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Markets Open in Green
Wed, 20 Apr 09:30 am

Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a negative note. Stock markets in China and Hong Kong are trading lower by 2.6% and 1% respectively. Benchmark indices in Europe ended their previous session in red. Whereas, benchmark indices in the US ended their previous session on a positive note. The rupee is trading at 66.66 per US$.

Indian stock markets have opened the day in green. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 40 points (up 0.2%) and NSE Nifty is trading marginally lower by 2 points (down 0.02%). Both, BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.3% and 0.5% respectively. Major sectoral indices have opened the day on a mixed note with stocks from metal sector witnessing maximum buying interest. However, stock from information technology and telecommunication sector are facing selling pressure.

As per an article in Livemint, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) board has approved a proposal to sell shares of its unit HDFC Standard Life Insurance Corporation (HSLI) to the public for the first time. HSLI is a joint venture between HDFC and Standard Life.

Further, the board has approved to sell up-to 10% stake in HSLI. The divestment is scheduled to take place in the second half of this calendar year. HDFC owns around 61.65% in this joint venture.

Earlier this month, HDFC had sold a 9% stake to Standard Life for Rs 17 billion. This led to Standard Life's holdings increasing to 35%. The proceeds will allow HDFC to free up capital. The stock is trading up by 2.19%

In another news update, Employee Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has rolled back its decision to tighten provident fund (PF) withdrawal norms.

The government had revised the employees provident fund (EPF) norms a few months back. The contribution to the EPF account is done by both parties: the employer as well as the employee.

Earlier, before the revision took place, the employee could withdraw the amount contributed by the employer before the age of retirement. However, with the introduction of new rules the employee was barred to withdraw the amount contributed by the employer before retirement.

This led to huge protests by the trade unions leading to government retracting the new provisions. Earlier the government also rolled back a key budget proposal for only 40% tax exemption of the total corpus of EPF withdrawn at the time of retirement. This would have made the remaining 60% of the EPF's incremental corpus from fiscal year 2017 taxable unless the amount was invested in an annuity product.

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