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Sensex Opens Marginally Higher; Hindalco Rallies 6%
Tue, 8 Aug 09:30 am

Asian stocks markets are lower today as Japanese and Chinese shares fall. The Nikkei 225 is off 0.32% while the Shanghai composite is down 0.20%. The Hang Seng is up 0.12%. Overnight, the US markets closed slightly higher, adding to last week's record-setting performance.

Meanwhile, Indian share markets too have opened the day marginally higher. BSE Sensex is trading higher by 53 points and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 20 points. S&P BSE Mid Cap and S&P BSE Small Cap are trading up by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.

Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with metal stocks and capital goods stocks leading the gains. Energy stocks and PSU stocks are trading in red. The rupee is trading at Rs 63.73 against the US$.

Hindalco share price surged 6% in morning trade after the company announced that its board will consider raising up to Rs 44 billion via debt. The company said it was considering fund raising through the way of commercial papers and unsecured debentures for its aluminum business.

The sentiments were also boosted after the company's Canadian arm Novelis reported net income of $101 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2018, compared to $24 million in the year-ago period. Excluding tax-affected special items, its net income stood at $103 million ($33 million).

Moving on to news from banking sector. As per an article in The Livemint, as many as 27 public sector banks, including SBI and its five associates, in 2016-17 have written off Rs 816.83 billion, the highest in the last five fiscals. The amount was 41% higher than that in the previous fiscal.

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SBI and its erstwhile associates alone have written off Rs 275.74 billion in 2016-17, according to the RBI data on "write offs" done by public sector banks.

As per the RBI norms, loans are written off after making adequate provisions to take advantage of tax benefits. In respect of technical write-offs, the RBI has permitted write- offs at headquarter level while recovery efforts are continued at branch level.

It is to be noted that the gross NPAs of public sector banks were 12.47% of gross advances as on 31 March 2017.

Meanwhile, private banks have been accused of understating bad loans on their books. But public-sector banks are turning out to be the bigger defaulters. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has pulled up the managements and statutory auditors of twelve public sector banks (PSBs) for underreporting bad loans and inflating their profits in 2016-17 by making lower provisions.

Window Dressing by PSBs

Without this window-dressing, the already poor performance of PSBs in FY17 would have been dismal. With a majority of the PSBs already trading below their book values, CAG has also questioned their ability to raise Rs 1 trillion from the market by 2019 to meet Basel III requirements.

In news from steel sector, Tata Steel Ltd swung to a first-quarter (April- June) profit from a loss a year ago, as sales volumes were boosted by the ramp-up of its Kalinganagar plant.

The steelmaker's net profit came in at Rs 9.21 billion (US$144.37 million) in the quarter ended June 30, compared to a loss of Rs 31.83 billion a year earlier. The total income for the June quarter was at Rs 311.29 billion as against Rs 261.07 billion in the same quarter last year.

In May, Tata Steel completed the sale of its UK specialty steel unit to Liberty House Group for £100 million. Earlier this month, the company completed the sale of two UK steel pipe mills to Liberty House, concluding the restructuring of its British operations.

Tata Steel share price opened the trading day up by 3% on the BSE.

In news from telecom stocks, as per a leading financial daily, Bharti Airtel is learnt to be in the process to offload a 3.7% stake in Bharti Infratel for about Rs 25 billion.

The transaction comes nearly four months after Bharti Airtel completed the sale of an 11.32 per cent stake in the tower arm to Nettle Infra for Rs 68 billion. After the transaction, Bharti Airtel held 50.33% in Bharti Infratel.

For the quarter ended June 30, Bharti Airtel had a net debt of Rs 878.4 billion. Like its competitors, Airtel has been adversely affected by the entry of Jio, reporting a 75% fall in net profit for the first quarter ended June 30.

In March, Airtel had sold a 10.3% stake in the tower unit to a consortium of US private equity firm KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for more than Rs 61.93 billion (US$952.75 million).

Bharti Infratel share price opened the trading day down by 3.3% on the BSE.

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