Weekly Business Roundup: Equity Markets Move Up; Lok Sabha Passes GST Bill

Indian Equity Markets Move Up

Indian Equity Markets Move Up

Markets This Week

Traders at Dalal Street heaved a sigh of relief as equity markets registered a dramatic turnaround on Friday drawing to a close of almost a month-long bear run. Both the 30-scrip BSE key index, Sensex and the 50-scrip NSE CNX Nifty did well at the close of the trading session on Friday. The Sensex closed at 27,105.39 points, a jump of 94.08 points over the previous week (27011.31 points). It is a 506 points or 1.9 percent hike over Thursday’s closing level. This has been the greatest gain registered by the Sensex since Jan 2015. Nifty closed the week at 8191.5 points (previous week’s closing level was at 8181.5 points). This is a rise of about 1.67 percent or 134 points over the last trading session.

Indian markets seemed to follow cues as most of the international markets saw an increase in investor appetite and bonds seemed to grow stable. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs), however, seemed to continue their selling streak, although in lesser numbers. Over the past 10 days FIIs have sold shares worth about INR 12000 crore. Long-term investors and market watchers still remain cautious and want to wait and watch as the volatility of the markets has undermined the cheer brought on by Sensex claiming 30000 level in March.

The bullion market also shows signs of improvement with gold demand growing due to the onset of the wedding season. Jewellers, however, fear that the gold markets will remain volatile on global cues for some time to come. The domestic currency, too, recovered from a 20-month low and gained 29 paise to reach 63.94 on Friday.

HUL Posts Positive Results

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) brought much relief and good cheer to its investors by posting a handsome Q4 result on Friday. Profits at HUL rose 16.7 percent year-on-year to INR 1,018 crore vis-a-vis INR 872 crore in the same period last fiscal year. Between January and March income from operations went up by about 8.2 percent and was pegged at INR 7,675 crore as compared to an income of INR 7,094 crore in the same period last year. The HUL scrip closed Friday’s trading session at 894.60 (BSE), up 3.34 percent while the session started at 375.00.

56 Indian Companies in Forbes 2000

Forbes released its list of top 2000 companies in the world. 56 of these are Indian. While the top 10 companies are either American or Chinese, this news still brings good cheer to India, which is looking at attracting foreign investors and growing its industries. Reliance Industries ranked 142 on the Forbes list while State Bank of India came next at the 152nd position. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) ranked 183rd.

Other companies from India that made it to the top 2000 include:

Company Rank
Tata Motors 263
ICICI Bank 283
Indian Oil 349
HDFC Bank 376
NTPC 431
Tata Consultancy Services 485
Bharti Airtel 506
Axis Bank 558
Infosys 672
Bharat Petroleum 757
Wipro 811
Tata Steel 903
Adani Enterprises 944

Lok Sabha Passes GST

On 6 May, Lok Sabha passed the Constitutional (122nd Amendment) Bill with the necessary majority. This clears the way for the Goods and Services Tax implementation from April 2016. Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley said that the GST rate will be “much more diluted” than the revenue neutral rate (RNR) of 27 percent as has been proposed. The bill still needs to be cleared by the Rajya Sabha. Congress staged a walkout in protest of the bill and the NDA government is likely to have a difficult time in pushing it through the Upper House.

PM Set To Launch Social Security Schemes

The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi plans to launch three different social security schemes – ‘Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana’ (PMSBY), ‘Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana’ (PMJJBY) and ‘Atal Pension Yojana’. While the first two are insurance schemes the third is a pension scheme targeted at the unprivileged sectors. The insurance schemes are intended to provide cover in case of death by natural or accidental causes or in case of disability. The PM plans to launch these schemes on 9 May in Kolkata. Other Union and State Ministers will hold simultaneous launch ceremonies at different parts of the country.
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