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After hovering around the dotted line around noon, the Indian equity markets were under some pressure towards the end as the BSE Sensex closed lower by 119 points, while the NSE Nifty closed lower by 33 points. However, mid and small caps bucked the weak trend and finished well in the green. The S&P BSE Midcap and the S&P BSE Smallcap indices recorded gains of 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. Power stocks were the biggest gainers today while IT and Oil & Gas stocks were the leading losers.
Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.27% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.26%. The Hang Seng lost 0.53%. European markets are trading mixed. The FTSE 100 is higher by 0.32%, while the DAX is leading the CAC 40 lower. They are down 0.55% and 0.40% respectively. The rupee was trading at 66.42 against the US$ in the afternoon session.
According to a leading financial daily, National Research and Development Corporation (NRDC) has entered into an agreement with Research & Development Centre for Iron & Steel (RDCIS), a corporate R&D unit of Steel Authority Of India (SAIL) for transfer of technologies. The purpose of this agreement is promotion, development, licensing and commercial exploitation of indigenous technologies, know-how and inventions, including the technical and engineering know-how generated by RDCIS.
NRDC is an enterprise under Ministry of Science & Technology. Reportedly, SAIL-RDCIS and NRDC recognize the respective strengths of the two organizations and accordingly agreed to cooperate in the development of technologies and their transfer to industry for commercial exploitation and socio economic benefits.
SAIL has five integrated steel plants, three special plants, and one subsidiary in different parts of the country. The company reported a muted performance (Subscription Required) on account of a drop in realization due to subdued demand coupled with strong imports from China and other FTA countries like Japan and Korea with import of finished goods. As a result metal prices are currently very subdued (Subscription Required). Resultantly, the country's top four metal producers namely Tata Steel, SAIL, Hindalco and Vedanta are mostly trading at half their book value which is the lowest in the last 25 years. The script of SAIL closed the day down by 0.3% on the BSE.
According to a leading financial daily, HDFC Bank has cut its base rate by 5 basis points (bps) to 9.3% bringing its rate at par with State Bank of India (SBI). The reduction in base rate will bring down interest rate on all loans. Following the status quo by the Reserve Bank in bi-monthly monetary policy review earlier this month, HDFC Bank is the first large bank to cut base rate.
HDFC Bank has reduced its base rate by 70 basis points since April. The bank had slashed its base rate by 35 bps in September. It had also cut this rate by 15 basis points twice, in April and June. The RBI had also cut repo rate twice by 25 bps in January and March, taking the total repo rate cut to 100 bps this year.
SBI had also cut its base rate by 40 bps in September bringing it to 9.3%. While the country's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank had reduced its base rate by 35 bps to 9.35% in October.
The total bad loans (gross non-performing assets) of scheduled commercial banks increased to 5.14% of total advances as on September 30, 2015. As of March 2015, the number stood at 4.6%. This means a jump of 54 basis points in a period of just six months. In our recent edition of The Daily Reckoning, Vivek Kaul points out towards why Gross Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of scheduled commercial banks, especially Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have shown an increase during recent years.
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