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Gold had a blockbuster Dhanteras this year

old sales have bettered pre-Covid levels this Dhanteras on Tuesday at 50 tonnes, almost 20 tonnes more than the 2019 Dhanteras on the back of widespread vaccination, fewer infections, and lower price of the yellow metal.

Dhanteras had remained muted last year when local restrictions, fear of pandemic and non-availability of vaccine made most people away from stores while gold consumption on 2019 Dhanteras was about 30 tonnes, according to trade body India Bullion & Jewellers Association (IBJA) whose gold rates are used by the Reserve Bank of India to fix the price of sovereign gold bonds.

“But this year, Covid cases have declined and most of the people have got at least one dose of vaccine,” Surendra Mehta, national secretary of IBJA, told ET. “There are no local restrictions now. Moreover, gold prices have softened, which created a positive sentiment about gold among people.”

The price of gold on Dhanteras day was around ₹47,904 per 10 grams while it was hovering around ₹51,500 last year.

Digital gold players also witnessed a strong demand with people booking gold of ticket size of ₹3,000-4,000 to celebrate Dhanteras, the first day of Diwali festival, when buying gold and other metals is considered auspicious.

Gold was on bull run after the pandemic outbreak last year.

State Bank of India’s record profit led by retail loan growth, higher provisions

State Bank of India

(SBI) recorded its highest quarterly net profit of Rs. 7,627 crores in quarter ended September 2021 up 67% from Rs 4574 crore in the previous year led by growth in retail loans and a marked improvement in asset quality which reduced provisions.

Total advances grew by 6%, driven by personal loans which grew 15% and a 11% growth in home loans more than covering for a 4% fall in the corporate loan book. Home loans now constitute 24% of the bank’s domestic advances.

Chairman Dinesh Khara expressed confidence that the bank will keep up the growth momentum in line with the economic growth which will also pull up the so far shrinking corporate loan book. India’s largest lender is hoping to grow its loan book by 10% this fiscal end March 2022.

“Capacity utlisation is still low at about 60%. Our undisbursed term loan facilities are at about 27% while 50% of working capital are unutilised. We have got a pipeline of Rs 1.15 lakh crore and we except that the unused term loans of Rs 2.25 lakh crore will also be utilised because there is a very clear visibility of demand. Capacity augmentation is happening and I hope by the end of the current and next quarter there will be a significant improvement in capacity utilisation which will help corporate credit come back,” Khara said.

A sharp fall in provisions also helped the bank enhance its net profit. Provisions halved to Rs 2699 crore down 51% from Rs 5619 crore a year ago due to improvement in loan collections a fall in slippages and a write back from the provisions made for Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL).

Slippages fell sharply to just Rs 4176 crore in September 2021 from Rs 15,666 crore in the quarter ended June 2021 as collection efficiency in retail loans improved to 95% after improvement in mobility post the devastating effects of the second wave of the pandemic.

Net NPA ratio fell to 1.52% down from 1.59% a year ago while the slippage ratio fell sharply to 0.66% down from 2.47% in June 2021 resulting in a 51 basis points decline in credit costs year on year. One basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

Khara did not give a clear guidance on asset quality but indicated that stress is on the decline.

“There are no major concerns on asset quality. Our unerwriting standards have improved and collection machinery has also imrpoved,” he said adding that the bank has made a 100% provision for its exposure to the bankrupt Srei Group.

The stronf retail loan performance and improvement in asset quality also allowed the bank to fully provide Rs 7,418 crores for a change in family pension rules in one quarter despite the regulator granting dispensation to amortise it in five years.

Sensex falls for 2nd day, down 257 points ahead of Fed outcome; VIX surges 5%

NEW DELHI: Benchmark indices slid for the second day on Wednesday ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting outcome, in which the central bank may announce a tapering timeline.

India VIX, a barometer of volatility, plunged over 5 per cent. But the movement of headline indices shows traders are not keen to go long ahead of an extended weekend.

The 30-share pack Sensex declined 257 points or 0.43 per cent to close at 59,772. The index fell nearly 600 points from the day’s high. Its broader peer NSE Nifty dropped 60 points or 0.33 per cent to 17,829.

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“After a sideways movement post its positive opening, the indices took a downturn as major global indices traded weak ahead of the Fed policy announcement. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce the tapering of its asset purchase program in the near-term while any hint on interest rate reversal is keeping investors on the edge,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

Market at a glance:

  • Trent gains 4% as performance improves rapidly in Q2
  • Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders continues rally, jumps another 6%
  • Bharti Airtel drops 2% after Q2 show despite improved performance
  • SBI adds 2% after superb Q2 numbers; Street expects re-rating
  • IPO watch: SJS subscribed 1x, Sigachi 67x and Policybazaar 9x

Among the bluechip names, L&T was the top gainer, rising 4.25 per cent. Asian Paints, Hindalco Industries, Grasim Industries, UPL, UltraTech Cements, SBI, Indian Oil and Adani Ports were among other gainers.

Sun Pharma was the top loser in the Nifty pack, falling 3.24 per cent.

IndusInd Bank

, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank and

Britannia

Industries were others that ended in the red.

“All eyes will be on the US Fed meeting tonight. While no action is expected on the rates, commentary on tapering, growth and inflation would be a key thing to watch out for. We reiterate our cautious view on markets and suggest limiting leveraged positions.”

— Ajit Mishra, Religare Broking

Broader market indices also declined, performing in-line with their headline peers. Nifty Smallcap fell 0.66 per cent and Nifty Midcap declined 0.27 per cent. Nifty 500, the broadest index on NSE, ended down 0.21 per cent.

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, KPIT Tech, Amber Enterprises, Oberoi Realty, Trent and Godrej Properties were top gainers from the mid and smallcap indices, climbing in the range of 3-7 per cent.

Escorts, Union Bank of India, Indian Bank, IDBI, Lami Organic Chemicals and Jubilant Ingrevia were major losers from the broader market space, falling in the range of 3-6 per cent.

Sectoral matrix was mixed on the NSE. Nifty Realty was the top gainer for another day, up 1.94 per cent. Nifty Metal followed with 0.93 per cent gains. Nifty Private Bank was the top loser, down 1.84 per cent. Nifty Auto, Nifty Bank and Nifty Media were others that fell over a per cent.

Market breadth was in favour of losers as 1,585 stocks ended in the green, while 1,657 names settled with cuts. As many as 207 securities hit 52-week highs, mostly from the smallcap space. Meanwhile, 20 names hit 52-week lows, mostly from the microcap space. About 320 stocks hit upper circuit limits and 175 lower circuit limits.

European markets were trading mixed. London-based FTSE was down 0.28 per cent while Paris and Frankfurt climbed 0.01 per cent and declined 0.05 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Indonesia and Taiwan closed in the green, while the rest ended in the red. Japan was closed for a holiday.

TCIL eyes to double revenue to Rs 3,500 crore by 2025

State-run Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) is aiming at 100% revenue growth to reach Rs 3,500 crore by 2025 and intends to become a master system integrator with a current order book of Rs 6,800 crore.

“Our current order book value is nearly Rs 6,800 crores, and have annual revenue of about Rs 1,750 crore. We are expecting to double the revenue by 2025, to reach Rs 3,500 crore,” TCIL chairman Sanjeev Kumar told ET.

The Delhi-based company that was selected as one of the six public sector firms handpicked by the Centre to launch an Initial Public Offer (IPO), said that the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has been working on the modalities of stock listing.

“TCIL shall go with a focused approach on these (futuristic) technologies, and tie up with different technology providers, startups and act as master system integrator to offer user-friendly innovative solutions leveraging IT and telecom technologies,” the top official said.

We support the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) initiative, Kumar said, adding that TCIL would give preference to local technology not only within India but also for the multinational programs.

The firm runs the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)-backed ICT programs in as many as 54 African countries.

“We are keen to support local products but some state-run companies are struggling to deploy commercially-proven networks today although we have indiginous products such as Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON),” he said.

The Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, according to him, should provide sufficient funds to the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) for research and development (R&D) activities.

USOF, an arm of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), is a Rs 55,000 crore strong corpus aimed to facilitate rural telephony, and has been funding programs such as the Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-I and LWE-II across Red Corridor areas spread across 10 states.

The state-run company together with Finnish Nokia has recently participated in Bangladesh’s fourth generation (4G) program under the Government-to-Government (G2G) initiative, and is also eyeing exclusive Indian Railways 4G-driven signalling network.

Karnataka CM Bommai to open Infosys facility at Jayadeva heart institute on November 17

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will open a 350-bed Infosys Foundation Block at the government-run Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences & Research in Bengaluru on November 17.

The CSR arm of the software giant Infosys has spent Rs 103 crore on the project. The Foundation has also provided critical cardiac equipment in the new facility.

The cardiology institute is the most sought-after by patients, especially those from low-income groups. “We dedicate this facility to the poor people of our nation,” said an invite from Sudha Murty, chairperson at Infosys Foundation.

Taliban ban use of foreign currency in Afghanistan

The Taliban announced a complete ban on the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan on Tuesday, a move sure to cause further disruption to an economy pushed to the brink of collapse by the abrupt withdrawal of international support.

The surprise move came hours after at least 25 people were killed and more than 50 wounded when gunmen attacked Afghanistan’s biggest military hospital after two heavy explosions at the site in central Kabul.

“The economic situation and national interests in the country require that all Afghans use Afghan currency in their every trade,” the Taliban said in a statement shared with journalists by one of their spokesmen.

The use of U.S. dollars is widespread in Afghanistan’s markets, while border areas use the currency of neighbouring countries such as Pakistan for trade.

The Taliban government is pressing for the release of billions of dollars of central bank reserves as the drought-stricken nation faces a cash crunch, mass starvation and a new migration crisis.

Afghanistan parked billions of dollars in assets overseas with the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe, but that money has been frozen since the Islamist Taliban ousted the Western-backed government in August.

The departure of U.S.-led forces and many international donors left the country without grants that financed three quarters of public spending.

The finance ministry said it had a daily tax take of roughly 400 million Afghanis ($4.4 million).

Although Western powers want to avert a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, they have refused to officially recognise the Taliban government.

HPCL GRM for H1 at $2.87 was better than last year’s H1 at $2.58: MK Surana

“We are trying to ensure that we are able to supply the fuel to the end consumers at the most reasonable prices at the same time keep it aligned to international markets,” says MK Surana, CMD,

HPCL

.

Q2 witnessed quite a few disruptions in terms of shutdowns. What are the trends that you are witnessing on the GRM front and what is the reason for the sequential decline in GRMs?
Our Q2 GRM was $2.44 and the first half H1 of FY21-22 was $2.87. So H1 at $2.87 was better than last year’s H1 which was around $2.58.

One of the reasons for GRM being low is because our Mumbai refinery was in a shutdown for a major revamp and expansion. The Mumbai refinery expansion has got a few new revamped units. We did one very complex and major revamp during the first half of this year. It coincided with the corona second wave. Now the good part was that we could take the shutdown at a time when the margins were low and the demand was also low. But at the same time, it also had a little bit of spillover because there was some restriction on oxygen used for industrial purposes. But we have completed it.

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What is the trend you are witnessing in marketing margins? How do you see the performance going forward?
We were not in the practice of providing marketing margins as such. There was a faster pick up in demand and a slower pick up in supply due to restricted supply from OPEC plus countries and the hurricane in Gulf of Mexico called Ida as also some disruption in the pipeline in Libya. So there was a jump in crude prices. Parallely the product prices were also high.

We are trying to ensure that we are able to supply the fuel to the end consumers at the most reasonable prices at the same time keep it aligned to international markets.

How have the volumes picked up given that we are seeing recovery now? Do you see any reasons for worry going ahead as there has been a pickup in the pace for EVs?
Demand has picked up very smartly. In October, petrol was up 5.83% month on month, month on month diesel was up 20%. ATF was up 15.8%. So there is smart recovery in all the major products that are visible if you go outside on the airports, on the roads, on the shops. So demand is coming up without any doubt.

Society needs to think cleaning Ganga is its responsibility not just govt’s job: Jal Shakti minister

The society needs to consider cleaning the Ganga river as its responsibility and not see it as just the government’s job, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Wednesday. Addressing the valedictory function of the Ganga Utsav, he said everyone should think of themselves as the custodian of the environment.

“We have the role of custodian of this environment. We need to make it better and pass on to the next generation and not deteriorate it further. The society needs to think that cleaning the Ganga river is its responsibility and not just the government’s job,” he said.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju said a lot of work towards cleaning the Ganga needs to be done.

“In the next three to four years, I am confident that the clean Ganga mission will be successful. As an Indian, I believe rejuvenating and cleaning the Ganga is the most crucial programme in the country.

“Namami Gange (National Mission for Clean Ganga) is not just general government work but a mission and the work done under it inspires us,” he said.

The government celebrated the three-day ‘Ganga Utsav-The River Festival 2021’ with a focus on encouraging stakeholder engagement and public participation towards the rejuvenation of the Ganga river. PTI UZM NSD NSD NSD

Sensex down 650 points from day’s high: Key factors dragging markets

NEW DELHI: Benchmark indices edged lower, wiping off morning gains, on Wednesday, ahead of the much-awaited US Federal Reserve policy meeting outcome later in the day, in which many believe the central bank will announce the tapering of its asset purchase program.

Meanwhile, ahead of a long holiday, investors are also looking at the next Samvat starting on Diwali. Top private sector banking names, a few top PSU banks and the leading NBFCs are well placed to deliver market-beating returns, said an analyst.

“The reality and metal stories appear to be multi-year upcycle stories, and therefore, might remain resilient during Samvat 2078. Construction-related stocks are likely to do well gaining from the low-interest tailwind,” said VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

How are bluechips doing
After opening in the green, benchmark indices maintained their lead. At 2.42 pm, BSE flagship Sensex was down 297 points or 0.50 per cent at 59,732. NSE benchmark Nifty declined 85 points or 0.47 per cent to 17,804.

“On the technical front, though Indian markets declined marginally yesterday, overall breadth seems positive and outperformance was witnessed in the majority of the indices. We believe the positive trend in the market is intact and investors can witness further upside. Immediate support and resistance in the markets are 17,800 and 18,200, respectively,” said Mohit Nigam, Head – PMS, Hem Securities.

In the 50-share pack Nifty, Tech Mahindra was the biggest gainer, up 2.02 per cent. SBI Life Insurance, L&T, Adani Ports, NTPC, Hindalco, JSW Steel, Tata Steel and M&M were among other gainers.

Divi’s Labs was the top loser in the pack, down 1.43 per cent. Sun Pharma, Titan, HDFC Bank, Asian Paints, HUL, Tata Motors and Britannia Industries were among those that traded in the red.

Factors driving markets
US Fed meeting: The Federal Reserve is expected to announce the tapering of its $120 billion-a-month asset purchase program in its policy statement at 1800 GMT.

Dollar, bond yields steady: Moves in currency markets were muted on Thursday. The dollar kept within sight of its recent highs against the yen and euro. US benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were steady at 1.5540 per cent, a little off last month’s recent top of 1.7 per cent. This also adds to uncertainty in the equity markets.

Broader markets
Broader market indices were trading higher, in line with their headline peers, in morning trade. Nifty Smallcap was up 0.18 per cent while Nifty Midcap advanced 0.57 per cent. Broadest index on NSE, Nifty 500 was up 0.44 per cent.

Mazdock Shipbuilders, Sequent Scientific, Cochin Shipyard, Trent, Manappuram Finance and REC were gainers from the space while Balkrishna Industries, Oil India, Bharat Forge, Laxmi Chemicals, IDBI and Century Ply witnessed selling pressure.

Global markets
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.33 per cent in early trading on Thursday. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

The Australian benchmark share index was the biggest gainer, rising 1.3 per cent. But those gains were outweighed by falls in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, down 1 per cent, and South Korea’s KOSPI, down 1.2 per cent.

No major decision to be taken by 9 centre heads at JNU; appointments by VC without authority: HC

The Delhi High Court has restrained the heads of nine JNU centres from taking any “major decisions” and said that their appointment by the varsity’s Vice Chancellor was prima facie without any authority. A bench headed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher stated that the Vice Chancellor is not vested with the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres or Special Centres as the JNU statute confers the power of appointment on the Executive Council.

The bench, also comprising Justice Talwant Singh, was dealing with an appeal against a Single-Judge order which had refused to grant a stay on the appointments on a petition by Professor Atul Sood.

Observing that it was “cognizant of the fact that the Centres/Special Centres need Chairpersons for effective functioning”, the court requested the Single Judge, who is hearing the challenge to the appointments, to advance the hearing on the writ petition.

“We are prima facie of the view that respondent no.2 (Vice Chancellor) is not vested with the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres. The Statute confers the power of appointment on the Executive Council. Thus, clearly the appointment of Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres by respondent no.2 is, as is evident at this stage, prima facie, without authority,” the bench opined in its order dated October 26.

“Pending decision in the writ petition, the nine (9) Chairpersons, who have been appointed.. (as stated in) Minutes of the 296th meeting of the Executive Council, will not take any major decisions, including functions relating to convening of selection committees and/or carrying out selection(s), concerning the Centres/special centres,” it added.

The court clarified that the views are only prima facie and the single judge will decide the writ petition on merits, after hearing both sides.

Lawyer Abhik Chimni, representing the appellant, said that the exercise of power of appointment in the present case by the Vice Chancellor was null and void in law and the Executive Council could not have approved the same subsequently.

JNU counsel Monika Arora stated that the power to appoint chairpersons to various centres is exercised by the Vice Chancellor from time to time, which is subsequently ratified by the Executive Council.

She informed that the single judge has indicated that he would examine the aspect as to whether the Vice-Chancellor could at all initiate the process of appointment of Chairpersons to various Centres/Special Centres, under the provisions of the JNU statute.