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Indian equity bourses traded in green terrain during late morning deals, despite weak cues from other Asian markets. Traders were positive, with Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand’s statement that the government has taken several measures to safeguard farmers from any adverse impact of the ongoing lockdown, and the farm sector is expected to report a growth of little more than 3 per cent in the just-ended financial year. Adding some relief, the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) said it will provide emergency working capital of up to Rs 1 crore to small and medium enterprises against their confirmed government orders.
On the global front, Asian markets were trading in red, as a measure of the public assessment of the Japanese economy fell for the second month in a row in March. The survey data from the Cabinet Office showed that the current conditions index of the Economy Watchers' Survey, which measures the current situation of the economy, decreased to 14.2 in March from 27.4 in February. The outlook index that signals future activity fell for the second straight month to 18.8 in March from 24.6 in the previous month.
The BSE Sensex is currently trading at 30354.17, up by 286.96 points or 0.95% after trading in a range of 29602.94 and 31227.97. There were 23 stocks advancing against 7 stocks declining on the index.
The broader indices were trading in green; the BSE Mid cap index was up by 2.47%, while Small cap index was up by 2.46%.
The top gaining sectoral indices on the BSE were Healthcare up by 3.82%, Utilities up by 2.83%, Auto up by 2.74%, FMCG up by 2.29% and Oil & Gas up by 2.23%, while Telecom down by 0.61%, TECK down by 0.49%, IT down by 0.42% and Energy down by 0.28% were the top losing indices on BSE.
The top gainers on the Sensex were Hindustan Unilever up by 4.74%, Mahindra & Mahindra up by 4.45%, Indusind Bank up by 4.40%, HDFC up by 4.37% and Sun Pharma up by 3.99%. On the flip side, TCS down by 2.09%, Titan down by 1.67%, Reliance Industries down by 1.04%, Bharti Airtel down by 0.87% and Infosys down by 0.80% were the top losers.
Meanwhile, Former finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has said that the government may need to borrow 2-2.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or about Rs 4-5 lakh crore additionally for supporting people and businesses hit hard by 21-day nationwide lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. He said it seems necessary and advisable that the government borrow this directly from the RBI instead of borrowing from the market. He added that the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act should be amended to enable this.
Garg has stated that the government plans to borrow Rs 7.8 lakh crore for the current fiscal (FY21) from the market and contain fiscal deficit at 3.5 percent of the GDP. Of this, he said the government decided to borrow Rs 4.88 lakh crore during the first half of FY21. Observing that the unconventional solutions are needed for the unprecedented times, he said the government should make a departure from the past to help the businesses, especially the small and own-account businesses that are likely to fold up if not helped with grant support.
Former finance secretary further said that the government should support the small and self-employed businesses by an estimated amount of Rs 2 lakh crore. He said if the phasing out of the lockdown continues to make some of these businesses inoperative, the fiscal package should build in an additional provision to cover that up as well. He also suggested that the economic lockdown should be phased out by lifting it up from the vast rural areas and the cities which have no incidence of COVID-19 spread to undertake all economic activities regulating their interactions with outsiders under a safe protocol and subject to taking up certain additional precautions to eliminate the risk of spread.
The CNX Nifty is currently trading at 8812.30, up by 20.10 points or 0.23% after trading in a range of 8653.90 and 9131.70. There were 32 stocks advancing against 18 stocks declining on the index.
The top gainers on Nifty were GAIL India up by 5.38%, Hindustan Unilever up by 4.15%, Cipla up by 3.91%, Mahindra & Mahindra up by 3.46% and Indusind Bank up by 3.45%. On the flip side, Grasim Industries down by 3.09%, Bharti Airtel down by 2.66%, TCS down by 2.44%, Reliance Industries down by 2.11% and Titan Co down by 1.73% were the top losers.
Asian markets were trading mostly in red; Straits Times declined 52.34 points or 2.04% to 2,519.55, Hang Seng fell 256.12 points or 1.06% to 23,997.17, KOSPI decreased 6.60 points or 0.36% to 1,817.00, Jakarta Composite inched down 134.94 points or 2.82% to 4,643.70 and Shanghai Composite was down by 8.88 points or 0.31% to 2,811.88. On the other hand, Nikkei 225 rose 67.07 points or 0.35% to 19,017.25 and Taiwan weighted jumped 98.23 points or 0.98% to 10,094.62.
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