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Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note with stock markets in Japan and Hong Kong trading higher by 1.3% and 0.5% respectively. Benchmark indices in the US and Europe ended their previous session on an encouraging note with stock markets in Germany ending the day higher by 1.3%. The rupee is trading at 67.14 per US$.
Indian stock markets have opened the day on a flattish note. The BSE Sensex is trading marginally higher by 40 points (up 0.1%) and the NSE Nifty is trading lower by 1 point (down 0.01%). While, BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.
As per an article in Livemint, India's factory output, termed as the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew by 1.2% in the month of May. This index had declined by 1.3% in the month of April.
The index grew on the back of a marginal pick-up in the manufacturing activity. Having said that, manufacturing activity still continues to remain weak and grew by 0.7% in May. While, electricity and mining grew by 4.7% and 1.3% in the same month.
Production of capital goods, an indicator of investment demand in the economy shrank by 12.4% YoY in May. This is the seventh consecutive month of contraction.
While IIP data has tended to be somewhat volatile in the past, what these numbers definitely point towards is the fact that the economy hardly seems to be growing at the kind of pace that the revised methodology of the GDP calculation portrays.
The inflation numbers were also released for the month of June. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) accelerated marginally to 5.77% in June from 5.76% a month ago.
The inflation continued to remain high on the back of higher food prices. Higher food inflation was driven by higher vegetable and sugar prices. However, experts believe that the inflation will see a sustainable downward moment beginning August on account of a normal monsoon.
The high inflation may dent the chances of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its next monetary policy in August.
In another news update, the government has invited merchant bankers to help it sell minority stakes in 51 companies.
These companies include the likes of Reliance Industries Ltd, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Larsen & Toubro, ITC Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. The government holds a stake in these companies through The Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).
Reported, SUUTIs holding on behalf of the government is pegged at around Rs 600 billion. Now the interesting fact is that the government has asked Life Insurance Corporation to buy securities worth Rs 300 billion from SUUTIs holdings. That is almost half of SUUTIs holding.
Once again, the government has asked LIC to rescue it to meet its ambitious divestment target. Here is our very own Vivek Kaul's take on LIC coming to the rescue of the government:
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