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Indian stock markets had a rather volatile trading session today as the indices remained range bound with positive bias for the majority part of the day. At the closing bell, the BSE-Sensex closed higher by 24 points, while NSE-Nifty closed higher by 19 points. Midcaps and Small caps were in demand today as the S&P BSE Midcap and S&P BSE Smallcap closed higher by 0.8% and 0.5% respectively. Gains were largely seen in metal and FMCG stocks.
Asian stock markets finished broadly higher today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng was up 1.75%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 1.34% and China's Shanghai Composite was up 0.32%. European markets are trading mixed. The FTSE 100 is higher by 0.44%, while the CAC 40 and the DAX are down 0.29% and 0.12% respectively. The rupee was trading at 66.52 against the US$ in the afternoon session.
According to a leading financial daily, Yes Bank has signed an agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government's Development Finance Institution, for debt financing of US$245 million to increase lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India. US-based lender Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. will act as sponsor and co-lender to the project, providing a loan of US$20 million, bringing the total facility amount to US$265 million. Specifically, half of the financing will be used to support either Micro-SMEs or SMEs in underserved rural and urban markets.
In other news, Yes Bank has invoked 3.02% stake of United Breweries, pledged by McDowell Holdings, a unit of Vijay Mallya-led UB Group, by selling shares worth Rs 7.78 billion. Reportedly, last week, Yes Bank had sold 425,000 shares of United Breweries for Rs 394.8 million through an open market transaction. These shares were purchased by Heineken International BV, the maker of Heineken beer.
Public sector banks have been facing a lot of pressure in recent times. The non-performing asset (NPA) to loan ratio has increased, which is an indication that their asset quality has deteriorated and many banks do not have enough assets to support growth. The average tier I capital of public sector banks is less than 8%. While this is more than 6% tier I capital that banks are required to maintain under current norms, it is very close to the 7% tier I capital that banks will have to maintain under the Basel III norms, which need to be fully implemented by March 31, 2018. In one of our recent editions of '5 Minute WrapUp', we have talked about the banks which have outperformed the Indian benchmark and the outlook for the public sector banks going forward.
oil and gas stocks finished the day on an encouraging note with Chennai Petroleum and IOC leading the gains. According to an article in the Economic Times, Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the oil sector fell sharply to Rs 3 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal year from Rs 65 billion in 2014-15. The major reason for the fall in foreign investment is that oil companies around the world have sharply cut expenditure on new projects. This is because the price of oil has fallen 60% in a year, and has sharply reduced their returns on investment.
The current FDI policy for the oil sector allows 100% automatic route for exploration and production. Barring Bharat Petroleum, there is not much foreign investor presence in the upstream sector. And most foreign investors have been waiting for years for fresh auction of new blocks by the government that is likely to get delayed further due to a lower price environment.
The government recently announced a new exploration policy for smaller fields and plans to auction 69 of these sometime next year. In our recent edition of 5 Minute WrapUp, we have discussed how the government's proposed new revenue sharing model for oil and gas exploration will be a game changer for oil companies.
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