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Indian share markets continued to trade weak in the afternoon session dragged lower by financial stocks such as Axis Bank after the bank reported a quarterly profit slump. Weak global cues further weighed on the sentiment. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood lower by 255 points, while the NSE Nifty finished down by 76 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished down by 0.9% and 0.7% respectively. Losses were largely seen in banking and metal stocks.
Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.15%, while the Hang Seng & the Shanghai Composite fell 1.02% and 0.5% respectively. European markets are trading broadly lower with shares in Germany off the most. The DAX is down 1.1%, while London's FTSE 100 is off 1.04% and France's CAC 40 is lower by 0.72%.
The rupee was trading at 66.76 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 49.30 at the time of writing.
According to a leading financial daily, India remained at 130th position out of 190 countries globally in the World Bank's ease of doing business ranking this year despite many efforts by the government. India managed to move up just one rank this year. Even the one place improvement was because last year's ranking was revised lower to 131 from which the country has improved its place by one spot.
The government was expecting at least a 10-spot jump on the back of several ease of doing business measures taken in the past two years. The rankings are based on ten parameters which includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
Out of 10 parameters, India's ranking this year improved in two, remained unchanged in three and worsened in five. Though, in the ranking, India has made a substantial improvement in some areas such as electricity connection, but slippage in other areas, including payment of taxes and enforcing contracts, prevented improvement on the rankings that is followed widely by global investors.
The report titled 'Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All', noted that the country has embarked on a fast-paced reform path, and the Doing Business 2017 report acknowledged a number of substantial improvements, mentioning electricity connections to businesses, paying taxes, electronic system for paying employee state insurance contributions, electronic filing of integrated customs declarations, the Companies (Amendment) Act, passage of the commercial courts and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
The government has been making efforts to further improve the ease of doing business and aims to bring the country in the top 50.
Moving on to news from stocks in the energy sector. According to an article in The Economic Times, ONGC has undertaken an ambitious plan to explore more natural gas in the northeastern state of Tripura, bordering Bangladesh. The company is deploying a record number of rigs (Subscription Required), including one from China.
As per the reports, ONGC is currently drilling 14 to 15 wells per year. With the deployment of additional rigs, the number would go up to 20-22 a year. ONGC has so far drilled about 210 wells in Tripura, more than half of which are gas-bearing.
The ONGC board had earlier approved a plan to invest Rs 50.5 billion by 2022 to explore for more gas in Tripura. Under this plan, new wells would be drilled and additional surface facilities would be created to increase gas production from 5.1 million standard cubic meters per day (MSCMD) to at least 6.25 MSCMD from Tripura's gas fields.
Reportedly, the company had earlier commissioned its first commercial power project in India, located in southern Tripura and run by ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC), formed by ONGC, the Tripura government and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited (IL&FS).
ONGC has also planned to set up an Rs 50 billion fertilizer plant in northern Tripura in association with the state government and Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd, a Rajasthan-based private company.
Share price of ONGC finished the trading day up by 0.3% on the BSE.
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