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Subdued economic sentiment weighs heavy on equity indices

“Macro factors like fiscal deficit, CAD, inflation and new employment generation indicated weakness.”



Mumbai, Sep 23 : Subdued macro-economic sentiment, coupled with rising geo-political tensions in the Korean Peninsula and continuous outflows of foreign funds dragged the key Indian equity markets in the red last week.

Consequently, the two key indices — the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty — receded below their psychologically important levels of 32,000-points and 10,000-points as investors were spooked over a possibility of government exceeding its fiscal deficit target to stimulate the economy.

On a weekly basis, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE declined by 350.17 points or 1.09 per cent to 31,922.44 points.

Similarly, the Nifty 50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged lower to 9,964.40 points, down 150.6 points or 1.19 per cent.

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, rising geo-political tension eroded investors’ risk-taking appetite and subdued global and domestic markets.

“Geo-political tensions, continue to take centre stage, as things have gone from bad to worse,” Desai said.

Besides geo-political tensions, FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes dampened investors’ sentiments. The US Fed has indicated that there will be one rate hike in December 2017 and three in 2018.

A likely US rate hike can potentially drive away foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) from emerging markets such as India.

“Domestic markets became nervous after the US Federal Reserve outlined plans to unwind its $4.2 trillion balance sheet starting next month,” D.K. Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director, SMC Investments and Advisors, told IANS.

“The domestic currency hit 65 levels against the US dollar for the first time in more than five months on the back of speculation about the government going in for a fiscal deficit relaxation, with talk of a Rs 40,000-Rs 50,000 crore stimulus.”

Provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that FIIs continued with their selling spree and off-loaded stocks worth Rs 5,448.66 crore during the week.

However, domestic institutional investors bought scrip worth Rs 3,581.88 crore.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) divested equities worth Rs 3,911.21 crore, or $354.46 million, during September 18-22.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 72 paise to close the week at 64.80 to a US dollar from its previous week’s close at 64.08.

Market observers added that liquidity was redirected from equities to insurance IPOs of ICICI Lombard and SBI Life.

“During the week Insurance IPOs of ICICI Lombard and SBI Life sucked some liquidity from markets, FII flows remained negative… Indian rupee became weak against the US dollar along with most of Asian currencies,” said Anita Gandhi, Whole Time Director at Arihant Capital Markets.

“Macro factors like fiscal deficit, CAD, inflation and new employment generation indicated weakness.”

By : Rohit Vaid

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])


Excise duty collection surges 48% in FY21 on high fuel levies

The total excise duty in the last financial year was over Rs 2.39 lakh crore.




Modi Poster on Petrol Pump

New Delhi, Jan 17 : As the government has kept excise duty on petrol and diesel elevated amid the pandemic with a view to increase revenue, the total excise duty collection during April-November FY21 has surged nearly 48 per cent as compared to the year ago period.

The excise duty collection during the first eight months of the current financial year was over Rs 1.96 lakh crore, compared to over Rs 1.32 lakh crore collected during April-November FY20, official data showed.

The collection in November 2020 was highest so far in the financial year 2020-21 at Rs 35,703 crore. In November 2019, excise duty collection stood at Rs 18,948 crore.

The total excise duty in the last financial year was over Rs 2.39 lakh crore.

As fuel prices are at record high despite low crude oil prices, demand has been raised from several quarters to reduce the excise duty on petrol and diesel to provide relief to the common man.

In the national capital, petrol is sold at a record high level of Rs 84.70 a litre while diesel is priced at Rs 74.88 per litre.

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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.



Biz Billgates

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.





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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