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Global cues lift equities, sell-off trims day’s gains

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Mumbai, Feb 15: Paring most of the day’s gains, the key Indian equity indices on Thursday still closed in the green as positive global cues along with healthy buying in metals, banking and oil and gas stocks kept market sentiment upbeat.

According to market observers, healthy macro-economic data which showed easing inflation in the country added to the upward trajectory of the equity indices.

However, gains were trimmed as a sell-off was triggered in consumer durables, capital goods and healthcare stocks during the late afternoon trade session.

On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged higher by 44.60 points or 0.42 per cent to 10,545.50 points.

On the BSE, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) closed at 34,297.47 points — up 141.52 points or 0.41 per cent from its previous close.

The BSE market breadth was, however, bearish as 1,923 stocks declined as against 908 advances.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index closed lower by 0.46 per cent and the small-cap index by 1.27 per cent.

“Markets ended with modest gains on Thursday. A sell-off from the highs in the afternoon session curbed the gains,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Positive global sentiments aided the domestic markets. Major Asian markets have closed on a positive note, barring the Jakarta index, while European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the green,” he added.

Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services, said: “WPI (Wholesale Price Index) added to positive macros that have streamed in, while the bounce in the Wall Street ensured that buying interest prevailed despite yesterday’s (Wednesday) volatility.”

Official data released during market hours revealed that a dip in food and fuel prices decelerated the rise in India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices to 2.84 per cent in January from 3.58 per cent in December 2017 and 4.26 per cent during the corresponding month of last year.

“However, market could not find much traction as investors rushed to gauge the impact of a banking fraud that looks to have affected multiple sectors,” James added.

Involved in a $1.8 billion fraud, shares of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) closed almost 12 per cent lower after the bank on Wednesday informed the stock exchanges about the fraudulent transactions that took place in one of its branches in Mumbai.

In the filing, PNB put the quantum of transactions at $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore), which is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

The bank’s shares had plunged drastically even on Wednesday following the regulatory filing to close lower by 9.81 per cent at the BSE.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee on Thursday strengthened by 18 paise to close at 63.91 against the US dollar from its previous close at 64.09.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 240.29 crore while domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 152.39 crore.

Sectorwise, the S&P BSE oil and gas index edged higher by 149.64 points, followed by banking index by 123.34 points and metal index by 110 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index declined by 183.63 points, capital goods index by 163.16 points and healthcare index by 67.42 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: ICICI Bank, up 3.15 per cent at Rs 328.60; Infosys, up 1.47 per cent at Rs 1,114.15; Power Grid, up 1.46 per cent at Rs 198.30; ONGC, up 1.37 per cent at Rs 188.40; and Bajaj Auto, up 0.96 per cent at Rs 3,140.60.

Major Sensex losers were: Hero MotoCorp, down 1.85 per cent at Rs 3,533.15; Tata Steel, down 1.20 per cent at Rs 699.85; Bharti Airtel, down 1.15 per cent at Rs 429.20; Larsen and Toubro, down 0.78 per cent at Rs 1,347.10; and Wipro, down 0.49 per cent at Rs 291.55.

IANS

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India’s foreign exchange reserves rises by $3.615 bn

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Mumbai: India’s foreign exchange reserves rose $3.615 billion during the week ended October 16.

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement, the reserves increased to $555.120 billion from $551.505 billion reported for the week ended October 9.

India’s forex reserves comprise of foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs), and the country’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On a weekly basis, FCAs, the largest component of the forex reserves, edged higher by $3.539 billion to $512.322 billion.

Similarly, the value of the country’s gold reserves increased, by $86 million to $36.685 billion.

However, the SDR value stood flat at $1.480 billion, while the country’s reserve position with the IMF declined by $11 million to $4.634 billion.

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Yes Bank logs net profit of Rs 129 cr in Jul-Sep quarter

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Yes Bank

Mumbai: Yes Bank on Friday reported a net profit of Rs 129 crore for the July-September quarter.

During the corresponding quarter of the last financial year (2019-20), the bank had reported a loss of Rs 600 crore.

The net interest income of the restructured bank increased 3.4 per cent on quarter on quarter basis to Rs 1,973 crore.

As of September end, the bank’s gross non-performing asset (GNPA) stood at 16.9 per cent, down from 17.3 per cent in the previous quarter. Its net NPA was 4.71 per cent against 4.96 per cent in the previous quarter.

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Who is Murari Lal Jalan, the ‘mysterious’ buyer of Jet Airways?

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Jet Airways

New Delhi: The consortium of Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan won the bid to revive Jet Airways but not much is known about how Jalan made his riches and how he plans to revive the airline.

According to a report in Marketfeed: “According to many in the business world, Murari Lal Jalan is a very mysterious man. There is not much information about how he was able to create all his wealth.”

“He has always kept a very low profile, and is not popular among the business communities in India or abroad. Totally inexperienced in the field, he has confused a lot of people as to how he was able to enter into the airline industry,” it said.

In the 1980s, Jalan started working at his family’s paper trading business in Kolkata. He also worked as a trader for JK Paper and Ballarpur Industries, which were once big paper manufacturing companies.

In 2003, he wanted to expand his paper business, and acquired Kolkata-based Kanoi Paper and Industries. He renamed it Agio Paper, and it currently has a manufacturing facility in Bilaspur (Chattisgarh).

However, in 2010, the paper company faced a lawsuit from government agencies, for pollution-related issues, and its production activities have been suspended since then, as per the report. “So almost his whole career, his focus was on the paper industry and even that did not end well either,” it said.

Jalan then began plans to enter the real estate and healthcare sector.

“In 2015, he approached Dr. Naresh Trehan and Associates Health Services. He went on to acquire a stake in the company for Rs 75 crore, through a secondary share sale transaction. A secondary sale means that Jalan bought-out the shares from an existing stockholder. Around the same time as the acquisition, Dr. Trehan’s Medanta Hospital had plans to establish a hospital in Dubai, with the help of Jalan. Unfortunately, this plan was not implemented,” Marketfeed reported.

Once Jalan moved his base to the UAE, he quickly expanded to sectors such as real estate, mining, fast-moving consumer goods, and construction. He was chairman of the Agio Image group, which sold and distributed photographic and consumer products of well-known companies such as Sony, Panasonic, and Konica.

He also established a real estate development company, MJ Developers. The firm has its headquarters in Dubai, but its main businesses span over countries such as Russia, Brazil, and India. MJ Developers is currently engaged in developing residential and commercial properties in Uzbekistan.

Jalan had partnered with his own family relatives to set up Patanjali India Distribution Ltd. The report says that documents from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs state that this company would be involved in trading, export, distribution, and marketing of milk products and health foods. The list of products also included herbal medicines and ayurvedic cosmetic items.

“Regardless of these claims, the company never opened, and the founders never looked back on it. We do know that Patanjali Ayurved is owned by the yoga guru, Baba Ramdev. However, it is not clear whether the two companies are linked in some way,” the report said.

Some may question as to why there was a sudden need for Jalan to enter into the airline field. Many have suspicions whether this deal would really help the airline to bring back its former glory, the report said.

Jalan, however, said: “Jet Airways is a renowned Indian aviation company with a strong legacy. The aviation sector underwent substantial correction on account of Covid-19 and created an opportune time to enter the sector. Our vision for Jet Airways is to operate the carrier as a full-service airline, both domestic and international.”

But, as per the report: “The point to be noted here is that Jalan has no expertise in this particular sector. However, the management team of Kalrock does have the essential experience from cargo and logistics management through past deals.”

“But now, a major doubt remains to be answered – how was Jalan able to create all this wealth and expand his business to such a large magnitude? We have seen that his initial business in the paper manufacturing industry had failed. Also, when Jalan moved to the UAE, he was not able to contribute effectively towards the implementation of projects in the healthcare sector. He created a company in India that was never launched. Moreover, the fact that most business people don’t know about him, makes everything all the more suspicious. All these facts make us feel very unsure and doubtful about his new deal with Jet Airways,” it said.

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