Stocks
Indecisiveness continues on the bourses: Monday Closing Report

The Nifty has to decisively break out of the range of 5,300 and 5,377 for further direction

 
The Asian indices had a weak opening and so did the indices at home. Both the Sensex and the Nifty opened in the negative at 17,552 and 5,316, respectively. On Friday we had mentioned that if the Nifty breaks the day’s low of 5,294, it may head for 5,200. Today the index could sustain itself above the Friday’s low and made a higher high. In the last hour of trade today, the benchmarks made a smart recovery to wipe off the losses incurred in the past two trading days. The Nifty has to decisively break out of the range of 5,300 and 5,377 for further direction. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw volume of 50.47 crore shares.
 
Japan’s economy grew at an annualized pace of 1.4% in the second quarter—lower than analysts’ expectations of 2.7% rise—as exports slowed and a domestic demand led recovery showed signs of faltering. That marked a steep slowdown from an upwardly revised advance of 5.5% in the first quarter. Japan said its economy grew 0.3% in April-June from the first quarter, half as much as expected, as Europe’s debt crisis weighed on export demand and consumer spending began to lose momentum.
 
With weak economic data coming from across the globe, economies anticipate that the further fall in equities may be controlled by a fresh round of easing by major central banks.
 
Until the last one hour of the trading session, both Sensex and Nifty saw range bound movement. The Sensex and Nifty hit their intraday low after a weak opening of the European indices. The Sensex hit a low of 17,522 while the Nifty hit a low of 5,309. Both the indices hit a higher high of 17,642 and 5,352. The Sensex closed at 17,633 (76 points up, 0.43%) while the Nifty closed at 5,348 (28 points up, 0.52%). 
 
The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was positive at 782:641.
 
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.49% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.46%.
 
With the exception of the BSE Auto index (down 0.12%), all other sectoral gauges were in the positive. The top gainers were BSE Realty (up 2.41%); BSE Consumer Durables (up 1.70%); BSE Capital Goods (up 1.08%); BSE Power (up 1.02%) and BSE PSU (up 0.75%). 
 
The top performers on the Sensex were HDFC (up 3.71%); Sterlite Industries (up 2.66%); Maruti Suzuki (up 1.95%); Bajaj Auto (up 1.68%) and BHEL (up 1.66%). The key losers on the index were Tata Motors (down 1.55%); Hindustan Unilever (down 1.43%); Hero MotoCorp (up 1.32%) and Tata Steel (down 1.19%).
 
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—United Spirits (up 11.87%) and United Breweries (up 9.54%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Muthoot Finance (down 3.23%) and Sun TV Network (down 2.91%).
 
The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Kingfisher Airlines (up 20%) and Ruchira Paper Products (up 19.96%.
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Kemrock Industries & Exports (down 19.99% and ABC India (down 12.46%).
 
The top gainers on the Nifty were HDFC (up 6.46%); DLF (up 3.14%); Reliance Infrastructure (up 3.05%); Sterlite Industries (up 2.66%) and Sesa Goa (up 2.25%). Hindalco Ind (down 1.50%); Tata Motors (down 1.49%); Hero MotoCorp (down 1.29%); HUL (down 1.25%) and Tata Steel (down 1.15%) were the main losers on the index.
 
Fitch Ratings has put out a warning saying that it might lower India’s sovereign rating. It said that the possibility of downgrading India's sovereign rating is more than 50% in the next 12 to 24 months.
 
Senior officials from the Group of 20 largest economies are likely to meet to try and coordinate a response to surging food prices due to a severe drought in the US, a leading London based newspaper reported.
 
 Most of the Asian indices closed in the red on signs of slower economic growth. However, investors kept hopes alive of new initiatives to boost growth. 
 
The Shanghai Composite tumbled 1.51%; the Hang Seng declined 0.27%; the Jakarta Composite dropped 0.94%; the Nikkei 225 fell 0.07%; the Seoul Composite tanked 0.72% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.06%. On the other hand, the KLSE Composite gained 0.06% and the Straits Times advanced 0.35%.
 
The European indices had a mixed performance at the time of writing while the US stock futures were trading marginally in the red.
 
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares amounting to Rs83.16 crore on Friday whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities totaling Rs536.69 crore. 
 
The board of Israel-based Taro Pharmaceutical has agreed to sell the remaining stakes of the company to Sun Pharmaceutical and its affiliates for an enhanced price of $39.50 per share. The merger agreement provides that all shareholders of Taro other than Sun Pharma and its affiliates will receive a cash payment of $39.50 per share upon the closure of the merger deal. The raised buy-out offer by Sun Pharma is over 61% from it's earlier offer of $24.50 a share. Sun Pharma rose 1.55% to close at Rs134 on the NSE.
 
Welspun Corporation, a large diameter pipe manufacturer, today said it has bagged orders worth Rs819 crore from overseas and domestic markets. With this, the current order book of the company stands at Rs10,000 crore, the company said in a statement. Welspun closed at Rs101.80 on the NSE, down 1.12% from its previous close.
 
Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has decided to set up a Rs5,000 crore urea manufacturing unit in North Tripura district in joint venture with a private company. Khobal has been selected as the site for the project considering its proximity to the Khobal gas field from where natural gas (hydrocarbon) would be supplied, a company official said. ONGC rose 0.38% to Rs280 on the NSE.
 

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Core banking: RBI’s half-baked directions to banks

RBI has just come out with guidelines for issuance of “Payable at par/Multi-city” cheques to all eligible customers in a standard format. But the RBI should have thought of many other possibilities of offering a wide variety of services using CBS. Here is a list of benefits it could have allowed


Almost all the banks in our country have introduced “core banking solutions” (CBS), under which, all the branches of each bank are centrally inter-connected. This provides the flexibility of operating a bank account opened in one branch of a bank in any of the other branch of the same bank. But the full benefits of CBS are yet to percolate down to the banking public, as banks, barring a few, are generally slow in passing on the benefits to the banking public unless goaded by the banking regulator. As a first step in this direction, RBI has just come out with guidelines for issuance of “Payable at par/Multi-city” cheques to all eligible customers in a standard format, so that they are honoured, if otherwise in order, when presented at all different centres though the clearing houses as if they are local cheques. Since such cheques (payable at par) are cleared as local cheques in clearing houses, RBI has directed that customers should not be levied any extra charges for this service.
 

This is no doubt a good beginning, but the RBI should have thought of many other possibilities of offering a wide variety of services using CBS and issued a comprehensive circular covering all aspects at one stretch which would have served the cause of bank customers admirably. Here is a list of important and very useful services, which could be made available to the public through the use of CBS at little or no additional cost to the banks.
 

Payable at par/Multi-city cheques

The RBI has just directed banks to offer issuance of payable at par/multi-city cheques without any charges. But there is a catch here. As per the RBI circular issued on 10 August 2012, this facility is to be offered to “all eligible customers”, instead of saying all customers enjoying cheque facility. RBI has not clarified as to who is an eligible customer, leaving it to the discretion of individual banks. With this loophole, the banks may be tempted to offer this service only to high net worth customers stipulating a much higher minimum balance in the account to be eligible for this facility, thereby defeating the very purpose of this service. Besides, this will give rise to two class of cheques, i.e. cheques which are payable at par at all the branches of a bank, and cheques which are payable only in a single city, where drawee bank’s branch is located. In order to serve the purpose of bringing about further efficiency in cheque clearing as stated by the RBI in its circular, and to extend this facility to all those enjoying cheque facility, RBI should issue a further clarification directing banks to make this facility available to all the customers who have been offered cheque facility by the banks. This may be an unintentional omission, which needs to be corrected.
 

Withdrawing cash from branches other than the home branch

 

The aforesaid circular of RBI covers only payment of cheques through the clearing house and does not include cash payments. Recently a customer of a nationalized bank having an account in Borivili, Mumbai branch of a bank wanted to urgently handover cash to the tune of Rs50,000 to his relation living in Matunga. Even though this bank is under CBS, he was informed that the facility of drawing cash from another branch of the same bank was not available to him. Hence he was compelled to withdraw cash at Borivili and travel all the way to Matunga with the attendant risk involved in carrying cash, which could have been avoided, if only the facility of payable at par at any branch of the bank was available even for cash transactions. This facility is useful when you travel to other cities also, as withdrawal from ATMs is permitted with lot of restrictions attached to it. A few banks do allow withdrawal of cash from another branch of the same bank in a limited way, but there is neither uniformity nor clarity in this regard. As the circular issued by the RBI last week is silent in this matter, it is desirable that suitable guidelines may be issued in the interest of customer safety and convenience.

 

Depositing cash/cheques in branches other than the home branch
 

A customer of a bank in Delhi wanted to make a remittance to his son studying in Mumbai. He has many options to send this remittance, one of which is to simply credit the amount to his son’s account with the bank in Delhi, whose Mumbai branch is having his son’s account.  So he went to the nearest branch of that bank in Delhi and asked the counter clerk whether he could deposit cash for credit of his son’s account in Mumbai in the same bank, as both the branches were under CBS. He was informed that he could do so only if he was also the account holder of that bank in Delhi. Otherwise the beneficiary of the remittance would have to pay a hefty charge for receiving such a remittance. As he did not have an account with that bank in Delhi, he was asked to remit the amount through National Electronic Funds Transfer mode (NEFT), which was a cheaper mode of remittance, but the amount would be available to his son only on the next working day. If only the bank had extended the CBS benefit to the father of the account holder of the bank in another city, life would have been much simpler and the customer would have received the remittance quickly and without any hassle and cost. This is a classic case of simple things made complicated for want of understanding the customer’s needs.

 

Updating the passbook in a branch other than the home branch
 

A pensioner, receiving his pension though his account with a public sector bank in Mumbai went on a long holiday to stay with his daughter in Chennai. He was very happy to see a branch of his bank nearby and went to the branch in the first week of the month to get his pass book written up just to make sure that his pension for the previous month has been duly credited to his account. He no doubt got his pass book written up, but was surprised to find a charge of Rs10 debited to his account for extending this service. He was informed that this charge was as per the rules of the bank, though, no such charge was levied for extending the same service in his home branch. The amount of charge may be small for the bank, but not for a pensioner. Is this not a case of taking advantage of customer’s predicament?
 

There are a number of other services like renewing or encashing a fixed deposit, payment of loan instalments, even closing an account, etc which are possible under CBS in any branch of the bank, without incurring any additional cost to the bank. By extending all these services in any branch of the bank without any extra charge, banks can win over the customers and continue to enjoy their patronage, which will help them to expand their current and saving deposits, a source of low cost deposits for the banks. These may appear small pinpricks, but they certainly go a long way in making life simpler for a large number of our people who do not have access or knowledge of internet and computers. But unfortunately, many public sector banks in our country are either slow in providing innovative services to the customers or do not bother to find out the customer’s needs. They only act on getting a direction from the RBI, which alone with a little foresight can make the life of bank customers a little more comfortable and convenient in these trying times.
 

 (The author is a banking analyst. He writes for Money Life under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’.)

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COMMENTS

JIGNESH MANANI

3 years ago

As per Core Banking Solution (CBS), Customers are enables to operate their accounts, and avail banking services from any branch of the Bank on CBS network, regardless of where he maintains his account.

My account is at BOB – Amreli and presently I am living in surat so that I had deposited 1 cheque of transfer (BOB to BOB) in Bank of Baroda – Nanpura (Surat) branch.

It is informed to me that transfer cheques can be deposited either at issuer’s branch or in receiver’s branch. And bank staff denied to accept this cheque so that I had meet bank manager for this but he also answering same. I ask for reason why it is not accepted then he tells that this is as per bank’s rules. I ask to manager to give this statement in writing that transfer cheques can not be accepted for this reason and also ask to see me rules of bank for this but he denied to give and tells that “do whatever you can do, i will not accept this cheque”.

There is no meaning of CBS in this type of banking facilities.

Due to this type of wrong banking many customers are suffering a lot. This is done with me so many times so i had explore this issue at RBI level also.

I think this is due to there is no benefit to that branch for accepting transfer cheques of other branches.

JIGNESH MANANI

3 years ago

As per Core Banking Solution (CBS), Customers are enables to operate their accounts, and avail banking services from any branch of the Bank on CBS network, regardless of where he maintains his account.

My account is at BOB – Amreli and presently I am living in surat so that I had deposited 1 cheque of transfer (BOB to BOB) in Bank of Baroda – Nanpura (Surat) branch.

It is informed to me that transfer cheques can be deposited either at issuer’s branch or in receiver’s branch. And bank staff denied to accept this cheque so that I had meet bank manager for this but he also answering same. I ask for reason why it is not accepted then he tells that this is as per bank’s rules. I ask to manager to give this statement in writing that transfer cheques can not be accepted for this reason and also ask to see me rules of bank for this but he denied to give and tells that “do whatever you can do, i will not accept this cheque”.

There is no meaning of CBS in this type of banking facilities.

Due to this type of wrong banking many customers are suffering a lot. This is done with me so many times so i had explore this issue to the RBI level also.

I think this is due to there is no benefit to that branch for accepting transfer cheques of other branches.

MK Gupta

5 years ago

With ref to the opening statement that, “Almost all the banks in our country have introduced “core banking solutions” (CBS), under which, all the branches of each bank are centrally inter-connected”, it must be categorically noted that, as far as the SBI is concerned, this service is payable only at a price AND IS NOT FREE.

nagesh kini

5 years ago

The RBI certainly comes with some directions in spurts and jerks that are not just half baked but more half hearted.
The suggestions made by Gurpur are absolutely valid, coming ads they do from a veteran banker with international and equally vast domestic exposures.
There is no logic in levying any charges either for updating pass book at another branch of the same bank or withdrawing cash from another bank ATM.
All banks face long Qs for collecting cash and cheques for utility bill payments. None of them or the utilities seem to be keen on motivating them to opt for ECS. The banks can cut down on paper, entries postings, issuing of receipts and no persons in a crowded branch. The utilities in turn will benefit by instant collections that go to reduce their receivables in a jiffy!
Banks also complain that NEFT is a tedious exercise for them.
If only RBI could be more sensitive to the ground realities!

Foreign investors lose faith in public sector units—again!

Poor returns, a weak government with no appetite for reforms have scared off many investors, including foreign investors from the stocks of PSUs. In the mid-90s, many savvy investors had met with the same fate and swore not to invest in government company stocks. This only shows how and why even institutional investors repeat the same mistakes again and again


On Thursday 9 August 2012, Jeff Chowdhry of F&C Asset Management, was quoted in by Bloomberg as saying that “We are reducing exposure to state-run companies... Most portfolio investors are saying: I am only going to invest in companies that are private sector, and as far removed as possible from government policy”. Rewind back to 1996, an outspoken fund manager Samir Arora, had made a nearly identical comment and had remarked that he would like to invest in companies that have little to do with the government. He had burnt his hands investing in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL). What has changed within a spate of 16 years? What has definitely not changed is the fact that investors, especially institutional investors make the same mistakes repeatedly despite obvious facts staring at their faces.

 

Foreign investors have been selling stakes in state-owned corporations and have decided to focus on the private sector instead, as they have run out of patience with the Indian government. The fact that PSUs would be bad investments is obvious to anyone who has some idea of how these companies are run. We all know that public sector units (PSUs) have no autonomy and are effectively run by the ministers through the secretaries. It has been so for decades and there is simply no incentive anywhere to change this. Unfortunately, sophisticated investors seem to make the same mistakes over and over again.

 

Consider the returns that all the PSUs have made in the last one and two years. The Sensex has given returns of 3.59% and -3% respectively. Over the last two years, only 12 out of 60 public sector units were able to outperform Sensex. The statistic worsened when only three companies out of 60 outperformed the Sensex. Such abysmal figures are not surprising given the history and attitude of the government towards economic reforms, particularly PSUs.

 

In fact, speaking of public sector units, way back in 2000, G Ganesh, former member-secretary, Disinvestment Commission, admitted that the Indian public sector has been made sick “due to the absence of a competition policy with statutory regulators, lack of corporate governance and entrepreneurship and a huge unproductive labour force.” Nobody paid attention and turned a blind eye towards this honest observation. Here is what he remarked then, and it still applies today:

 

“We need to restructure Public Sector Undertakings on a war footing as most public sector units, barring a few which are monopolies, are bound to report to BIFR within the next two or three years, unless radical steps are taken for reforming them. Restructuring methods should, therefore, encompass the fields of business organization and finance. Today, most restructuring, which is being attempted pertains merely to finance and hence becomes unsuccessful. Corporate governance of public enterprises is the need of the hour. This includes proper autonomy that is permitting public enterprises to function as commercial entities, free from the clutches of the Government to take all investment and pricing decisions, no interference from their owners. This will also entail selection of the right CEO through a transparent, impartial process. This will in turn ensure the accountability of the CEO and the board members.”

 

Public sector units do not operate like their private sector counterparts, the latter which creates value vis-a-vis minimal use of capital, lean operations, innovation, empowered managers, high quality of recruitment and training programmes. Very few, if at all, government-controlled company have any of these essential qualities. Capital waste, the key value-destroying factor, is a common feature. Instead, public sector companies have been seen as a solution to short-term ills, from helping the government cut budget deficits, to rekindling foreign investors’ love affair with Indian stocks (give it to them cheap, increase FDI limits, etc), to bringing back retail investors (sell it below market price) and to push up the stock market.

 

Even using tax payers’ money to bailout a flailing airline that continues to make losses is one of the government priorities. There is no clear policy on how such companies ought to be run and managed. Unless reforms take place, public sector will continue to bleed tax payers’ money. Yet institutional investors forget all this and react with optimism when the government talks of reforms.

 

Consider recent IPOs of PSU undertakings. How have their performances been? Five of the last 10 IPOs have fared worse than Sensex on an annualised basis. Only two have given decent returns. Coal India, one of the most promising public sector units, in terms of resources and scale, has barely given positive returns.

 

Company

IPO Price

Listing Price

CMP (8th August 2012)

Annualised Returns

Sensex Annualised Returns

Rural Electrification

105

121.2

208.85

13%

2%

Power Finance Corp

85

111.55

185.4

10%

5%

Power Grid Corp

52

100.65

118.85

3%

0%

Coal India

245

342.35

345.45

1%

-9%

Oil India

420

456.22

482.2

2%

1%

NTPC

62

75.55

168.1

11%

15%

NHPC

36

36.7

18.2

-21%

4%

SJVN

26

25.05

20

-10%

3%

MOIL

375

466.5

266.35

-29%

-6%

Punjab & Sind Bk

120

127.05

63.1

-35%

-9%

 

Institutional investors though, as usual, had got carried away with the notion that PSUs are great opportunities. With limited growth prospects, increased competition and managed by remote control, long-term value creation by privatised public sector units will still be elusive. Don’t hope too much as elections draw closer, the chances of government taking bold and uncomfortable decisions looks unlikely. But be certain that 10-15 years later another institutional investor will again think that PSUs are great bets.

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