Thursday’s Market Preview: Cautious opening likely

The local market is likely to witness a cautious opening on the back of negative global cues. The US markets closed mixed overnight on earnings concerns while the Asian markets were also mixed in early trade as the initial enthusiasm surrounding Bank of Japan’s economy-boosting moves began to fade. The SGX Nifty was down 11 points to 6,200 from its previous close of 6,211. The government is set to announce its weekly inflation numbers, which is likely to give some direction to the Indian market.

The market opened firm on Wednesday on positive announcements from various central banks. Investors took the opportunity to book profits after the indices touched their fresh 33-month highs in early trade. Choppy trade led the indices lower in post-noon trade but a decent recovery ensured a closing well above the day's lows. The Sensex added 135.37 points (0.66%) to close at 20,543. The Nifty settled at 6,186, up 40.65 points (0.66%).

Wall Street settled mixed on Wednesday on earnings concerns. Technology stocks led the decline on Nasdaq led by Citrix Systems and Equinix Incorporated. Besides, Morgan Stanley downgraded some tech companies to ‘underweight’ on worries about a slowdown in Asia. In economic news, the ADP Employer Services report said private payrolls fell by 39,000 in September, underscoring concerns about the weak labour market.

The Dow rose 22.93 points (0.21%) to 10,967. The S&P 500 was down 0.78 points (0.07%) to 1,159. The Nasdaq fell 19.17 points (0.80%) 2,380.

Asian markets were mixed as the initial euphoria surrounding Bank of Japan’s morale-boosting measures faded away. In a key development, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said his country will stick to its policy of gradually increasing the currency’s flexibility and hit out at European Union leaders for joining hands with the US to pressure the Chinese government.

The Hang Seng was up 0.25%, Nikkei 225 was up 0.12% and Taiwan Weighted gained 0.19%. On the other hand, Jakarta Composite was down 0.15%, KLSE Composite was down 0.08%, Straits Times was down 0.38% and Seoul Composite was down 0.27%. The SGX Nifty was down 11 points to 6,200 from its previous close of 6,211.
Credit offtake from banks grew by 19.2% during the one-year period ended 24 September 2010, up from 12% in the year-ago period.

As of 24th September, credit offtake from banks stood at Rs35.25 lakh crore. As of 25 September 2009, bank credit for the 12 month period was Rs 29.57 lakh crore, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in its annual monetary policy the RBI has estimated that credit would grow by 20% this fiscal.


Frozen inoperative PF accounts to improve return by 0.25%

New Delhi: The decision to stop giving interest on deposits in inoperative accounts with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) would improve returns for three crore operational accounts by 0.25% next fiscal, reports PTI quoting a study by a retirement fund manager.

The trustees of the EPFO on 15th September decided to stop crediting interest in these inoperative accounts with effect from 1 April 2011.

Inoperative accounts are those accounts in which no provident fund contribution is received for a period of the 36 months or more. At present, over Rs15,000 crore of the unclaimed money is lying in more than three crore inoperative accounts.

The latest estimates by EPFO say that about Rs5,000 crore left in such accounts in 2011-12 would earn over Rs400 crore which would help improve the rate of return on deposits by other live subscribers by 0.25%.

"The rational expectations indicate that about Rs5,000 crore would remain with EPFO in inoperative accounts next fiscal which would help us crediting over Rs400 crore or 0.25% extra return in live accounts," Central Provident Fund commissioner Samirendra Chatterjee told PTI.

EPFO has estimated that about Rs10,000 crore would taken out of these inoperative account holders out of the total Rs15,000 crore money lying in such accounts.

About 24 lakh inoperative accounts holders, which form just 8% of total three crore such subscribers, account for Rs10,000 crore lying in such accounts.

These 8% of account holders are those who have intentionally continued to keep their money in their accounts for years together after they have retired or left jobs, the EPFO analysis said.

They did so because there is no other investment option which gives them 100% capital security and return of over 8.5% in the country, it added.

Mr Chatterjee said, "It is also expected that these Rs10,000 crore withdrawn from the inoperative accounts will find their way with safe avenues like fixed deposits."

Asked about the next year's rate of return for EPFO subscribers, he said, "It is too premature to say now, but it is true that the live account holders would get the benefits of income on frozen inoperative accounts next fiscal onward."


Hiring in Indian private sector flat in September

New Delhi: The pace of recruitment by Indian private sector companies in September, 2010, remained more or less at the same level as the previous month, reports PTI.

According to private sector lender HSBC's Purchasing Managers' Index, which provides a monthly snapshot of economic trends, there was an increase in services sector hiring, but job cuts by manufacturers left the employment rate unchanged in September, 2010, vis-à-vis the previous month.

Commenting on the report, HSBC Asian economics research co-head Frederic Neumann said: "... India's service industry is stepping off the throttle. Along with the manufacturing sector, growth is slowing, although the expansion continues."

"All this suggests a mild easing of demand growth since the red-hot pace earlier this year," Mr Neumann added.

The report, which was compiled by leading global financial information services company Markit, said that manufacturing data showed a slowdown in output gains. However, companies in the service sector in the country reported a solid rise in new work during September.

The report said many analysts anticipated that improved marketing initiatives and high quality services will boost orders over the coming year.

However, an even bigger rise in input costs within the manufacturing industry meant that overall input price inflation was broadly unchanged since August, the report said.

"Price pressures, however, have not eased meaningfully, which represents a challenge for the central bank," Mr Neumann said.

Mr Neumann further said that mild easing of demand growth is hardly enough to relax the guard against inflation. RBI officials may need to tighten the monetary policy further to avert price pressure from becoming entrenched, he said.


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