Nifty may find support at 5,265
The Indian market settled nearly 3% up on news of a settlement reached by European leaders to defuse the debt crisis plaguing the region. In our Tuesday closing report, we had mentioned that the Nifty would reach the level of 5,220 and then to 5,320. Today the index opened above the second level and traded higher throughout the session. Although the gain was on a large volume of 72.83 crore shares, we may now see the market pausing for breath with the support being at 5,265.
The market started the day on a firm footing, extending the gains accrued in the last three trading sessions of the holiday-shortened week. Positive cues from the global markets on reports that European policymakers had reached an agreement to help contain the continent’s two-year debt crisis also supported the gains. The Nifty opened at 5,342, a surge of 140 points and the Sensex jumped 383 points to resume trade at 17,672.
The indices hit their intraday highs in the initial minutes of trade with the Nifty rising to 5,400 and the Sensex scaling 17,908. The market was range-bound in subsequent trade in the absence of any domestic trigger.
The Nifty fell to its intraday low in the noon session with the index at 5,323 while the intraday low for the Sensex was its opening figure. Trading sideways during the entire day, the market settled in the green for the fourth day in a row. At close, the Nifty was 159 points higher at 5,361 and the Sensex climbed 516 points to settle at 17,805.
The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was a positive 962:483.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index advanced 1.51% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.88%.
All sectoral indices settled in the green. The top gainers were BSE Metal (up 6.34%), BSE Realty (up 5.34%), BSE Bankex (up 3.73%), BSE Capital Goods (up 3.56%) and BSE Auto (up 2.87%).
Hindalco Industries (up 10.88%), Sterlite Industries (up 8.80%), DLF (up 7.95%), Jaiprakash Associates (up 7.90%) and Jindal Steel (up 7.53%) were the top performers on the Sensex. Maruti Suzuki (down 1.99%), Bharti Airtel (down 0.25%) and Bajaj Auto (down 0.11%) were the losers on the index.
Among Nifty stocks, Hindalco Ind (up 10.72%), DLF (up 8.23%), JP Associates (up 8.04%), Reliance Infrastructure (8.03%) and Sterlite Ind (up 8.02%) were the top gainers while BPCL (down 3.15%), Maruti Suzuki (down 1.63%), GAIL (down 0.65%), Bharti Airtel (down 0.52%) and Sesa Goa (down 0.49%) were the major losers.
Markets in Asia settled higher as hope of a settlement to rein in the European debt crisis boosted investor interest in riskier assets like stocks. The gains were also supported by a 2.5% annual rise in US gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter, which was announced on Thursday.
The Shanghai Composite gained 1.55%; the Hang Seng advanced 1.68%; the Jakarta Composite rose 0.44%; the KLSE Composite climbed 0.74%; the Nikkei 225 surged 1.39%; the Straits Times jumped 2.04%; the Seoul Composite rose 0.39% and the Taiwan Weighted settled 0.67% higher.
Back home, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers of stocks worth Rs68.95 crore during the short muhurat session on Wednesday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net buyers of equities worth Rs36.25 crore. On Tuesday, FIIs were net buyers of stocks worth Rs444.76 crore, while DIIs were net sellers of shares worth Rs879.46 crore.
State-owned explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to take up to 49% stake in one of the five proposed nuclear power plants of Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). The joint venture would build, own and operate nuclear power plants for energy generation at mutually agreed locations. It would be managed by a board of directors made up of nominees from both the companies. ONGC gained 2.69% to close at Rs284 on the NSE today.
Shree Ganesh Jewellery House has entered into a joint venture with Italy-based SALP SPA. The 50:50 joint venture company will set up a gold jewellery manufacturing unit and sell light weight gold jewellery under the brand Oroitalia Sales, according to a top company official. The stock declined 1.06% at Rs154.25 on the NSE.
Pharma major Lupin’s US subsidiary, Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc, has received final approval from the US health regulator to sell its generic version of ‘LoSeasonique’ tablets, an oral contraceptive drug, in the American market with 180 days of marketing exclusivity.
The USFDA nod is for Levonorgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets in strengths of 0.1 mg and 0.02 mg and for Ethinyl Estradiol tablets of 0.01 mg. Lupin fell 1.52% to settle at Rs475 on the NSE.
Giving freedom to banks to fix their own interest rates on saving bank deposits in the present juncture may create more problems for the common man, who may have to face higher service charges and more restrictive practices
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has always been known to be like a proverbial mother-in-law, who would not like to pass on the baton to the daughter-in-law in one go, but empower the latter only in small bits and pieces. Because either the RBI does not wish to give away power easily to the banks to decide what is best for them, or does not feel confident that the banks have come of age to take their own decisions.
The present announcement to deregulate savings bank deposit rates is coupled with two conditions, which only show that when the RBI gives up its powers, it does not do so wholeheartedly, but with reservations, despite having all the powers at its command to penalise recalcitrant banks.
The policy announcement firstly says that each bank will have to offer a uniform interest rate on savings bank deposits up to Rs1 lakh, irrespective of the amount in the account within this limit. Secondly, for savings bank deposits over Rs1 lakh, a bank may provide differential rates of interest if it so chooses. However, there should not be any discrimination from customer to customer on interest rate for similar amount of deposit.
This artificial divide created by RBI is contrary to its own avowed objective of financial inclusion, which would have been better served, if this discrimination was not practiced at the instance of the apex bank. The objective of liberalisation would have been best achieved if the RBI had only stated that uniform interest rate should be paid by each bank to its savings bank account holders irrespective of the amount in the account.
The RBI has only created discrimination between the lower middle class and the upper middle class by allowing the banks to quote differential rates for balances below and above Rs1 lakh.
Obviously, this will, in all probability, result in banks quoting higher rates for depositors keeping balances above Rs1 lakh, which will only serve to pamper the rich to the disadvantage of the middle class. In fact, those keeping balances above Rs1 lakh belong to the category of high net-worth individuals (HNIs), who are better informed about alternate investment opportunities and might keep higher balances only as a stop-gap arrangement, till the excess funds are profitably deployed.
The middle class and the lower middle class on the other hand are those who are ill-informed about the banking practices due to their poor financial literary, which NGOs like Moneylife Foundation, are trying their best to improve by constantly holding free seminars at different centres across the country. It is they who need to be rewarded with a higher interest rate, as they are to be encouraged to keep all their surplus cash with banks, without hoarding them at home. Besides, they are the people who are hardest hit by galloping inflation, which is eating into their savings, and any minor relief like higher returns on their savings bank accounts would have benefitted the largest number of people in our country.
But the present discrimination encouraged by RBI will only serve to negate this objective.
In short, the steps initiated by RBI by giving freedom to banks to fix their own interest rates on saving bank deposits in the present juncture may create more problems for the common man, who may have to face higher service charges and more restrictive practices expected to be introduced by banks to protect their own profitability, which is likely to be hit due to the higher cost of funds and increasing competition in the marketplace, in the wake of the deregulation of interest rates on savings bank deposits.
It is only to be hoped that the RBI will ensure that the interest of the common man are protected when it comes out with detailed guidelines with regard to this subject, as indicated in the midterm policy review announced on 25th of this month.
(The author is a banking & financial consultant. He writes for Moneylife under the pen name ‘Gurpur’).
In spite of the uncertainty in global demand for information technology companies and the weakening rupee, top companies in India are expected to maintain their investment grade ratings
The top Indian information technology (IT) companies, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro are likely to maintain their investment-grade ratings even if demand weakens. This is according to the report that Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has recently published, Big Three Indian IT Companies Are Well Programmed To Handle Uncertain Demand. The ratings of the "Big Three" companies are TCS (TCS; BBB+/Stable/--); Infosys (BBB+/Stable/--) and Wipro (BBB/Positive/--).
“The largest Indian IT companies have strong margins, are cost-competitive, and have proven delivery models. These attributes will help them to weather uncertain and volatile demand,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Abhishek Dangra.
The report suggests that the three leading Indian IT companies will be able to grow at a faster pace than the global industry, at least over the next few years. S&P expects these companies to maintain industry-leading EBITDA margins and grow in double digits in the next 12 months.
The bigger challenges for the Indian IT companies will occur in the longer term. It is expected that the cost advantages of these companies will diminish as foreign competitors increase their already-large employee bases in India. Moreover, business and reputation risk is rising due to increasing protectionism. But it is expected that the three largest Indian IT companies will adapt to the challenges, as they have in the past.
The report says that companies also face issues such as dependence on the slowing economies of the US and Europe, visa issues, rising wages in India, and foreign exchange volatility. The sovereign budget cuts across the US and Europe could hurt business sentiment and lower private-sector IT spending. Though deal cancellations are not as significant as they were in 2008-2009, the time it takes to close deals has lengthened.
“High unemployment rates, slowing growth, and political activism in many countries are generating opposition to outsourcing,” said Mr Dangra. “Still, we expect focus on cutting costs in a slowing global economy to support demand for outsourcing to India. Such a practice results in significant cost savings.”
The sluggish global economy will apply pressure on pricing for Indian IT companies on export orders. But simultaneously, the weakening rupee against the dollar and the euro will improve margins to push for a mixed outlook for these companies. TCS and Infosys have deals in the pipeline for overseas orders and are not as sharply affected by the slowing economies abroad. Customers abroad are likely to embrace new technology and TCS is likely to win high-tech orders, where pricing pressure is not severe. Wipro, which has reorganised its management this year, will face some pressure on new deals and consequently revenues. But it is expected to have a healthy bottom-line.
Hiring plans are likely to be hit in top IT companies, as they move to higher wages for existing good performers and experienced new recruits. Engineering colleges and management institutes, which have many aspiring software engineers, may be adversely affected in the forthcoming placement season in terms of number of students recruited by the IT industry.
TCS is likely to improve at a greater rate and may even outpace Infosys and Wipro. TCS recorded an average sales growth of 33% during the previous three quarters, last one ending in June 2011. Its market cap to operating profit ratio is 20.1, while its return on net worth based on annualised net profit of the past three quarters is an exceptional 51%. It has a unique Global Network Delivery Model and has 1,98,500 consultants in 42 countries.
Lower-rung IT companies may face the pinch on pressure on pricing and consequently, profits.