We have mentioned in Friday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex might go sideways. The major indices of the Indian stock markets made reasonable gains over Friday’s close. The trends of the major indices in the course of Monday’s trading are given in the table below:
Positive domestic cues, coupled with a strong rupee and healthy buying in capital goods and consumer durables sectors, gave a fillip to the Indian equity markets during the mid-afternoon trade session on Monday. Both the key Indian indices touched new 52-week high levels during the intra-day trade.
Healthy macro-economic data -- the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) which showed that India's manufacturing activity rose to 52.5 in March from 50.7 in February -- aided the upward trajectory of the key Indian indices. Besides, investors' sentiments were buoyed by the passage of the Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 -- a major tax reform -- and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's pegging India's GDP growth at 7.7% in 2018.
The BSE market breadth was bullish -- with 1,922 advances and 776 declines. There were 1,267 advances, 417 declines and 78 unchanged.
After the merger of five associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, top public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) began operations on Monday with 500 million customers. The associate banks which merged with the SBI are State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank Of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Travancore besides the Bharatiya Mahila Bank. "The SBI opened as 'one bank' today and will continue to operate in the same manner as before post-merger. New products and services will come across more seamlessly," SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told the media. Bringing cheer to its old customers, SBI also cut the base rate by 15 basis points (bps) to 9.10% with effect from April 1. Earlier, the base rate stood at 9.25%. The base rate will be effective for those who have raised loans prior to April 1, 2016. Meanwhile, the marginal cost-based lending rate (MCLR), applicable to those who have raised loans after March 31, 2016, remains unchanged. The one-year MCLR rate is at 8% while the three-year rate stands at 8.15%. State Bank of India shares closed at Rs293.15 up 0.19% on the BSE.
Two- and three-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto reported a decline of 11% in its total sales, including exports, for March 2017. According to the company, its total sales during the month under review fell to 272,197 units from 305,800 units reported during the corresponding month of 2016.
Besides, its total domestic sales in March stood at 169,279 units -- down 17 per cent -- from 204,281 units sold during the like month of last year. On the other hand, its overall exports during the last month were a tad higher by a per cent to 102,918 units from 101,519 units shipped out during the corresponding month of 2016. The company's total motorcycle sales during the month under review slipped by eight per cent to 244,235 units from 264,249 units sold in the like month of last year. In addition, the overall commercial vehicle sales plunged by 33 per cent to 27,962 units from 41,551 units sold during March 2016. On financial year basis, the company's total sales, including exports during 2016-17, were lower by 6% at 3,665,950 units from 3,893,581 units sold during April 2015-March 2016. The domestic sales during 2016-17, however, were up by five per cent at 2,254,617 units, whereas the overall exports were lower by 19% at 1,411,333 units. The company's total motorcycle sales during the fiscal under review slipped by four per cent to 3,219,932 units, while the sales of commercial vehicle sales edged lower by 17% to 446,018 units during April-March 2017. Bhattacharya said the combined entity will enhance productivity, increase operational efficiency, mitigate geographical risks, drive synergies across multiple dimensions and ensure higher levels of customer delight. With the merger, SBI is now catapulted among the top ranking 50 banks in the world in terms of assets now worth Rs37,00,000 crore. Bajaj Auto shares closed at Rs2,783.90, down 0.84% on the BSE.
India's manufacturing sector expanded last month due to healthy demand conditions and softer inflationary pressure, a key macro-economic data showed on Monday. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) which is a composite indicator of manufacturing performance rose to a five-month high of 52.5 in March, from 50.7 reported for February. An index reading of above 50 indicates an overall increase in economic activity, and below 50 an overall decrease. "PMI data for March reveal positive developments in the Indian manufacturing sector. Rates of expansion in factory orders and production accelerated again, encouraging some companies to scale up their input buying and take on additional workers," said Pollyanna De Lima, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report. "The favourable demand environment was supported by relatively muted inflationary pressures. Given that input costs rose at a softer pace, a whopping 96 per cent of goods producers kept their selling prices unchanged over the month." "Looking ahead, production volumes are likely to rise further as businesses will seek to replenish their stocks. Indeed, we saw a marked drop in inventories of finished items, alongside a stronger degree of confidence towards the year-ahead outlook for output," De Lima said. The report pointed out that the increase in total "new work" was supported by higher new export orders, which grew at a solid and accelerated pace. Besides, the macro-economic data disclosed that intermediate goods sub-sector led the growth in overall manufacturing output. "Out of the three broad areas of manufacturing, intermediate goods was March's shining star, as growth of new work, production and input buying in this category surpassed those seen at consumer and capital goods firms," De Lima added. Further, the report revealed that "business confidence" among manufacturers improved in March, with almost one-fifth of panellists expecting output levels at their units to be higher in 12 months' time. "Forecasts of a pick-up in demand and the launch of new product lines were the main factors underpinning optimism," the report said. In addition, the macro-economic data showed that manufacturing jobs rose in March as some firms hired extra staff in line with efforts to expand capacity.
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
The closing values of the major Asian indices are given in the table below: