Indian equity markets are expected to open cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of India Monetary Policy Committee announcement on Thursday. According to a CNBC-TV18 poll, the MPC is likely to hold rates and keep the stance unchanged. At 7:15 am, the SGX Nifty was trading 17 points or 0.14 percent lower at 12,083, hinting at a muted start for the Sensex and Nifty50.
1. Asia: Stocks in Asia were trading higher on Thursday after the S&P 500 soared to a record high overnight on Wall Street. Stocks in Japan jumped minutes after the market opened, with the Nikkei 225 up 1.43 percent and the Topix index gaining 1.35 percent. South Korea’s Kospi also added 1.09 percent. Meanwhile, stocks in Australia were higher in morning trade as the S&P/ASX 200 gained around 0.7 percent. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.39 percent higher. (Image: AP)
2. US: The benchmark S&P 500 posted a record closing high on Wednesday as US stocks rallied for a third straight day on encouraging US economic data and waning fears of the financial fallout from the coronavirus in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 483.22 points, or 1.68 percent, to 29,290.85, the S&P 500 gained 37.1 points, or 1.13 percent, to 3,334.69 and the Nasdaq Composite added 40.71 points, or 0.43 percent, to 9,508.68. (Image: AP)
3. Market At Close On Wednesday: Domestic equity benchmark indices settled Wednesday's trade on a positive note. The S&P BSE Sensex advanced as much as 387.62 points to touch 41,177.00, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark rose to as high as 12,098.15, up 118.5 points from the previous close. Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors bought Rs 249 crore in the cash market while the domestic institutional investors bought Rs 263 crore. (Image: Reuters)
4. Rupee Close: The Indian rupee pared initial gains to settle flat at 71.25 against the US dollar on Wednesday as participants exercised caution ahead of the Reserve Bank's monetary policy outcome. The domestic currency opened the session on a stronger note amid reports of a breakthrough in battling the coronavirus epidemic. During the day, the local unit saw a high of 71.16 and a low of 71.29. The rupee finally settled at 71.25, unchanged from its previous close. (Image: Reuters)
5. Crude Oil: Oil prices jumped more than 2 percent on Wednesday after media reports that scientists had developed a drug against the fast-spreading coronavirus that continues to weigh heavily on global economic activity. Brent crude oil futures were up $1.40, or 2.6 percent, at $55.36 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude gained $1.14, or 2.3 percent, to settle at $50.75 per barrel. (Image: Reuters)
6. RBI MPC Likely To Hold Rates: After the Union budget, all eyes are now on the Reserve Bank of India as it gets set to announce the last policy for this financial year. A CNBC-TV18 poll among ten economists suggests that the Monetary Policy Committee may maintain a status quo on rates for the second consecutive policy, on the back of rising retail inflation. The last reading on headline retail inflation for the central bank was an uncomfortable 7.35 percent for December. This is far higher than RBI’s two to six percent Consumer Price Inflation target band. (Image: Reuters)
7. AMFI On Tax Clarification: Industry body Association of Mutual Funds in India, or Amfi, has sought clarification from relevant tax authorities with regard to the government's plan to scrap dividend distribution tax (DDT) on mutual funds and the introduction of tax deducted at source on the income distributed by such products, fund managers and officials have said. Industry experts believe that the government's plan to tax dividends at the hands of investors could make dividend plans in equity and balanced schemes unattractive and investors may move towards growth plans. In addition, long-term investment plans such as equity-linked saving schemes and retirement products will be impacted too as the proposed tax regime has no deduction available. (Image: Reuters)
8. Government On PSU Mergers: The government aims to complete the merger of three state-owned general insurance companies—National Insurance Co Ltd, United India Insurance Co Ltd, and Oriental Insurance Co Ltd—the end of March, finance secretary Rajiv Kumar said. Respective boards of the three companies have already given their in-principal approvals for the merger. "Merger of PSU general insurers is at an advanced stage. We can see that happening quite soon. It is already before the Cabinet," Kumar told PTI in an interview. Though the merger process was in the works, the government would take a call on listing the merged entity after the merger, he said. (Image: Reuters)
9. Ind-Ra On Pharma Sector: The emerging price stability in the US generic market and the robust domestic growth are likely to support cash generation for most large pharma firms, leading to margin improvement, according to a report. Having made considerable investment into R&D and also capacity, the domestic pharma companies will cut down on capex this fiscal, a report by India Ratings said on Wednesday. The agency has also maintained a stable outlook for the sector in FY21. The demand-supply situation in the US generic drug market favours complex generics, said the report, which also expects most large domestic pharma firms to aggressively invest in new product platforms to strengthen their market-readiness. (Image: Reuters)
10. ICRA On EV Penetration: Despite the aggressive policy push and drive-by automakers, electric vehicle's penetration will remain under 5 percent over the next five years in the 3 million units' annual auto market, as per a report. Rating agency Icra has blamed this to the higher vehicle cost due to costly imported batteries, weak public charging infrastructure, and inadequate government support. It can be noted that globally, EV penetration has been enabled by regulatory support and wider availability of charging stations, with the US and China being the best examples, where there are the mandatory zero-emission rules, and restricted licensing for new petrol/diesel vehicles, respectively.
The government recently sanctioned 2,636 charging stations, under the Fame 2.0 to incentivize investments in the space, which if fructified, will boost EV acceptance over the long-term, the report said. (Image: Reuters)