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Nifty Hits Record High; 15 Points Shy of 10,000
Tue, 25 Jul 09:30 am

Asian stock markets are lower today as Japanese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Nikkei 225 is off 0.13%, while the Hang Seng is down 0.06%. The Shanghai Composite is trading down by 0.17%. US equities finished mostly lower as Wall Street geared up for a major week of earnings and US Federal Reserve meeting.

Meanwhile, Indian share markets have opened the day marginally higher. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 76 points and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 24 points. S&P BSE Mid Cap and S&P BSE Small Cap are trading up by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively.

Barring software stocks and capital goods stocks, all the sectoral indices have opened the day in green with bank stocks and metal stocks leading the gains. The rupee is trading at 64.44 against the US$.

In news from the telecom sector, as per an article in The Livemint, the government is considering giving telecom companies more time to pay for the spectrum they bought, in a bid to give relief to the sector reeling under massive debt and profitability issues.

However, said the inter-ministerial group constituted to look at measures to mitigate the financial stress of the sector is favorably considering relaxing the period of deferred spectrum payment to 16 years. Relaxing the payment period to 16 years could increase telcos' cash flows by Rs 550 billion.

Reliance Jio, backed by India's richest person Mukesh Ambani, has ascribed the financial stress in the telecom sector to existing operators like Bharti Airtel and Idea running businesses on debt and investing heavily in unrelated sectors, a charge that has outright been dismissed by the established operators.

Meanwhile, the competition regulator approved the proposed merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, a key step in paving way for creation of India's largest telecom company by subscribers.

Vodafone will initially hold a 50% stake in the combined entity, while the Aditya Birla Group and public shareholders will hold 21.1% and 28.9%, respectively.

Idea share price opened the trading day up by 4.7% on the BSE.

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Moving on to news from bank stocks. Global rating agency Moody's has affirmed the ratings of nine banks, including Bank of India, Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Axis Bank, at Baa3/Prime-3, and downgraded the ratings of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) and Central Bank of India (CBI) to Ba3 from Ba1.

The report noted that the introduction of policies like the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill suggests that the extent of the government's support to some banks is likely lower than was previously assumed.

The Indradhanush recapitalisation plan, Moody's said, will only provide Rs 200 billion of additional capital in the two fiscal to March 2019, short of the amount still required for banks to address solvency challenges and recapitalise themselves.

Moody's expects asset quality to remain the key credit weakness for the rated PSBs. It added that net non-performing loan formation rates, while moderating compared to the levels seen in the last two years, will remain elevated on an absolute basis.

Credit Growth at Lowest Levels in a Decade

According to Reserve Bank of India data, credit off-take was down to a decade low of 5.1% in FY17 compared to 10.7% a year ago. This was despite a declining cost of borrowing. The data shows the economy might still be reeling from the aftershocks of notebandi.

Rural regions bore most of the brunt of the lending slowdown. RBI data shows that growth in rural loans between 30 September 2016 and 31 March 2017 was a mere 2.5%. The picture becomes clearer when you compare it with the growth of 12.9% in the second half of 2015-16.

Indian Overseas Bank share price opened the day down by 2.1%, while central bank of India share price is down by 0.4%.

PSU Bank stocks opened the day firm with Allahabad bank and Andhra bank leading the gains.

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