The Indian stock markets initially opened the day on a positive note. However they immediately dropped and continued to trade range-bound till the afternoon session. Post this, indices moved higher but these gains could not be sustained for very long. Ultimately the markets moved lower and finally finished flat. Jitters ahead of the Union Budget due Feb 28th may have been one of the reasons for the slump. The BSE-Sensex closed negative, lower by around 8 points (0.04%). The NSE-Nifty closed lower by around 2 points (0.03%). The smaller indices also had a flattish day on the bourses. The BSE Mid Cap index closed 0.02% higher and the BSE Small Cap index closed 0.11% higher. Only realty and IT stocks closed higher. FMCG stocks lead the losses.
As regards global markets, Asian indices had a mixed outing today. European indices also opened the day on a positive note. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.29 to the dollar at the time of writing.
The banking sector hasn't been having the best time over the past year; however the interest rate cut by the central bank in January may do a world of good. According to credit ratings agency CARE Ratings, the non-performing assets of banks have increased by 43.1% to Rs 1.8 trillion in the first three quarters FY13. Benign growth in the industrial sector has been one of the primary drivers. However provisions, which had risen 38.7% last year, have grown only grown 4.1% this year. Overall credit growth for the banks for the first 10 months was 9.5%, helped by a healthy increase in January, post the interest rate cut by the central bank. Credit cards, motor vehicle loans and housing loans witnessed an increase in growth rate during the period.
India's largest public sector steel maker, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is planning to buy-back its shares during the current fiscal. The company's board is expected to take a final call on buy-back , which will allow the company to take back some of its stock from shareholders. The existing norms prescribe extinguishing the bought shares. This will enhance the value of the remaining shares. SAIL is one of the 11 public sector undertakings in which the Government has approved selling part of its stake. the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the disinvestment of 10.82% equity of SAIL out of the Government shareholding of 85.82%. After this disinvestment, the Government's shareholding in the company would come down to 75%.