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Sensex Trades Flat; Metal Stocks Witness Buying
Mon, 23 Jan 01:30 pm

After opening the day on a flat note, the Indian share markets have lost most of the morning gains and are trading flat. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks in the metal sector and the realty sector trading on a positive note, while stocks in the pharma sector and the capital goods sector leading the losses.

The BSE Sensex is trading up by 14 points (up 0.1%) and the NSE Nifty is trading up by 11 points (up 0.1%). Meanwhile, the BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.1% while the BSE Small Cap index is up by 0.2%. The rupee is trading at 68.09 to the US$.

The country's largest public sector lender, State Bank of India (SBI) raised Rs 56.8 billion by issuing preferential shares to the government.

The bank allotted 210 million preferential shares at a price of Rs 269.59 per unit of face value of Re 1 each, including a premium of Rs 268.59 per unit for a total consideration of Rs 56.8 billion. The fund infusion is part of total capital support of Rs 75.7 billion to SBI fixed for the current financial year. The Finance Ministry had allotted 75 per cent of the amount initially while the rest was withheld.

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The remaining amount, to be released later is linked to performance, with particular reference to greater efficiency, growth of both credit and deposits and reduction in the cost of operations, it had said.

SBI has begun regulatory procedures to receive the remaining 25%, that is Rs 18.9 billion worth of capital support. The government is expected to provide the remaining amount to the bank by March 31 2017.

The preferential allotment will enable the bank to meet common capital ratio (CET-1) capital requirement under Basel-III norms.

The government, in July last, had announced a total capital infusion of Rs 229 billion to 13 PSU banks, including SBI, PNB and IOB, in this fiscal to enhance their lending operations.

In related news, SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya in an interview said the bank plans to tap the capital markets and may raise up to US$ 15 billion next fiscal.

The added capital infusion will go a long way in strengthening SBI's finances.

Moving on to news from the commodities sector. Gold prices have risen to their highest in two months amid uncertainties over the forthcoming economic policies of US President Donald Trump.

Investors sought safer assets amid uncertainty around the US economic policies going forward and as the dollar declined against other major currencies.

Donald Trump, who took power as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, pledged to end the "American carnage" of social and economic woes in an inaugural address that was a populist and nationalist rallying cry, prompting investor concern about protectionist trade policies.

With no clear direction in economic policy emerging from the newest president's public address, spot gold rose 0.7%, to $1,217.81 per ounce it earlier touched a high of US$ 1,219.43, the most since 22 November 2017. US gold futures were up 1.1 %, to US$ 1,218.20.

Gold Rises Amid Uncertainty
Gold Rises Amid Uncertainty

As the leader of the world's largest economy, Trump's economic policies will have a far reaching effect on India and the world. Investors rushing towards gold as a safe haven signals uncertainties over Trump's policies and the effectiveness of implementation of any economic reforms promised during the campaigning period.

It remains to be seen how the Trump government's policies affects India and Indian companies going forward. Speculations over policies have already affected stocks of IT companies. However, fundamentally strong companies will be poised to face the headwinds facing India over any adverse economic policies of the US government.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)