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Indices Finish Strong on Firm Global Cues
Tue, 30 Aug Closing

Indian equity markets gained momentum as the day progressed and finished on a strong note amid firm global markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 440 points, while the NSE Nifty finished up by 137 points. The S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap also finished up by 0.8% and 1% respectively. Gains were largely seen in IT & auto stocks.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Hang Seng gained 0.85% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.15%. The Nikkei 225 lost 0.07%. European markets are trading higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 0.58%, while France's CAC 40 is up 0.55% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.17%.

The rupee was trading at 67.09 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 47.38 at the time of writing.

Shares of Vedanta Ltd finished the trading day on a firm note (up 0.8%) after it was reported that the company's 1,980 mw Talwandi Saboo thermal power plant has become fully operational. The third 660 mw unit of Talwandi Sabo power plant in Punjab will be capitalized in September 2016. The 100% power generated from this project shall be supplied to PSPCL for 25 years.

According to the company, the auctions of coal linkages for captive power plants were conducted by Coal India in August. It has secured 6.09 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) for its captive power plants that supplies power to its aluminum smelters at Jharsuguda and Balco.

The tenure of the linkage is five years with an option to extend this further. The premium paid was Rs 96 per tonne, which is 10% over Coal India's linkage price of captive power plants. This will contribute to the long-term security of coal requirement at a competitive price.

Meanwhile, Vedanta has maintained production guidance of its aluminum subsidiary at 1.2 MTPA this fiscal even as the firm faced a power shutdown this month at one of its plants.

The commissioning of pots at the first line of the 1.25mtpa Jharsuguda-II Aluminium smelter was completed in end July 2016. The commissioning of the second line commenced in July 2016 with 65 pots commissioned till date, and this line is expected to ramp up in the next 3-6 months.

The Cairn-Vedanta merger is expected to reduce debt on Vedanta's balance sheet and improve cash flows. This and higher commodity prices have encouraged the company to raise production and capital expenditure guidance across business verticals. The stock of Vedanta has gained 140% in the past six months.

Moving on to news from the banking sector. According to an article in The Economic Times, private sector banks' priority sector book increased to Rs 6.48 trillion, up from Rs 5.30 trillion in the fiscal year ended March 2015. The private sector banks had lent 44.8% of their adjusted net bank credit to the so called priority sector. Foreign banks were the worst performing in case of priority sector.

Indian banks have to mandatorily lend 40% of their loans to the so-called priority sector, which includes loans to agriculture, small businesses, education, affordable housing and also to the weaker sections of the society.

Within the priority sector, commercial banks reportedly exceeded their agriculture lending targets for the second consecutive year, lending a total of Rs 6.04 trillion in the year ended March 2016 against a target of Rs 5.9 trillion.

Only regional rural banks fell short of the target lending Rs 1.19 trillion against a target of Rs 1.2 trillion. Co-operative banks also lent Rs 1.53 trillion for agriculture as against a target set of Rs 1.4 trillion.

However, lending to medium and small enterprises as a percentage of the adjusted net bank credit dropped to 14.6% in the year ended March 2016 from 15.5% in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India is working on procedures for a differential premium system based on the risk profile of the banks. All commercial banks are mandated to take deposit insurance from Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation.

The cover is aimed at protecting depositors at least a minimum sum up to Rs 100,000 if the bank files for bankruptcy. The RBI has said that 92.3% of the total number of accounts are fully protected as against international benchmark of 80%.

Private banks finished on a strong note with J&K Bank and City Union Bank leading the gains.

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