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Indian Stock Markets Open Firm
Fri, 29 Jan 09:30 am

Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note with stock markets in China and Taiwan trading up by 2.3% and 1.9% respectively. Major indices in Europe ended their previous session on a disappointing note. However, benchmark indices in US ended their previous session in green. The rupee is trading at 68.08 per US$.

Indian stock markets have opened the day on a strong note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 110 points (up 0.5%) and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 43 points (up 0.6%). Both BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.4% and 0.3% respectively. Barring banking sector, major sectoral indices have opened the day in green. Stocks from information technology and pharmaceutical sectors witnessing maximum buying interest.

ICICI Bank reported its results for the quarter ended December 2015. The bank has reported lowest profit growth in the past four years. The bank's performance was impacted on the back of sharp rise in bad loans. Subsequently this resulted in higher provisioning, that is setting aside money to cover the risk of default.

The bad loans increased by a third to Rs 211.4 billion on a sequential basis. The gross Non-Performing Asset (NPA) increased by 0.95% QoQ to a whopping 4.72% in the December quarter.

Subsequently, provisions grew 200% QoQ to Rs 28.4 billion. The increase in bad loans and provisions was largely on account of RBI's directive to set aside money against visible stressed assets. RBI had asked lenders to identify accounts which showed clear signs of stress and make provisions to cover them in the second half of fiscal 2016. Reportedly, the bank has also stated that the bad loans were exacerbated by a large steel company's account getting reclassified as NPA. Inspite of this, the net interest margins improved by 0.07% to 3.53%. Further, net interest income, difference between interest earned on loans and that paid on deposits grew by 13% YoY to Rs 54.5 billion.

Further, things do not seem to improve atleast in the near term. The company has only recognized half of the entire NPAs as per RBIs directive to recognize visible stressed assets. The remaining half will be recognized in the last quarter. Asset quality issues will be the key thing to watch out for going forward. The stock is trading down by 5%.

Maruti Suzuki too reported its results for the quarter ended December 2015. The net sales grew by 20.4% YoY to Rs 147.6 billion. The volumes of car sold increased by 13.8% YoY to 374,182 units during the quarter. Exports too grew by 8% YoY to 31,187 units.

However, the disappointment came in on the margins front. The operating margins declined by 2% to 14.5%. The margins were impacted on the back of higher advertisement costs coupled with higher employee expense. There was a sharp rise in the advertisement expense on account of launch of new models such as Baleno, WagonR AGS and a facelift edition of Ertiga. Advertising expenses went up by Rs 700 million on a sequential basis. Further, employee cost shot up on the back of one-time bonus payment. The net profits grew by 27.1% YoY to Rs 10.2 billion.

Maruti will unveil a new compact sports vehicle (SUV) named Vitara Breeza to widen its line of models. Pick up in sales from the new models coupled with operating margins will be the key things to watch out for going forward. The stock is trading down by 2.6%.

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