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Vishal Sikka's Infosys Exit, White House Shake up & Cues to Watch Out Today
Mon, 21 Aug Pre-Open

Indian share markets ended lower on Friday but gained during the overall week.

At the closing bell on Friday, BSE Sensex closed lower by 271 points and the NSE Nifty finished down 67 points. For the week though, Sensex was up by 1%. The S&P BSE Mid Cap was up by 3.3% while & S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 4.4% for the week. Gains were largely seen realty stocks, metal stocks and FMCG stocks.

Top Stocks in Focus

Infosys share price will be in focus today after Vishal Sikka announced his resignation the CEO of the company. Reportedly, Mr. Narayan Murthy's continuous assault is the primary reason that the CEO, Dr. Vishal Sikka, has resigned despite strong Board support.

However, Vishal Sikka said he will continue to serve Infosys till 31 March 2018 or till a "great stable management" is in place. In the meantime, COO (chief operating officer) UB Pravin Rao will act as the interim CEO and MD reporting to Sikka.

During this period Sikka will focus on strategic relationships, and will make sure the technology development continues at Infosys.

SBI share price will be in focus today after reports that the company is looking to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of two rural banks in the next one year.

This is the first time that such a move will be taken up by a public-sector bank.

Andhra Pradesh Grameena Vikas Bank and Saurashtra Gramin Bank are the rural regional banks (RRBs) which will float IPOs, with the main intention of improving efficiency and creating value.

One must note that, SBI was able to carry out the IPO of the RRBs with the creation of the RRB Act in 2015. It allowed the RRBs to raise capital from other sources apart from the government and sponsor banks.

Mahindra & Mahindra share price will be in focus today after the cess hike under GST on hybrid vehicles. 75% of M&M's vehicles are affected by the cess increase. Scorpio, M&M's second highest selling utility vehicle (UV) has seen its surge from 30% to 43%. This has forced M&M to increase the cost of the vehicle.

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Pharma Sector

Pharma sector will be in focus today after the government's controversial "Draft Pharmaceutical Policy - 2017". The policy aims to give more control to the government over the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which till now used to function as an autonomous body.

The Pharma industry is wary of this policy. According to DG Shah, Secretary General of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, "This could, possibly, be one of the most difficult policies for the industry. It would push up costs and reduce margins and increase pressure on pricing."

The year has already been difficult for the overall sector with pricing pressure in the US markets and rupee appreciation affecting exports. With government's proposed price regulation, even domestic markets present a challenge.

White House Shake Up Spooks Investors

White House in its latest shakeup said on Friday that it has fired chief strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon was known as an economic nationalist and pro "America first" policies. Earlier in the week, there were also concerns about the possible exit of National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

US stocks ended the week lower on Friday after these developments. For the week, the US index was down by 0.8%. Investors are also concerned about the Trump administration's ability to implement its pro-growth agenda. These developments lead to an interesting week ahead of the Federal Reserve's September meeting.

Gold traded on a flat note during the week. It opened its session on a positive note and maintained momentum during the start of the week. Most of the buying interest came as market participants sought safe-haven bets after taking cues from a weak trend overseas. Slight losses were seen during the end of the week. Finally, gold traded on a volatile note on Friday and ended its session with marginal losses.

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