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Sensex Trades on a Positive Note; Realty Stocks Gain
Wed, 1 Mar 11:30 am

After opening the day on a firm note, share markets in India have continued the momentum and are trading on a positive note, comfortably above the dotted line. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks in the oil & gas sector and stocks in the consumer durables sector trading in red, while stocks in the realty sector are leading the gains.

The BSE Sensex is trading up by 217 points (up 0.8%), and the NSE Nifty is trading, up by 56 points (up 0.6%). Meanwhile, the BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 0.3%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.7%. The rupee is trading at 66.84 to the US$.

In news about the economy. According to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at a respectable rate of 7% in the December quarter, despite effects of notebandi in November 2016.

Real GDP growth in the December quarter, in the midst of which the note ban came into effect, came in at a respectable 7% (though lower than 7.4% in the previous quarter). Although the GDP figures were not majorly impacted by notebandi, one must note that the 7% expansion was the lowest in four quarters.

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Gross value added (GVA) was 6.6%, with the difference explained by robust indirect taxes and reining in of subsidies.

Upward revision of GVA estimates for 2015-16 led to downward corrections in GVA for Q1 and Q2 of the current fiscal but despite this, there were marginal upward revisions in the rates of GDP expansion in these quarters, thanks to a surge in indirect taxes.

The Q3 numbers meant that India kept its place as the fastest growing large economy in the world.

GDP Grows at 7% Post Demonetisation
GDP Grows at 7% Post Demonetisation

The numbers also led the CSO to retain its projection that the economy will grow 7.1% in 2016-17, slowing from 7.6% in the previous financial year.

Consensus estimates of GDP growth have reduced considerably in the last two months. The government on the other hand, believes that GDP growth for FY17 will be 7.1%. Mind you, this would still be below the 7.6% growth recorded in FY16. We believe, FY17 GDP growth could be significantly lower than 7.1%.

Here is what Dr Jim Walker, founder and chief economist of Asianomics Group, had to say about the government's estimates in his latest Asianomics Macro update.

  • The government's new growth forecasts are not only optimistic but downright bizarre. The market is concerned that even with the new (still optimistic) growth forecast of 7.1%, the government's budget deficit target of 3.5% of GDP will be overshot.

A while back, in an interview with Vivek Kaul and Rahul Goel, CEO of Equitymaster, Dr Jim Walker had shared his views on a variety of topics including the Indian and Chinese economies. It's worth revisiting.

Moving on to news from stocks in the auto sector. India's largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki reported a 10.9% increase in total sales at 130,280 units in February as against 117,451 in the same month in the previous year.

The company's domestic sales stood at 120,735 units, up 11.7% from 108,115 units in February last year.

Maruti Suzuki's sales have clearly left behind problems arising due to notebandi and have delivered robust numbers. The incremental capacity coming from the new Gujarat facility and launch of Ignis, the has brought in in the incremental numbers.

Sales of mini segment cars, including, Alto and WagonR, were down by 6.8% at 33,079 units during the month under review compared to 35,495 units in February 2016, MSI said in a statement.

The auto major further said sales of the compact segment comprising Swift, Estilo, Dzire and Baleno grew 9.4%to 47,002 units last month as against 42,970 units in the year-ago month.

Exports in February this year 2.2% to 9,545 units as compared with 9,336 units in the same month last year.

Meanwhile, the company strengthened its leadership position in the domestic passenger vehicle market last month, with 8 of its models featuring in the top 10 selling brands.

According to the latest data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Maruti's Alto retained the best-selling model tag in February with 22,998 units as against 21,462 in January 2016.

The company, which had 6 models on the top 10 selling passenger vehicles (PVs) list in January 2016, is driving towards 50% market share in the segment.

At the time of writing, Maruti Suzuki share price was trading up by 0.7%.

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