The movement for the two key benchmark indices remained confined to a narrow range in early afternoon trade. At 12:15 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was up 85.74 points or 0.33% at 25,712.49. The Nifty 50 index was currently up 29.25 points or 0.37% at 7,879.70. The market breadth indicating the overall health of the market was positive. On BSE, 1,298 shares gained and 1,028 shares declined. A total of 147 shares were unchanged. The BSE Mid-Cap index was currently up 0.73%. The BSE Small-Cap index was currently up 0.75%. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.
In overseas stock markets, Asian markets dropped after the world's major oil producers at a meeting held in Doha, Qatar failed to reach an agreement yesterday, 17 April 2016, to freeze production. Japanese stocks edged lower as the yen strengthened against the dollar in the wake of earthquakes in the Kumamoto prefecture since last week, including on Saturday, 16 April 2016. The Nikkei 225 Average settled 3.4% lower. The stronger yen makes Japanese exports less competitive and cuts into the value of repatriated earnings.
Trading in US index futures indicated that the Dow Jones Industrial Average could fall 117 points at the opening bell today, 18 April 2016. US stocks closed modestly lower during the previous trading session on Friday, 15 April 2016, as a retreat in oil prices weighed on energy shares.
FMCG stocks gained in the wake of the weather office recently predicting good rains during the June-September 2016 southwest monsoon season. Britannia Industries (up 2.77%), Colgate-Palmolive (India) (up 1.29%), Dabur India (up 1.71%), Godrej Consumer Products (up 0.59%), Marico (up 1.01%), Nestle India (up 1.3%), GlaxoSmithkline Consumer Healthcare (up 0.28%), Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care (up 0.06%), Jyothy Laboratories (up 0.82%) rose. Hindustan Unilever (down 0.44%), Tata Global Beverages (down 0.37%) and Bajaj Corp (down 0.32%) fell. The forecast of good rains augur well for FMCG firms, which derive substantial sales from rural India.
Capital goods stocks rose. Bharat Electronics (up 1.01%), BEML (up 0.69%), Crompton Greaves (up 1.02%), L&T (up 0.52%), Siemens (up 0.37%) and Thermax (up 2.99%) rose. ABB India fell 1.28%.
Bharat Heavy Electricals (Bhel) declined 1.05%. Shares of NTPC rose 1.17%. Bhel on Thursday, 14 April 2016, announced that it has bagged an order worth Rs 282 crore from NTPC for setting up a 50 megawatts (MW) solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plant in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. The project is scheduled for completion in twelve months.
National Aluminium Company rose 5.83% to Rs 43.60 after the company announced that a meeting of its board of directors would be held on 22 April 2016 to consider the proposal for buyback of equity shares of the company. The announcement was made after market hours on Wednesday, 13 April 2016. The stock market was closed on 14 and 15 April 2016 for holidays.
Meanwhile, data released by the government today, 18 April 2016, showed that inflation based on the wholesale price index (WPI) remained in negative zone last month. WPI stood at negative 0.85% in March 2016 as compared to a reading of negative 0.91% in February 2016. Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was minus 0.85% compared to a build up rate of minus 2.33% in the corresponding period of the previous year. Meanwhile, WPI for January 2016 was revised to a reading of negative 1.07% compared with a provisional reading of 0.9% reported on 15 February 2016.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said in an interview to a newspaper in Washington on Thursday, 14 April 2016, that if the monsoon is good, if inflation continues on a downward path and if there is continuing progress on food management reforms that reduce costs it will provide room for the RBI to further reduce policy interest rate. Recently, the weather office forecast good rains during the June-September 2016 southwest monsoon season. The RBI cut its benchmark policy rate viz. the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5% from 6.75% after a scheduled policy review on 5 April 2016. At that time, Rajan had indicated in his monetary policy statement that the RBI might cut the repo rate further in the coming months if macroeconomic and financial developments provide room for further rate cut. The RBI next undertakes monetary policy review on 7 June 2016.
Meanwhile, the finance ministry has clarified that taxes, cesses or duties such as excise duty, customs duty, Service Tax, State VAT, CST, income tax, wealth tax, stamp duty, taxes on professions, trades, callings or employment, octroi, entertainment tax, luxury tax and property tax are not liable to service tax. The government issued the clarification after the Union Budget 2016-17 slapped service tax on all services provided by the government or a local authority to a business entity with effect from 1 April 2016.
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