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Sensex Remains Flat; HDFC Leads the Gainers
Tue, 1 Nov 11:30 am

After opening the day on a flat note, the Indian share markets have continued to trade near the dotted line. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks in the metal sector and telecom sector witnessing maximum buying interest. IT stocks are trading in the red.

The BSE Sensex is trading up 15 points (up 0.1%) and the NSE Nifty is trading up 18 points (up 0.2%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 0.2%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.1%. The rupee is trading at 66.71 to the US$.

Stock markets across the globe are witnessing volatility ahead of some major economic decisions. One is the US presidential elections. As per the news, FBI's fresh investigation of newly-discovered emails that might relate to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was the Secretary of the State has weighed on the democratic presidential candidate's poll prospects. The effect of this development is also seen in currency markets, with dollar bearing most of the brunt.

Another news that is making the rounds in global financial markets is the OPEC's ability to implement the proposed production cuts. The latest development here is the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreeing on a long-term strategy that indicates the cartel's consensus on managing production. However, with the final verdict on the proposed output cut, there still remain much room for volatility in crude oil prices.

All eyes are now set on the OPEC meet scheduled on 30 November. The meet is scheduled to discuss a planned output cut of around 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil.

The OPEC recently agreed for a modest output cut. It agreed to reduce output to a range of 32.5-33 million barrels per day (bpd) from the present output of 33.24 million bpd. The deal was struck during talks in Algeria to ease global supply fears.

OPEC is a major source of the turmoil we've seen in crude oil prices. Check out Asad Dossani's article, How OPEC Lost Control of Oil Prices, for more on this.

To keep a tab on the movements in crude oil and other commodities, you can read the stock market commentary from the Daily Profit Hunter team. Their commentary tracks the developments in the global economy as well as stock, currency and commodity markets.

Back home, Indian share markets saw the release of fiscal deficit data for April-September of FY17.

As per the data, the government has run up a fiscal deficit of 83.9% of the full year budget estimate during the half yearly period of April-September of FY17. This compares with 68.1% a year ago.

The increase in the fiscal deficit on a YoY basis is a concern for the government and also poses some fiscal challenges in achieving the fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of GDP during FY17.

The government has estimated fiscal deficit for FY17 to be lower on the back of a host of factors. Some of these include a normal rainfall, improved buoyancy in domestic growth, higher tax collection, and subsidy rationalization. Also, the government plans to collect majority of its revenues through the divestment route. However, given the past record of the government, these assumptions are clearly looking overoptimistic.

Also, we have the problem of loss-making public sector undertakings (PSU). Several PSUs continue to incur heavy losses and the government seems to be making no effort to sell them off or shut them down. These, in turn, will increase the government's expenditure and eat up taxpayers, money. Lastly, rising non-performing assets (NPAs) that have kept Indian PSU banks in a precarious state remain a matter of concern.

In short, there are many factors to consider before accepting the government's fiscal deficit projections at face value.

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