Indian indices touched a 19 month high today on account of hopes that the government would break the logjam in the parliament on the contention over Retail FDI. A vote on this reform is expected to take place today. The benchmark indices reacted positively to this move. The Indian stock markets closed positive today after seeing solid gains. Sectoral indices mainly in the realty and banking space ended higher. IT stocks however saw some losses. While the BSE-Sensex ended higher by around 328 points, gains on the NSE-Nifty came in at 97 points (1.7%). The smaller indices while also positive, fared slightly worse. The BSE Mid Cap closed 1.3% higher while the BSE Small Cap closed 0.45% higher.
Other major Asian indices (except China) closed positive whereas Europe is also trading in the green currently. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.81 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Mahindra & Mahindra's (M&M) bid for the iconic sports car maker Aston Martin has now got support from the worker's union Unite. The union has formally expressed support for the bid from the Indian vehicle manufacturer. Unite is common to both Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the luxury car maker owned by the Tata group company, Tata Motors. However the union's only concern with M&M intent to take control of Aston Martin is that it may affect the car maker's current healthy relationship with JLR for testing and parts sourcing. This is given that Mahindra and Tata are competitors. Aston Martin's Kuwaiti owner, Investment Dar, wants to sell the company for at least what it paid plus a commitment of a subsequent equity injection, or $1.1 billion for the whole company. Although Aston Martin's product portfolio doesn't really go with what M&M is well known for i.e. utility vehicles, jeeps and tractors, it would help the company in achieving its ambition of being a global player. Mahindra's offer is unlikely to top US$ 400 m (Rs. 22 bn), and a deal could be sealed as soon as this week.
The government has so far raised Rs 9.3 bn through disinvestment in PSUs during the current fiscal. It is working towards achieving the Rs 300 bn target set for the year, however this seems like a tall task since only achieved 3% of its target. During the current fiscal, the government disinvested 10% in National Buildings Construction Corp (NBCC) and 5.58% of Hindustan Copper (HCL) out of its shareholding and realised an amount of Rs 1.2 bn and Rs 8.1respectively totalling to Rs 9.3 bn. Pricing and timing of the issues is something that the Government has not been very good at judging by historical records. It usually waits till the end of the year to try and meet its mammoth targets. A few more divestments in the pipeline include a 12.15% sale in National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO), 9.33% in trading firm MMTC Ltd and 10%in explorer Oil India Ltd.