Today’s top business news: Shares rise ahead of key blue-chip earnings, Maruti Suzuki posts 9.7% drop in Jan-March quarter profit, telecom tariff hike unlikely in FY22, and more

The benchmark stock indices opened the day on a positive note as investors’ attention turns towards the quarterly earnings results of blue-chip companies.

Join us as we follow the top business news through the day.

4:30 PM

Rupee extends gains for 2nd day; closes up by 7 paise at 74.66 against dollar

A good day for the rupee.

PTI reports: “The rupee appreciated by 7 paise to close at 74.66 (provisional) against the US dollar on Tuesday on the back of positive domestic equities.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 74.65 against the greenback and witnessed an intra-day high of 74.51 and a low of 74.73.

It finally ended at 74.66 against the American currency, registering a rise of 7 paise over its previous closing. On Monday, the rupee had settled at 74.73 against the American currency.

“Indian rupee continues the upward momentum started on Monday on upbeat risk sentiments,” said Dilip Parmar, Research Analyst, HDFC Securities.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.20 per cent to 90.98.

“Dollar is treading water before the Fed meeting outcome later tonight. The Federal Reserve will remain accommodative at its meeting despite robust growth and think of trimming its USD 120 billion in monthly asset purchases at end of the year,” Parmar said.

He further noted that “we could see month end adjustment tomorrow and USDINR likely to show 74.50 odd levels while on higher side 75.20 remains strong resistance.” Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.34 per cent to USD 65.87 per barrel.

On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 557.63 points or 1.15 per cent higher at 48,944.14, while the broader NSE Nifty advanced 168.05 points or 1.16 per cent to 14,653.05.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market as they offloaded shares worth Rs 1,111.89 crore on Monday, according to exchange data.”

4:00 PM

Sensex rallies 558 pts; Nifty ends above 14,650

Another bullish day for stocks.

PTI reports: “Equity benchmark Sensex rallied 558 points on Tuesday, driven by gains in index heavyweights Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and L&T.

The 30-share BSE index ended 557.63 points or 1.15 per cent higher at 48,944.14.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty surged 168.05 points or 1.16 per cent to 14,653.05.

L&T was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising over 3 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, Reliance Industries, IndusInd Bank, SBI and HDFC Bank.

On the other hand, Maruti, NTPC, Kotak Bank, Nestle India and Dr Reddy’s were among the laggards.

Persistent strength in US markets has rubbed off on Indian stocks, with yesterday’s dip in treasury yields ahead of FOMC decision also helping the overall risk appetite, said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

Banks have been quite upbeat lately and extended gains by over 1 per cent post noon, but it was metals that shone with over 2.5 per cent gains.

“However, with April derivative expiry approaching, and with Nifty option premiums not pricing much above 14,700 for now, caution is recommended,” he added.

With 3,23,144 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,76,36,307, while the national recovery rate has further dropped to 82.54 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended on a negative note, while Shanghai finished with gains.

Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with losses in mid-session deals.

With Nasdaq and S&P at record highs, the global support to markets is strong. The FOMC meeting starting later in the day will be keenly watched by markets for clues on probable trends in rates and yields, experts said.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.51 per cent higher at USD 65.36 per barrel.”

3:30 PM

Close contest between Jio, Airtel; any unanimous tariff hike unlikely in FY22: Report

Tariffs won’t rise again anytime soon for telecom users.

PTI reports: “Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are neck and neck in terms of active mobile subscriptions, and hence the industry is unlikely to see any unanimous tariff hikes in 2021-22, a report said on Tuesday.

Domestic credit rating agency Crisil’s research wing pointed out that there is a close contest between the top two telcos, when one goes by active subscriber base with Jio’s share at 33.7 per cent and Airtel’s at 33.6 per cent.

“The active subscriber market share data indicates the top two players are neck and neck, with neither ready to bite the bullet and raise tariffs,” it said.

The build-up in competitive intensity also indicates that the industry is unlikely to see unanimous tariff hikes at least in the near term, limiting a large upside in average revenue per user (ARPU) in fiscal year 2022, it added.

The report said there is an universe of 250-300 million active non-4G subscriber base, which will be on the radar of the telcos for conversion to 4G users in order to increase revenues.

While competition to attract this user base did exist before, inadequate spectrum and 4G coverage made operators err on the side of caution, it said, adding that with the recent spectrum acquisition, telcos are well-positioned to handle any surge in data traffic, leading to increased aggression by the players to gain market share.

However, a price war like the one seen before 2019 is unlikely and competition will be indirect in the form of tie-ups with smartphone manufactures for low-cost phones, increased bundling of over the top (OTT) content and lower entry points for upgrade customers, the report said.

It said Jio’s recently launched JioPhone 2021 plans offering handsets along with one and two-year unlimited calling validity for Rs 1,499 and Rs 1,999, respectively, is representative of the same.

Individual players will most likely increase tariffs on selected plans given their immediate need to improve ARPU, it said. While all players agree that tariff hikes are paramount, they have differing levels of urgency to implement the hikes.

With the onset of the second wave of the pandemic and the resultant restrictions, there is once again reverse migration of labour. That could mean another quarter of subscriber churn. Also, given the restrictions in major cities, smartphone sales are likely to be impacted as well, which would slow 4G subscriber additions in the current quarter, it said.

The pace of additions should pick up gradually over the remainder of this fiscal as competitive intensity in the wireless-telecom market increases, the report said.

In the best case, 4G subscribers may rise to 820 million by the end of this fiscal year from 720 million ar 2020-21 end, assuming restrictions last only for the current quarter. In the bear case, where lockdowns extend through the second quarter, the number will reach 800-810 million, it said.”

3:00 PM

OPEC+ to meet a day earlier, upbeat on demand

An update on the oil market.

Reuters reports: “OPEC and its allies led by Russia will meet on Tuesday to discuss production policy amid upbeat forecasts for energy demand despite concerns about new coronavirus spikes in India, Brazil and Japan.

The group, known as OPEC+, will hold its joint ministerial monitoring committee (JMMC) meeting on April 27 instead of April 28 as planned earlier, according to a source and an OPEC+ document seen by Reuters.

On Monday, OPEC+ kept its forecast for global oil demand growth for this year unchanged, projecting it to rise by 6 million barrels per day (bpd) for 2021 after the biggest ever fall of 9.5 million bpd due to the pandemic.

The group said in a report that despite the more than one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been administered globally, it was concerned that the most recent surge in new virus cases in India, Brazil and Japan may derail recovering demand for oil.

Oil prices rebounded on Tuesday after falling in the previous session, with gains capped by growing concern about fuel demand in India, the world’s third-biggest crude importer.

India, which has set a world record in daily COVID-19 cases, ordered its armed forces on Monday to help tackle surging new infections that are overwhelming hospitals.

The OPEC+ report also said it expects commercial oil stocks to reach 2.95 billion barrels in July, taking them below the 2015-2019 average, and to remain below that average for the rest of the year.

It said it saw stocks at about 70 million barrels below the average for the whole of 2021, a more optimistic outlook than its previous forecast of 20 million below the average.”

2:30 PM

Maruti Suzuki Q4 consolidated net profit dips 6% to ₹1,241 cr

The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Tuesday reported 6.14% decline in consolidated net profit at ₹1,241.1 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2021.

The auto major had posted a net profit of ₹1,322.3 crore in January-March quarter of 2019-20, MSI said in a regulatory filing.

However, revenue from sale of products stood at ₹22,959.8 crore as compared with ₹17,187.3 crore earlier, up 33.58%.

The company sold a total of 4,92,235 vehicles during the fourth quarter, higher by 27.8% as compared to the same period previous year.

Sales in the domestic market stood at 4,56,707 units, up by 26.7%. Exports were at 35,528 units.


2:00 PM

COVID-19 surge: CII sets up task force on oxygen supply chains

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Tuesday said it had formed a task force on ‘oxygen supply chain’ to work with the Central and State governments to augment supply amid severe shortage of medical oxygen as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The task force would work towards domestic capacity enhancement and imports; logistical issues between States, including transportation, non-availability of cylinders and policy-level interventions, the industry body said in a statement.

“With unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases and acute shortage of medical oxygen pushing the hospitals in the country to the edge, India Inc has come forward to lend a helping hand to strengthen the fight against the pandemic,” it added.


1:00 PM

Dr. Reddy’s expects first lot of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V by May-end

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, which has received approval from the Indian drug regulator for restricted emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, on April 27 said it expects the first lot of stock from Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) by May-end.

In September 2020, Dr. Reddy’s and RDIF entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the rights for distribution of the first 100 million doses in India.

Later, it was enhanced to 125 million.

“We are targeting to have the first batches imported by Q1, and are trying our best to have them by end-May,” a Dr Reddy’s spokesperson told PTI in an email reply.


12:30 PM

Oil rebounds, but gains limited amid demand concerns as India reels from COVID-19

Demand concerns continue to weigh on oil prices.

Reuters reports: “Oil prices rebounded on Tuesday after falling in the previous session, but gains are likely to be capped amid growing concern about fuel demand in India, the world’s third-biggest crude importer now slammed by spiralling new coronavirus cases.

Brent crude was up 40 cents, or 0.6%, at $66.05 a barrel by 0658 GMT, after dropping 0.7% on Monday. U.S. oil gained 40 cents, or 0.7%, to $62.31, having declined by 0.4% in the previous session.

India’s woes comes as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, are set to discuss policy on production at a meeting this week.

The OPEC+ joint technical committee has maintained a forecast for growth in oil demand growth this year, but has concerns about the surging COVID-19 cases in India and elsewhere, three sources from the producer group told Reuters.

“Traders are cautious ahead of the OPEC+ Ministerial meeting” this week, said Avtar Sandu, senior manager commodities at Phillip Futures in Singapore. “The OPEC technical committee acknowledged potential demand concerns about demand destruction brought about by the worsening pandemic in India.”

The Indian government ordered the country’s military to help respond to the surging coronavirus infections, with countries including Britain, Germany and the United States promising aid as the emergency overwhelms hospitals.

“The big question is whether OPEC+ feels that the situation is bad enough to alter its planned production easing from 1 May,” ING Economics analysts said in a note.

“We still expect that the group will announce no changes to its plan when they meet tomorrow.””

12:00 PM

Castrol India shares jump over 7% post earnings

The day’s big mover among stocks.

PTI reports: “Shares of Castrol India gained over 7 per cent in morning trade on Tuesday after the company reported near doubling of net income for the quarter to March.

The stock jumped 7.10 per cent to Rs 134.15 on the BSE.

At the NSE, it zoomed 7.26 per cent to Rs 134.40.

Castrol India on Monday reported a near doubling of net income for the quarter to March at Rs 243.6 crore as against Rs 125.2 crore a year ago, driven by robust revenue growth.

Revenue grew to Rs 1,138.7 crore in the reporting quarter, from Rs 688 crore a year ago. Its revenue for the full year ended December 2020, was Rs 2,996.9 crore, when it had a net income of Rs 582.9 crore.

The company delivered robust revenue and profit growth with Q1 revenue from operations growing 66 per cent to Rs 1,138.7 crore and net profit nearly doubling to Rs 243.6 crore from Rs 125.2 crore, Castrol India Managing Director Sandeep Sangwan said in a statement.”

11:30 AM

RBI issues guidelines for appointment of statutory auditors of banks, NBFCs

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday issued guidelines for appointment of statutory auditors of banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), including housing finance companies.

‘Guidelines for Appointment of Statutory Central Auditors (SCAs)/ Statutory Auditors (SAs) of Commercial Banks (excluding RRBs), UCBs and NBFCs (including HFCs)’ will be applicable for financial year 2021-22 and onwards.

However, non-deposit taking NBFCs with asset size below ₹1,000 crore have the option to continue with their extant procedure.

The guidelines provide necessary instructions for appointment of SCAs/SAs, the number of auditors, their eligibility criteria, tenure and rotation, etc. while ensuring the independence of auditors, the Reserve Bank said.


11:00 AM

Indian shares rise ahead of key blue-chip earnings

An update on stocks.

Reuters reports: “Indian shares rose on Tuesday ahead of a slew of earnings reports from blue-chip companies, including Maruti Suzuki India, even as new cases of COVID-19 in the country held above 300,000 for a sixth consecutive day.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.53% to 14,562.1 by 0441 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.54% at 48,649.84. The indexes had posted their third straight weekly loss last week on concerns over surging infections.

Cases in Mumbai, the financial capital of India, have dipped since its Maharashtra state entered lockdown earlier this month. Other states such as New Delhi and Karnataka have also imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.

“The steady decline in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai is a great relief and if this is an indication of the second wave curve flattening by, say, mid-May, the market might take cues from that,” V K Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services, said in a note.

New virus cases in the world’s second-most populous country rose by 323,144, health ministry’s data showed on Tuesday. The number was below a record high seen on Monday.

The real economic impact of the current virus surge appears small compared with COVID-19’s first wave, and indicators like labour force participation rate have remained resilient, Nomura economists Sonal Varma and Aurodeep Nandi said in a note.

Among stocks, conglomerate Reliance boosted the benchmark indexes with a 2.2% jump, while metal producer Hindalco Industries climbed 5.8%.

Castrol India rose as much as 7.3% after the company reported a jump in quarterly profit and revenue.

Ahead of their quarterly results, Nifty 50 components Maruti Suzuki and Britannia Industries were largely flat. Axis Bank fell 2% and Bajaj Finance rose 1%.

Other Asian shares slipped ahead of the keenly watched two-day Federal Reserve meeting on interest rates, beginning on Tuesday.”

10:30 AM

Paytm launches video-based wealth community

Digital financial services platform Paytm on Monday announced a new video-based wealth community wherein users can interact with subject-matter experts on topics such as stocks, IPO, ETFs, mutual funds, among others.

“Paytm Wealth Community is India’s first investing community based on video, and will enable users to attend live sessions conducted by subject matter experts across an array of wealth topics like stocks, F&O, IPO, ETFs, mutual funds, gold, fixed income, and personal finance,” the company said in a statement.

It added that users will be able to learn from experts, interact with them to clarify doubts, and also chat with other users on the platform to discuss various wealth related topics.

Noting that the way youth today interacts, learns, or transacts, has evolved rapidly, Paytm said across all parts of life, digital communities and groups have grown.


10:00 AM

Indian shares inch higher, blue-chip earnings in focus

Another positive start to the day for stocks.

Reuters reports: “Indian shares edged up on Tuesday ahead of a slew of earnings reports from blue-chip companies, including Maruti Suzuki India, with gains led by Reliance Industries and IT stocks.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.27% to 14,524 by 0350 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.25% at 48,507.4. The indexes had registered their third straight weekly loss last week on concerns over surging coronavirus cases in the country.

Nifty 50 components Maruti Suzuki India, Axis Bank , Britannia Industries and Bajaj Finance are set to report their quarterly results later in the day.

Meanwhile, Asian shares slipped ahead of the keenly watched two-day Federal Reserve meeting on interest rates, beginning Tuesday.”

9:30 AM

Tesla reports higher profits, says expansion on track

Tesla reported a jump in first-quarter profits Monday on surging automobile sales and said it was on track to boost automotive capacity at factories in three countries.

Elon Musk’s electric car company reported profits of $438 million compared with $16 million in the year-ago period, following a 74% rise in revenues to $10.4 billion.

Tesla, which was co-founded by Musk with the mission of remaking the automotive market, pointed to a stream of new electric models unveiled by rivals such as Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers as U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration promotes electric car usage.


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