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Indian Markets Trade Marginally Lower
Thu, 23 Jun 11:30 am

After opening the day on a flat note, the Indian indices witnessed choppy trades and are trading below the dotted line. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks from the pharma, realty and power sector witnessing maximum selling pressure. Healthcare stocks are leading gains.

The BSE Sensex is trading down 15 points (down 0.05%) and the NSE Nifty is trading down 11 points (down 0.1%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.1%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading down by 0.3%. The rupee is trading at 67.33 to the US$.

Stocks in the power space are trading on a negative note with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Reliance Power witnessing maximum selling pressure. As per a leading financial daily, the government has extended the deadline for states to join the UDAY scheme for power distributing companies by a year to March 2017. The decision is accepted with optimism as it will help more states to adopt the package for reforms which in turn can transform the power sector.As per the change approved, states can takeover 75% debt by March 2017 and need not stagger it.

One shall note that the UDAY scheme was brought up by the government to bring a turnaround in the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) that have been caught up in a vicious cycle of high debt and operational losses. The scheme allows power distribution companies (discoms) in select states to convert their debt into state bonds. Further, the part of debt not taken over the DISCOMs shall be converted by banks into bonds with a cap on the interest rates.

So far 20 states have communicated their consent to join the scheme. Of this, 12 states have signed the agreements. Reportedly, some states could not join the programme due to elections or lack of regulatory approvals.

Banks' total credit outstanding to discoms stands at Rs 4,370 billion exposure. Also, the outstanding dues of state utilities payable to central generating power stations have increased 16% in the last one year. The effect of UDAY scheme will take time to reflect on the financial of power utilities. Having said that, one shall watch out further steps that government takes to make the scheme successful.

Moving on to the global markets... All eyes are fixed on the outcome of much touted UK EU referendum. The referendum is going to take place today and will spell out the decision on whether the UK will remain in the 28-nation European Union (EU) or opt to leave.

Britain's exit from the EU (Brexit) is in the news globally as it could have major implications for the international financial market and exchange rates.

A recent entry in Vivek Kaul's Diary gives a bird's eye view of Brexit and explains how the European Union has fed into the Brexit sentiment.

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