Sensex, Nifty await fresh cues – Thursday closing report

Nifty may move sideways in the days to come

The Indian market opened Thursday higher and immediately hit the day’s high however as we mentioned market is currently in no man’s land, it soon started giving up gains and moved lower. US Federal Reserve gave a positive assessment and its commitment to retaining its accommodative monetary policy.

The S&P BSE Sensex opened at 25,327 and hit a high at 25,426 while NSE Nifty opened at 7,580 and moved higher to hit 7,606. Giving up intra-day gains gradually the indices edged lower to hit a low of 25,070 and 7,503. Sensex closed at 25,202 (down 44 points or 0.18%) while Nifty closed at 7,541 (down 18 points or 0.23%). The NSE recorded a lower volume of 98.42 crore shares. India VIX rose 0.87% to close at 18.7425.

Among the other indices on the NSE the top five gainers were IT (1.86%), NI15 (1.12%), Pharma (0.90%), FMCG (0.38%) and Auto (0.24%) while the top five losers were CPSE (2.73%), Energy (2.51%), PSE (2.42%), PSU Bank (1.34%) and Commodities (1.33%).

Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 22 ended in the green. The top five gainers were IndusInd Bank (2.60%), TCS (2.38%), Infosys (2.05%), Asian Paints (1.83%) and Sun Pharma (1.44%). The top five losers were United Spirits (7.93%), BPCL (4.98%), ONGC (4.79%), Kotak Mahindra Bank (3.97%) and Maruti (2.62%).

Of the 1,556 companies on the NSE, 648 companies closed in the green, 862 companies closed in the red while 46 companies closed flat.

The highlight of the day was the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) at its board meeting has ruled that all listed PSU should have at least 25% public shareholding in three years. Sebi has also extended the ambit of the popular offer for sale (OFS) mechanism for share sales. The regulator has said that top 200 companies will now be allowed to divest using the OFS route. Also, non-promoter entities holding more than 10% stake will also be allowed to divest through the OFS route. Earlier, only promoters were allowed to dilute using this route.

As per reports, the commerce and industry ministry has initiated the exercise to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in several segments of railways.

In spite of strengthening of the rupee today the software stocks, TCS (2.23%), Infosys (2.09%) and Wipro (1.25%), in the Sensex 30 pack were among the top four gainers. Infosys was in news that it may get three IT deals worth USD 1.4 billion this year from the US government. These deals include US Treasury office, work & pensions and patent office.

ONGC (5.13%) was the top loser in the Sensex 30 stock. Media reports suggested that the petroleum ministry has proposed that higher gas price as per the Rangarajan formula could be allowed only for incremental production over and above the current levels. This is an alternative to applying the formula unconditionally from 1 July 2014. Restricting the higher price to additional output, the ministry feels, would incentivise production while also protecting the interests of consuming industries like power and fertilisers.

Bharat Electronics hit its 52-week high today at Rs1,989.70 on the BSE. The stock was the top gainer (7.73%) in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.

United Spirits (7.73%) was the top loser in the ‘A’ group on the BSE. The lenders (IDBI Trusteeship Services) are invoking pledged shares of United Spirits, which is nearly nearly 5 million shares representing 1.24% of total equity capital, given to them earlier. These shares of United Spirits belonged to United Breweries Holdings and Kingfisher Finvest. On the other hand the open offer made by Diageo to acquire additional 26% stake in the company ends today.

US indices closed in the positive on Wednesday. After a two-day policy meeting the Fed trimmed bond-buying by $10 billion for a fifth straight meeting, to $35 billion, keeping it on pace to end the program late this year. Fed Chair Janet Yellen  also said that she foresees interest rates to stay low for a considerable time, not specifying the timetable for the same, after the buying ends.

US central bank slashed its forecast for US economic growth this year to a range of between 2.1% and 2.3% from an earlier projection of around 2.9 %.

Asian indices showed a mixed performance. Nikkei 225 (1.62%) was the top gainer while Shanghai Composite (1.55%) was the top loser.

European indices were trading in the green while US Futures were trading marginally lower.


Facebook outage creates panic among users

Facebook suffered an unusual crash on Thursday leading to users taking to other social networking sites like Twitter to poke fun and despair at the state of their 20 minutes breakdown

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook in the movie Social Network is quoted as saying,“The difference between Facebook and everybody else is WE DON’T CRASH.” The world’s most popular social networking site Facebook faced outage for 20 minutes Thursday afternoon. Users who are not used to functioning without a Facebook window open on their devices all day, received a message saying “Sorry, something went wrong.”

As almost 1.8 billion users faced the longest outage after four years, the hashtag ‘#facebookdown’ trended on Twitter throughout the day. To show their angst, Twitter was flooded with the posts on the outage.
The outage has hit both the website and the Facebook app users. This was not enough, once the site started working as usual, the reaction again trended on Twitter, but this time it was hashtag #whenfacebookwasdown.

To apologise to the users, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement sent to The Guardian, “Earlier this morning, we experienced an issue that prevented people from posting to Facebook for a brief period of time. We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100%. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

To the technology doomsayers this was dream come true, and to some a sign of our times when a Facebook outage was among the top news of the day. For the health and well-being of millions of millennials around the world, let's hope this does not happen again, or maybe that would help.


Indian money in Swiss banks rise to Rs14,000 crore in 2013

The total Indian money held in Swiss banks included 1.95 billion Swiss francs held directly by individuals and entities, and another 77.3 million Swiss francs through ’fiduciaries’ or wealth managers at the end of 2013

Indians’ money in Swiss banks has risen to over two billion Swiss francs (nearly Rs14,000 crore) during 2013, despite a global clampdown against the famed secrecy wall of Switzerland banking system.


As per the latest data released the Swiss National Bank (SNB), funds held by Indians with banks in Switzerland rose by over 40% during 2013, from about 1.42 billion Swiss francs at the end of the previous year.


In contrast, the money held in Swiss banks by their foreign clients from across the world continued to decline and stood at a record low of 1.32 trillion Swiss francs (about $1.56 trillion or over Rs90 lakh crore) at the end of 2013.


During 2012, the Indians’ money in Swiss banks had fallen by over one-third to a record low level.


The total Indian money held in Swiss banks included 1.95 billion Swiss francs held directly by Indian individuals and entities, and another 77.3 million Swiss francs through ’fiduciaries’ or wealth managers at the end of 2013.


The latest data from Zurich-based SNB comes at a time when Switzerland is facing growing pressure from India and many other countries to share foreign client details, while its own lawmakers are resisting such measures.


India has also constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe cases of alleged black money of Indians, including funds stashed abroad in places like Switzerland.


The funds, described by SNB as ‘liabilities’ of Swiss banks or ‘amounts due to’ their clients, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate towards the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in the safe havens of Switzerland.


SNB’s official figures also do not include the money that Indians or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.


The Swiss National Bank said that the focus of banks in the country continues to shift away from foreign clients to domestic business, as reflected in the decline in their overall amounts due to overseas customers.


There are a total of 283 banks in Switzerland, down from nearly 300 at the beginning of 2013. This include two banks (UBS and Credit Suisse) classified as big banks, while there are 93 foreign-controlled banks operating in the country. A total of close to 1.25 lakh staff work at these banks.


According to the SNB data, funds held by the US entities in Swiss banks also rose during 2013 – from 189 billion Swiss francs to 193 billion Swiss francs – despite a major crackdown by the American authorities against the Swiss banks.


However, a number of countries saw their exposure to Swiss banks decline during the year, resulting in the overall funds held by foreign clients in Switzerland’s banking institutions decline to 1.32 trillion Swiss francs, from 1.39 trillion Swiss francs at the end of 2012.


With regard to the money held by Indians in Swiss banks, it rose during 2013 after a sharp decline in 2012. Prior to that, Indian money in Swiss banks had risen during 2011 also.


The quantum of Indian funds in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of 6.5 billion Swiss francs at the end of 2006, but it declined by more than 4 billion Swiss francs after four straight years of fall till 2010.


For clients across the world, total funds in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of 2.9 trillion Swiss francs at the end of 2005, while the all-time high level in the US currency was recorded in 2007 at $2.4 trillion.


Amid allegations of Indians stashing huge amounts of illicit wealth abroad, including in Swiss banks, the Indian government has been saying that it was making various efforts to bring back the unaccounted money.


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