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Benchmark indices settle near 3-month high

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Telecom stocks and index heavyweight Infosys led upmove for key benchmark indices a day ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) monetary policy review. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 130.01 points or 0.51% to settle at 25,399.65. The gains for the Nifty 50 index were higher in percentage terms than those for the Sensex. The Nifty rose 45.75 points or 0.59% to settle at 7,758.80. The two key indices extended gains towards the last one-hour of the trading session as European stocks extended gains. Asian and European stocks edged higher after US monthly job data reinforced market expectations that the US Federal Reserve will adopt a slower path for interest-rate increases.

The Sensex and the Nifty, both, hit their highest closing level in almost three months.

Telecom stocks edged higher after media reports suggested that the government has cut spectrum usage charges (SUC) from 5% of adjusted gross revenues (AGR) to 3%. Aviation stocks edged higher on lower crude oil prices. Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) surged after the company announced the launch of its new sport utility vehicle (SUV) NuvoSport. Bajaj Auto moved higher after the company announced strong growth in sales volumes for the month just gone by.

Index heavyweight and cigarette major ITC edged lower after the company announced that it has closed manufacturing operations at all its cigarette factories in India with effect from 1 April 2016 until clarity emerges on the quantum of mandatory pictorial health warning on cigarette packages.

Shares of HCL Technologies edged higher after the company announced an agreement to acquire (through demerger) all of the business of Geometric, except the 58% stake that Geometric owns in a joint venture with Dassault Systemes. Shares of Geometric spurted a staggering 19.39%. MphasiS edged lower after US investment firm Blackstone Group announced an open offer for acquiring 26% stake in MphasiS at a discount to the stock's closing price on Friday, 1 April 2016.

Yes Bank edged higher after the private sector bank announced raising Rs 545 crore from Basel III compliant Tier II bonds on private placement basis. Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMBL) nudged higher after the private sector bank announced lending rates based on marginal cost of funds.

In overseas stock markets, Asian and European stocks edged higher after US monthly job data reinforced market expectations that the US Federal Reserve will adopt a slower path for interest-rate increases. US stocks registered modest gains during the previous trading session on Friday, 1 April 2016, as investors bet that a spate of strong economic data, including the March jobs report, won't speed up the pace of interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve. In a speech in New York on 29 March 2016, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen stressed a need for a cautious stance on interest-rate increases in the backdrop of global economic slowdown.

The Sensex rose 130.01 points or 0.51% to settle at 25,399.65, its highest closing level since 6 January 2016. The index rose 154.51 points or 0.61% at the day's high of 25,424.15. The index fell 46.15 points or 0.18% at the day's low of 25,223.49.

The Nifty 50 index rose 45.75 points or 0.59% to settle at 7,758.80, its highest closing level since 5 January 2016. The index rose 51.40 points or 0.66% at the day's high of 7,764.45. The index fell 8.65 points or 0.11% at the day's low of 7,704.40.

The market breadth indicating the overall health of the market was strong. On BSE, 1,650 shares rose and 963 shares fell. A total of 133 shares were unchanged. The BSE Mid-Cap index rose 0.24%, underperforming the Sensex. The BSE Small-Cap index rose 0.52%, outperforming the Sensex.

The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 1981 crore, lower than turnover of Rs 2144.57 crore registered during the previous trading session.

Among sectoral indices on BSE, the S&P BSE Telecom index (up 2.77%), the S&P BSE Teck index (up 2.06%), the S&P BSE IT index (up 1.95%), the S&P BSE Auto index (up 1.16%), the S&P BSE Consumer Discretionary Goods & Services index (up 0.89%), the S&P BSE Utilities index (up 0.82%), the S&P BSE Power index (up 0.81%), the S&P BSE Industrials index (up 0.59%) and the S&P BSE Consumer Durables index (up 0.56%), edged higher.

The S&P BSE Healthcare index (up 0.47%), the S&P BSE Basic Materials index (up 0.35%), the S&P BSE Metal index (up 0.29%), the S&P BSE Oil & Gas index (up 0.10%), the S&P BSE Capital Goods index (up 0.05%), the S&P BSE Bankex (up 0.03%), the S&P BSE Finance index (down 0.08%), the S&P BSE FMCG index (down 0.38%) and the S&P BSE Realty index (down 0.61%), edged lower. The S&P BSE Energy index settled on a flat note.

Stocks of public sector banks were mostly lower. Syndicate Bank (down 2.32%), IDBI Bank (down 1.86%), Union Bank of India (down 1.33%), Punjab National Bank (down 1.08%), Andhra Bank (down 0.99%), UCO Bank (down 0.98%), Bank of Baroda (down 0.92%), Bank of India (down 0.85%), Allahabad Bank (down 0.43%), State Bank of India (down 0.36%) and Canara Bank (down 0.13%), edged lower. Vijaya Bank (up 0.62%), Corporation Bank (up 0.75%), Indian Bank (up 1.10%), Bank of Maharashtra (up 1.52%), Dena Bank (up 1.85%), Punjab and Sind Bank (up 1.98%) and United Bank of India (up 2.79%), edged higher.

Stocks of private sector banks were mixed. Federal Bank (down 3.85%), Axis Bank (down 0.99%), City Union Bank (down 0.46%) and ICICI Bank (down 0.04%), edged lower. IndusInd Bank (up 0.08%) and HDFC Bank (up 0.40%), edged higher.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will announce the First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17 at 11:00 IST tomorrow, 5 April 2016. Market expectations are that the RBI will cut its benchmark lending rate viz. the repo rate by atleast 25 basis points, with the government sticking to its fiscal deficit target for year 2016-17 in the Union Budget 2016-17 on 29 February 2016.

Yes Bank rose 1.42% at Rs 867.85 after the private sector bank said that has raised Rs 545 crore of Basel III compliant Tier II bonds on private placement basis. The Bonds will be listed on the BSE. The announcement was made during market hours today, 4 April 2016. Separately, Yes Bank announced lending rates based on marginal cost of funds effective from 1 April 2016. Yes Bank's Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) for overnight loans will be 9%, for one month will be 9.1% and for three months will be 9.25%. The MCLR on 6-month loans will be 9.4% and for one-year loans the rate would be 9.6%, the bank said.

Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMBL) rose 1.04% at Rs 686.45 after the private sector bank announced lending rates based on marginal cost of funds effective from 1 April 2016. Kotak Mahindra Bank's Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) for overnight loans will be 8.9%, for one month will be 9% and for three months will be 9.25%. The MCLR on 6-month loans will be 9.4% and for one-year loans the rate would be 9.6%, the bank said. The MCLR on two-year loans will be 9.65% and for three-year loans the rate would be 9.65%, the bank said.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) rose 4.29% at Rs 1,245.75 after the company announced the launch of its new sport utility vehicle (SUV) NuvoSport built on the same new generation platform as the Scorpio. The NuvoSport's base variant is priced at Rs 7.35 lakh ex-showroom Thane. It is available in six variants. NuvoSport will be available across the company's dealerships pan India with immediate effect. The announcement was made during market hours today, 4 April 2016.

Bajaj Auto rose 1.35% at Rs 2,449.70 after the company announced that its total sales rose 22% to 3.05 lakh units in March 2016 over March 2015. Motorcycles sales rose 26% to 2.64 lakh units in March 2016 over March 2015. Sales of commercial vehicles rose 2% at 41,551 units in March 2016 over March 2015. Exports rose 3% at 1.01 lakh units in March 2016 over March 2015. The company announced the monthly sales volume data during market hours today, 4 April 2016.

Aviation stocks edged higher on lower crude oil prices. SpiceJet (up 3.49%), Jet Airways (India) (up 3.8%) and InterGlobe Aviation (up 6.80%) rose. Lower crude oil prices benefit aviation firms as jet fuel prices, which typically constitute about 50% of airlines' operating costs, are directly linked to international crude oil prices.

In global commodities markets, Brent for June settlement was currently down 4 cents at $38.63 a barrel. The contract had fallen $1.66 a barrel or 4.11% to settle at $38.67 a barrel during the previous trading session on Friday, 1 April 2016, after a media report suggested that Iran would continue increasing its oil production and exports until it reaches the market position it enjoyed before the imposition of sanctions. The world's major crude oil producers led by Russia and Saudi Arabia have convened a meeting on 17 April 2016 in Doha, Qatar to discuss measures to stabilise prices, including a proposal to freeze output.

Telecom stocks edged higher after media reports suggested that the government has cut spectrum usage charges (SUC) from 5% of adjusted gross revenues (AGR) to 3%. Idea Cellular (up 5.99%), Bharti Airtel (up 3.76%) and Reliance Communications (up 1.89%) rose. SUC is a charge levied annually as a percentage of the AGR that mobile companies make from telecom services.

IT stocks edged higher on renewed buying. Tech Mahindra (up 1.69%), Persistent Systems (up 1.67%), MindTree (up 1.15%), Wipro (up 0.81%), TCS (up 0.80%) and Oracle Financial Services Software (up 0.29%), edged higher. Hexaware Technologies fell 6.62%.

Index heavyweight and IT major Infosys rose 3.12% at Rs 1,243.55. The stock hit a high of Rs 1,249.90 in intraday trade, which is a record high for the counter. The stock hit a low of Rs 1,212 in intraday trade. The company is set to announce its Q4 March 2016 results on 15 April 2016.

HCL Technologies rose 2.33% at Rs 839.80 after the company announced on Saturday, 2 April 2016, an agreement to acquire (through demerger) all of the business of Geometric, except the 58% stake that Geometric owns in a joint venture with Dassault Systemes. Shares of Geometric spurted 19.39% at Rs 234. In consideration of this acquisition, HCL will issue 10 equity shares of the company for every 43 equity shares held in Geometric. In total, HCL will issue 1.56 crore equity shares of Rs 2 each. The transaction is expected to be accretive on cash earnings per share, HCL said. The transaction is expected to be closed in Q2 December 2016. Geometric is one of India's leading PLM consulting, mechanical engineering and manufacturing engineering services providers. The acquisition strengthens HCL's presence significantly in the PLM consulting as well as mechanical and manufacturing engineering space. It also significantly strengthens HCL's automotive and industrial practices. The acquisition would take place through a scheme of arrangement which would be subject to the approval of the High Courts at Mumbai and Delhi in addition to the approval of the regulatory authorities, HCL Tech said.

MphasiS lost 2.77% to Rs 454.45 after US investment firm Blackstone Group announced an open offer for acquiring 26% stake in MphasiS at a discount to the stock's closing price on Friday, 1 April 2016. Blackstone has announced an open offer to the public equity shareholders of MphasiS to acquire up to 5.49 crore shares, representing 26% stake at Rs 457.54 per share, aggregating to total consideration of Rs 2513.18 crore. The open offer price of Rs 457.54 per share is at a 2.1% discount to the stock's closing price of Rs 467.40 on Friday, 1 April 2016. The open offer was triggered by Blackstone entering into a share purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire from the promoters of MphasiS up to 12.71 crore shares representing 60.17% stake in MphasiS at Rs 430 per share.

Index heavyweight and cigarette major ITC dropped 1.50% at Rs 330.95 after the company announced that it has closed manufacturing operations at all its cigarette factories in India with effect from 1 April 2016 until clarity emerges on the quantum of mandatory pictorial health warning on cigarette packages. The announcement was made on Saturday, 2 April 2016.

Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) rose 0.18% to Rs 138.60. The company after market hours today, 4 April 2016, announced that its board at its meeting held on 2 April 2016 approved eight proposals involving an outlay of Rs 3322.60 crore. Separately, PGCIL on Saturday, 2 April 2016, announced that based on unaudited figures, the company commissioned transmission projects worth Rs 30300 crore in the year ended 31 March 2016

On the macro front, the finance ministry after trading hours on Friday, 1 April 2016, announced that as per initial estimates, the fiscal deficit for 2015-16 is expected to be within the target of 3.9% of GDP. It further said that the government remains committed to the path of fiscal consolidation. The government's Plan Expenditure for 2015-16 is expected to be around Rs 4.70 lakh crore, which will be higher than the budget estimate and also higher than the actual plan expenditure in 2014-15.

Meanwhile, the outcome of a monthly survey showed that the growth in India's manufacturing accelerated last month. The seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) hit eight-month high of 52.4 in March 2016. The index rose from 51.1 in February 2016. Despite gathering momentum, growth of production and new orders still remained below trend rates. The latest monthly survey showed that inflationary pressures in India's manufacturing are on the upside, with cost burdens rising at the quickest pace in three months in March and output charge inflation reaching a 16-month high in the month just gone by. The build-up in inflationary pressures may lead the Reserve Bank of India to hold off from cutting rates, especially as solid growth was seen in March, said Pollyanna De Lima, Economist at Markit.

The Sensex has fallen 713.89 points or 2.73% in calendar year 2016 so far (till 4 April 2016). From a 52-week low of 22,494.61 hit on 29 February 2016, the Sensex has risen 2,907.04 points or 12.92%. The Sensex is off 3,693.96 points or 12.70% from a 52-week high of 29,094.61 hit on 15 April 2015. The Sensex is off 4,625.09 points or 15.40% from a record high of 30,024.74 hit on 4 March 2015.

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First Published: Mon, April 04 2016. 16:38 IST
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