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Indian Markets Trade in the Red
Thu, 10 Mar 11:30 am

After opening the day on a flattish note, the Indian indices registered losses and went on to trade in the red. Sectoral indices are trading on a discouraging note with stocks from the IT, FMCG and capital goods sector witnessing maximum selling pressure.

The BSE Sensex is trading down 245 points (down 1%) and the NSE Nifty is trading down 65 points (down 0.9%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading lower by 0.1% while the BSE Small Cap index is trading flat. The rupee is trading at 67.05 to the US$.

PSU banking stocks are trading on a mixed note with UCO Bank and Bank of Baroda leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, State Bank of India (SBI) announced that its board has approved raising the remaining Rs 50 billion of the 120 billion fund raising programme through private placement of Basel-III compliant debt instrument.

The bank stated that the Committee of Directors for Capital Raising has authorised the bank to consider raising the residual amount either by way of issue of AT-I/Tier-ll instrument or any other debt instrument.

The programme for raising Rs 120 billion was announced by the bank earlier in December. The bank had so far raised Rs 40 billion and Rs 30 billion in two tranches through issue of debt instrument as a part of the programme. On February 19th, the bank had informed BSE that it raised Rs 30 billion from Basel-III compliant bonds to fund business growth. Further, the bank on December 24th announced that it raised Rs 40 billion by issuing Tier-II bonds on private placement basis under the Basel-III norms.

One shall note that the Basel-III norms are aimed at bolstering banks' resilience. Further, according to Fitch Ratings Report, Indian banks need US$ 140 billion worth of capital to ensure full compliance with the Basel-III norms by 2018-19. Several PSU banks have in the recent past announced capital raising by way of bond issue. This is because they would need to hold more capital for every new loan they give in order to absorb any losses that may arise if the borrowers default on the loan, according to the Basel III accord. One should also note that earlier in August last year the government had announced fund infusion of Rs 201 billion into 13 PSU banks. SBI cornered a hefty sum of Rs 55 billion in the same.

Presently the stock of SBI is trading down by 1.5%.

In another news update, drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has sought Rs 45 billion from various pharmaceutical companies for overcharging consumers for drugs. The amount mentioned by the regulator has been sought till February 2016 from 1995, when NPPA was set.

It was noted that there are 1,389 cases where the NPPA has issued notices to pharmaceutical companies for overcharging for medicines. For this, a sum of Rs 49 billion has been demanded as overcharged amount including interest whenever updated. Out of this, Rs 4 billion has been realised till February-end this year.

Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Hansraj Ahir said that the outstanding amount is Rs 45 billion as on February 29, 2016, and Rs 36 billion, representing about 82% of the total outstanding amount, is under litigation in various High courts and Supreme Court.

NPPA is pursuing these court cases and their settlement would mean a cash outflow for pharmaceutical companies that have been overcharging for medicines.

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