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Buying activity intensified as the day progressed with Indian equity markets finishing well above the dotted line. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 190 points, the NSE Nifty finished higher by 64 points. The S&P BSE Midcap and the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 1.3% and 1.1% respectively. Gains were largely seen in realty and IT stocks.
Asian markets finished broadly lower today as oil tumbled after top oil producers failed to reach an agreement to freeze production. The Nikkei 225 is down 3.40% while China's Shanghai Composite is off 1.44% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng is lower by 0.73%. European markets are lower today with shares in France off the most. The CAC 40 is down 0.52% while Germany's DAX is off 0.22% and London's FTSE 100 is lower by 0.17%.
The rupee was trading at 66.67 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 40.52 at the time of writing.
Energy stocks finished mixed with Petronet LNG leading the gains. According to an article in The Economic Times, ONGC has taken over a part of the abandoned assets of the western offshore Tapti gas field from its joint venture partners Reliance Industries and BG Group and will use it to produce gas from its Daman fields. The move will help save the company Rs 30-40 billion needed to build offshore infrastructure to produce gas from the Daman gas field as well as C-26 Cluster projects. The company plans to start producing gas from Daman using the abandoned Tapti facilities by August/September at the rate of 2 million standard cubic meters per day.
ONGC finished the trading day on a negative note (down 2.5%) on the BSE. Since the higher of June 2014, oil prices have crashed 70%. Meanwhile, ONGC's stock price has crashed 53% (Subscription Required).
In other news, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) reduced petrol prices by 74 paise per litre and diesel prices by 1.30 paise per litre. The current level of international product prices of petrol & diesel and INR-USD exchange rate warrant a decrease in prices, the impact of which is being passed on to consumers with this price revision. Even as prices have been falling rapidly, not all of this has been passed on to the Indian consumer. The government has been quick to repeatedly hike excise taxes on petroleum products. Reportedly, the government is likely to garner Rs 2.1 trillion as revenue from the oil sector in FY16.
Further, IOC has entered into a joint venture with Bangladesh Petroleum Company to build a hydrocarbon infrastructure in Bangladesh, including a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import terminal at Chittagong. Bangladesh's Eastern Refineries Ltd will also hire India's Engineers India Ltd (EIL) as a management consultant for a three million tonne refinery expansion project. IOC finished up by 2.6%.
Selling pressure was witnessed across majority of the banking stocks with SBI and Bank of Baroda bearing the majority of the brunt. ICICI Bank has reportedly increased its holding in the debt-laden IVRCL to 11.43% by acquiring a fresh 39.91 million shares amounting to 7.3% of the equity share capital of the company. Prior to the fresh acquisition, the bank held 22.57 million equity shares or 5.03% of the total equity capital at that point of time.
The bank has acquired the shares on a cumulative basis under the terms of the Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR) between June 25, 2015 to April 13, 2016. ICICI Bank was a part of the lenders consortium that had approved SDR for the company in November last year. Under the SDR terms the lenders will buy 50% or more of the company's shares in preparation to find a buyer for the debt-laden company.
In another development, ratings agency Moody's reportedly expects the asset quality of the 11 rated PSU banks may face further stress as 40% of standard restructured loans may eventually turn into NPAs. Banks have started classifying non-viable loans as bad assets as per RBI norms, which has started impacting their balance sheet.
Other PSU banks rated by Moody's are State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, Union Bank of India and EXIM Bank. Moody's said private sector banks can absorb a fair degree of asset quality stress because of their relatively strong core operating earnings capacity and capitalization levels.
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