Friday Closing Report: Hanging in there, for now

Investors were tentative ahead of central banks in the US, Japan and India announcing policy measures next week. The indices bounced back into the green on selective buying at the fag-end of the session, ensuring a close above the day’s lows.

The market opened with marginal gains this morning, bucking the global trend. Choppiness ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) quarterly policy review, scheduled for 2nd November, led the indices in and out of the red on quite a few occasions. Analysts speculate that the central bank would raise key interest rates, for the sixth time this year.

The market dipped to the day’s low in the post-noon session, however, last-minute buying in select stocks lifted the indices into the green — closing near the day’s high. Analysts opine that the nervousness is likely to continue into the next week as various central banks are scheduled to announce their policy measures.

The Sensex closed 91.30 points (0.46%) higher at 20,032. The index witnessed an intraday high of 20,080 and a low of 19,769. The Nifty ended at 6,017, a gain of 30 points (0.50%). The key barometers closed above their psychological levels of 20,000 and 6,000 after a gap of two days.

The overall market breadth was negative today. The Sensex ended with 20 losers, nine gainers while one stock returned unchanged. The 50-share Nifty ended with 32 stocks in the red against 18 in the advancing list. The broader indices remained subdued today; the BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.87% while the BSE Small-cap index tanked 1.50%.

The top gainers on the Sensex included ICICI Bank (up 6.54%), ITC (up 2.33%), Maruti Suzuki (up 1.86%), Reliance Industries (RIL) (up 1.18%) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) (up 0.92%). The laggards of the index were Hindalco Industries (down 2.79%), Tata Motors (down 2.61%), Tata Steel (down 2.44%), Reliance Infrastructure (R-Infra) (down 1.92%) and Hero Honda (down 1.86%).

BSE Bankex (up 1.52%), BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) (up 1.30%) and BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.69%) were the top sectoral gainers today. The losers were led by BSE Metal (down 1.31%), BSE Realty (down 1.16%) and BSE Power (down 0.89%).

The finance ministry today said it is hopeful of getting the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) bill approved by Parliament in the next fiscal to enable its implementation from 1 April 2012.

"The draft DTC is with the Parliamentary Standing Committee. It is likely that by February-March, we should receive their comment and by the middle of next year in the monsoon session, it should be voted and made law," revenue secretary Sunil Mitra told reporters on the sidelines of a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) conference.

Markets in Asia ended mostly in the red as economic concerns led to profit taking. News of a fall in Japanese factory production and speculations of China initiating additional measures to curb inflation and rising property prices also weighed on investors.

The Shanghai Composite was down 0.46%, the Hang Seng slid 0.49%, Jakarta Composite was down 0.10%, Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.75%, Seoul Composite tanked 1.31% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.80%. On the other hand, KLSE Composite gained 0.41% and Straits Times rose 0.42% at close of trade today.

The US markets closed almost unchanged on Thursday as investors remained jittery ahead of the Fed’s “quantitative easing,” due to be announced next week. The markets ended lower despite a sudden decline in initial jobless claims. Initial jobless claims fell by 21,000, to 434,000, last week, the Labor Department said.

The Dow shed 12.33 points (0.11%) to 11,114. The S&P 500 added 1.33 points (0.11%) to 1,183. The Nasdaq gained 4.11 points (0.16%) to 2,507.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs950 crore in the equities segment on Thursday. Domestic institutional investors also net sold stocks worth Rs60 crore on the same day.


Finance ministry hopeful of consensus on GST in state FMs’ meet

New Delhi: The Centre today exuded confidence that state finance ministers will be able to achieve consensus at their Goa meeting and pave the way for implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which has been hanging fire for quite some time, reports PTI.

"The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers is meeting today.

I am hopeful there will be a consensus, which we can accept and bring in the GST some time in the next financial year," revenue secretary Sunil Mitra told reporters on the sidelines of a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) tax conference here.

The roll out of GST, which will subsume excise duty and service tax at the Centre's level and VAT on the states front, besides local levies, has already missed a deadline of 1April 2010. The new deadline of 1 April 2011 is also likely to be missed and the Centre has now said that it may be rolled out sometime in the next financial year.

The state finance ministers are attending a two-day meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance ministers in Goa, starting today. The state FMs will discuss the GST model received from the central government to arrive at a consensus and may suggest their own alternative proposal.

Mr Mitra said he expects the state FMs to reach a consensus on the GST structure today and present the counter draft amendment bill to the Centre.

"We are expecting them (state FMs) to give us a counter of the draft GST Amendment Bill, or whatever passes muster or has consensus among sates. When we get that we shall respond," he said.

The GST Council and Dispute Settlement Authority were key features in the initial draft of the Constitution Amendment Bill formulated by the Centre and sent to the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST for approval.

Some states — including West Bengal, which heads the state GST panel — do not agree with the Centre's proposal on the constitution of a GST Council, led by the Union finance minister, to deliberate on the state subject of indirect taxes.

The states had rejected the first draft of the Centre, alleging that it gave veto power to the Union finance minister on state taxation issues. The draft had proposed that changes in GST could only be made with the consent of the Union finance minister and a two-thirds majority of the states in the council.

After the states' opposition, the Centre had floated a second draft proposing that alteration in GST could only be done when there is complete consensus.

While Congress-ruled states agreed to the idea, BJP-ruled states, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu opposed even the second draft.

The BJP-ruled states wanted to know the exact meaning of 'consensus' and have suggested that the word be replaced with 'consent'.

These states are also opposing the Dispute Settlement Authority proposed by the Centre. The authority is proposed to be chaired by a retired judge of the Supreme Court to resolve disputes arising out of the GST regime.

"Eight to 10 states have been opposing the dispute settlement mechanism, including Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh," Madhya Pradesh finance minister Raghavji had said.

Now, even Empowered Committee chairman Asim Dasgupta, who is the finance minister of West Bengal, suggested that both the GST Council and Dispute Settlement Authority should be done away with.


Country-made solution to intercept Blackberry services

Jaipur: To provide a concrete solution for interception of data sent using Blackberry messenger, a Jaipur-based IT company has claimed to have developed a mobile communication service for all users that will work under the orbit of Indian law, reports PTI.

"The issue that the online usage of BlackBerry phones cannot be monitored by the government will be fully solved with our service 'Bharat Berry', a country made compliant product designed keeping in consideration with all necessary Indian laws and works with all BlackBerry and other phones," Data Infosys Limited founder and CEO Ajay Data told PTI here today.

The service 'Bharat Berry' was on testing mode for the past few days and the state chief minister Ashok Gehlot formally launched it here today.

"The Bharat Berry service provides more advanced push mail on BlackBerry handsets and ensures that the user remains connected to email, calendar and contacts through the servers hosted in India."

"It also provides over-the-air (OTA) synchronization of calendar and contacts to outlook, so there will be no need to take a backup of attach with the computer," he said, adding that the unique service was developed with months of hard work.

Bharat Berry works through a mix of its very advanced email server known as XGeNPlus and open source technologies.

“Our servers are hosted in India; hence there is no compliance issue,” he said.

"Unchecked terrorist activities are the major concern of security agencies, as it can escape detection by using BlackBerry's coded services. We are providing a concrete solution to the problem that has left lakhs of BlackBerry phone users in limbo," he said.

For enabling access to all services, including emails, users will be charged Rs100 per month, while to ensure access and synchronization of calendar and contacts, the user will have to pay Rs50 per month, he said.

The Bharat Berry software can be purchased online and also can be downloaded from the website —

"Lakhs of people are using BlackBerry phones today and there is no certainty that the company will continue to work in future following the controversy. In such a scenario, we are ready with similar service on low charges," Nitin Walia, director of the company, said.

The government has given Research In Motion (RIM) time until end of January 2011 to give its intelligence agencies full access to all BlackBerry services, which are currently routed through a server located outside the country.

There are around one million BlackBerry subscribers in India. RIM offers the BlackBerry services in 175 countries across the globe.


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