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Sensex Trades on a Volatile Note; Energy Witness Buying
Thu, 31 Aug 01:30 pm

After opening the day flat, share markets in India witnessed volatile trading activity and are currently trading in marginally above the dotted line. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks in the power sector and stocks in the energy sector trading in green, while stocks in the telecom sector and stocks in the IT sector are leading the losses.

The BSE Sensex is trading up by 31 points (up 0.1%), and the NSE Nifty is trading up by 13 points (up 0.1%). Meanwhile, the BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 0.2%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.5%. The rupee is trading at 64.01 to the US$.

In news from the Goods and Service Tax (GST) space. The government approved an ordinance to increase ceiling on cess to 25% from the present 15% over the peak rate of 28% GST on luxury cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

The exact quantum of the increase and its timing will be decided by the GST Council.

The ordinance seeks to restore tax revenue from the automobile industry that unintentionally got affected in the transition to the new indirect tax regime.

Makers of SUVs and luxury cars have criticized the GST Council's plan to raise the cess, warning the move will lead to production cuts and job losses and dent the "Make in India" initiative.

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The decision has upset the growth plans of the luxury car industry, which had seen a flat performance in 2016, owing to demonetisation and the ban on 2,000cc diesel cars in the National Capital Region for the first eight months of the year.

The decision to increase the cess was taken after the Council found the taxes on these cars were lower under the GST regime than the indirect taxation system.

Prices of most such vehicles had turned significantly cheaper in most states following the introduction of the GST on July 1. However, uncertainties over GST implementation pulled down sales of passenger vehicles (cars, utility vehicles and vans) in June.

Car Sales Hit GST Bump

Domestic passenger vehicle sales declined by 11.2% to 198,399 units in June from 223,454 units in the same month last year, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). This is the first decline in six months as dealers avoided picking up fresh stocks from companies ahead of GST implementation with a view to avoid transitional loss. Similarly, this decline was the steepest fall in 51 months, since March 2013, when sales declined by 13%. Most players, including Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota and Tata Motors, reported a decline.

The overall automotive industry witnessed some volatility during the first quarter of FY18, as the market experienced uncertainty post the BS-IV transition issues and prior to GST implementation, and automakers, besides offering pre-GST discounts, made efforts to re-align inventories.

Our colleague Vivek Kaul has studied the finer aspects of the GST and predicted what could go right and wrong.

Download his special report - The Good, the Sad and the Terrible (GST).

Moving on to news from stocks in the energy sector. NTPC share price fell over 2% in early trade today after the company's offer for sale (OFS) received a tepid response from retail investors.

The country's largest power producer saw retail investors subscribing to only 72% of the portion reserved for them in the two-day OFS. On Tuesday, the non-retail bidders had subscribed 100% of the portion meant for them.

The government had planned to sell over 412.2 million shares, or 5% holding, through the two-day OFS, with an option to retain a similar portion in case of over- subscription.

At the floor price of Rs 168 apiece, sale of 5% stake would have fetched around Rs 70 billion to the exchequer.

The government decided to retain over- subscription, and after adjustments a total of 7% stake was sold in the OFS, garnering Rs 91 billion.

At the time of writing, NTPC share price was trading down by 0.2%.

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Mar 20, 2018 (Close)