The Indian equity markets witnessed an extremely choppy session in the latter half of the day, dipping into negative territory at one point but recovering to close the day with healthy gains. In fact, the BSE Sensex ended the day very close to its all time high of 26,190 points. While the BSE Sensex today closed higher by 121 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 28 points. BSE Mid Cap closed the day flat, smallcaps lost out. The BSE Small Cap index closed the day lower, recording a decrease of 0.63%. IT and consumer durable stocks were the biggest gainers today.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed on a positive note today, with the Japan being the only one to see a decline. Singapore and Hong Kong were amongst the biggest gainers. The rupee was trading at Rs 60.18 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Capital goods stocks on the whole ended the day marginally higher. Thermax and Elgi Equipments were the biggest gainers. Elecon Engineering and BEML found themselves on the losing end today. As per a leading business daily, Thermax is planning to increase its focus on its international business. This, in a bid to diversify away from and thus de-risk its business from the ups and downs of the domestic capital goods industry. Though the company already has significant exports (to the tune of Rs 10 bn annually), going ahead the management is looking at setting up independent subsidiaries in other geographies abroad like South East Asia, Middle East and Africa. This will help the company participate more aggressively in these markets.
In a move that could help banks, especially the PSU's, the finance ministry is thinking of providing an exemption to them from the mandated corporate social responsibility (CSR) spend which is required as per the companies act. The act requires companies to spend at least 2% of their average net profits over the preceding three years on CSR activities. It is applicable to companies that have turnover of Rs 10 bn or more, or net worth of Rs 5 bn or more, or profits of Rs 50 m or more. Since most banks have profits in excess of Rs 50 m most of them were mandated to spend on CSR. However, the finance ministry feels since the overall economy is not doing well banks should be exempted from mandatory spending. We believe this will certainly help banks as quite a few of them are facing capital challenges.