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 2,373.59 crore.

“After several straight sessions of ending in the red, the Indian equity market shrugged off negative global cues and recouped some losses, majorly led by gains in shares of banks and pharmaceutical companies,” said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund Manager – Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.

All the sectoral indices closed with gains barring the S&P BSE oil and gas index which fell by 38.61 points.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE healthcare index surged by 405.77 points, followed by banking index by 324.24 points and auto index by 292.11 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: Sun Pharma, up 6.32 per cent at Rs 583.40; Dr Reddy’s Lab, up 3.18 per cent at Rs 2,178.95; State Bank of India, up 2.97 per cent at Rs 301.45; Infosys, up 2.33 per cent at Rs 1,134.55; and Axis Bank, up 1.75 per cent at Rs 568.50.

Major Sensex losers were: Power Grid, down 1.20 per cent at Rs 193.55; Tata Motors, down 0.70 per cent at Rs 374.85; NTPC, down 0.70 per cent at Rs 163.65; ONGC, down 0.66 per cent at Rs 188.55; and Adani Ports, down 0.43 per cent at Rs 405.

IANS

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Bill Gates is America’s biggest farmland owner

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates owns the largest chunk of private farmland in the US across 18 states, a new report has revealed.

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San Francisco: Bill and Melinda Gates amassed 242,000 acres of land in the US, with the largest holdings in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres), according to The Land report.

Bill Gates also owns a stake in more than 24,800 acres of transitional land outside of Phoenix.

Research indicated that the lands across the US is held by Cascade Investment LLC, Gates’ private investment vehicle.

“Gates also backs online used-car seller Vroom through Cascade as well as the Canadian National Railway Company,” Geek Wire reported.

According to the Tri-City Herald, a 14,500-acre swath of choice Eastern Washington farmland in the Horse Heaven Hills in Benton County has just traded hands for almost $171 million – part of Gates’ holdings.

It is unclear why Gates has invested so heavily in farmland, but it could be connected to climate change.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a new nonprofit group a year ago, focused on helping small-scale farmers in developing countries with the tools and innovations they’ll need to deal with the effects of climate change.

Bill Gates is currently at the third spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $132 billion.

But even with his big new agricultural holdings, Gates still doesn’t rank in the Top 100 private landowners overall in the US, considering owners of land of all types.

The list is topped by Liberty Media’s John Malone, with 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes that list at No. 25 with 420,000 acres.

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HDFC Bank’s Q3 standalone net profit rises 18%

The rise in net interest income was driven by advance growth of 15.6 per cent and a core net interest margin for the quarter of 4.2 per cent.

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HDFC Bank

Mumbai, Jan 16 : Lending major HDFC Bank on Saturday reported an 18.1 per cent increase in standalone net profit for the quarter ended December 31 of FY21 on a year-on-year basis.

The bank’s net profit for the third quarter of FY21 rose to Rs 8,758.3 crore on a YoY basis.

“After providing Rs 3,013.6 crore for taxation, the bank earned a net profit of Rs 8,758.3 crore, an increase of 18.1 per cent over the quarter ended December 31, 2019,” the bank said in a statement.

The bank’s net revenues (net interest income plus other income) grew to Rs 23,760.8 crore during the period under review from Rs 20,842.2 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

Besides, net interest income (interest earned less interest expended) for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 grew by 15.1 per cent to Rs 16,317.6 crore from Rs 14,172.9 crore during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

The rise in net interest income was driven by advance growth of 15.6 per cent and a core net interest margin for the quarter of 4.2 per cent.

“The bank’s persistent focus on deposits helped in the maintenance of a healthy liquidity coverage ratio at 146 per cent, well above the regulatory requirement.”

Furthermore, the bank made provision and contingencies worth Rs 3,414.1 crore as against Rs 3,043.6 crore during the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

“Total provisions for the current quarter include contingent provisions of nearly Rs 2,400 crore for proforma NPA as described in the asset quality section.”

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RBI remains ‘steadfast’ to take necessary steps to support economy: Guv

The RBI Governor’s statement gains significance as the Indian stock market has surged amid the pandemic and scaled new highs in the past one month, raising concerns of stretched valuations.

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Shaktikanta Das

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das on Saturday said that the central bank remains committed to take any further necessary measures to support the economy.

Delivering the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on Saturday, Das said that RBI’s principal objective during the pandemic was to support economic activity and the policies have helped in easing the severity of the economic impact of the pandemic.

“I would like to unambiguously reiterate that the Reserve Bank remains steadfast to take any further measures, as may be necessary, while at the same time remaining fully committed to maintaining financial stability,” he said.

RBI’s approach to the Covid situation included measures such as loan moratoriums, easing of working capital financing and deferment of interest restructuring among others.

Speaking of the recent bull run in the financial markets, the RBI Governor said that domestic financial markets must remain prepared for sudden decline going ahead in case risk aversion takes hold among investors globally.

“While abundant capital inflows have been largely driven by accommodative global liquidity conditions and India’s optimistic medium-term growth outlook, domestic financial markets must remain prepared for sudden stops and reversals, should the global risk aversion factors take hold,” he said.

The RBI Governor’s statement gains significance as the Indian stock market has surged amid the pandemic and scaled new highs in the past one month, raising concerns of stretched valuations.

This is the second time in a week that Das has raised concerns regarding the bullish trend in stock market.

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