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Positive Start to the Day
Mon, 4 Apr 09:30 am

Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock market in Singapore and Indonesia are trading higher by 0.9% and 0.1% respectively. Whereas, stock market in Japan is trading lower by 0.1%. Benchmark indices in Europe ended their previous session on a disappointing note, while stock market in the US ended on a positive note. The rupee is trading at 66.33 per US$.

Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 122 points (up 0.5%) and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 31 points (up 0.4%). BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. Major sectoral indices have opened the day on a positive note with stocks from automobile and telecommunication sectors are witnessing buying interest.

As per an article in Livemint, cigarette firms have halted production to protest against government's decision with regards to new graphical health warnings. The new norms require cigarette firms to display a graphic warning that covers 85% of the cigarette pack on both sides from the current 40%. Now, this is a significant increase. More than double the present norms.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey, prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO), states that the number of people thinking of quitting smoking due to health warnings has increased from 46.3% in 2008 to 53% in 2012. Reportedly, it is expected the increase in the warning size on packs may further increase this percentage. Consequently it may have an impact on the sales volumes and overall turnover.

However, it would be imperative to note that most cigarettes in India are sold in a loose form. Hence, a person buying a cigarette may not notice or observe the packaging in which the graphic warning is printed. Hence, the impact of the increasing size of graphical warning may possibly be to a very small extent.

In another news update, Mint poll of the 11 economists from the country's largest lender stated that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will almost certainly cut repo rate at its meeting scheduled to be held tomorrow. Further, ten of the eleven polled expects RBI to pare the benchmark repo rates by 0.25%, accompanied by a statement indicating room for further rate reductions during the year.

RBI governor, Mr Raghuram Rajan stated that he would observe the government's budget and inflation before deciding on the central banks next move. The Finance Minister, Mr Jaitley, in his budget speech reiterated the government's commitment on the fiscal consolidation roadmap to reduce the deficit to 3.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016-17. Further, the inflation too is hovering around the lows of 5.18% in the month of February. Both the things might provide an impetus to reduce the benchmark repo rates.

While the market seems to be expecting a 0.25% rate cut, Ajit Dayal, in a recent article in The Honest Truth, challenged the consensus. He thinks a 1% rate cut is possible. Read this interesting piece to get his insights on why a 1% rate cut is on the cards.

But that's just a part of the picture. Vivek Kaul has argued that the RBI should not cut the repo rate by 1%, or at least not all at once. His reasons are sound - the strongest being that banks have not passed the cut in deposit rates to the lenders and that the entire situation needs to be viewed from the point of view of savers. For more about Vivek's views on interest rates, click here.

Who do you think is right - Ajit or Vivek? To vote your opinion, please click here.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)