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Sensex ends above 50K, Nifty crosses 14,850
(15:34, 01 Apr 2021)
The domestic equity indices ended near the day's high on Thursday led by gains in banks and auto stocks. As per the provisional closing data, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, jumped 520.68 points or 1.05% at 50,029.55. The Nifty 50 index advanced 176.65 points or 1.2% at 14,867.05.

The buying was supported by positive global cues, backed by strong factory activity data in euro zone and Asia last month, and the optimism around the U.S. government's $2 trillion spending plan.

US President Joe Biden unveiled a massive infrastructure package on Wednesday, which includes roughly $2 trillion in spending over eight years. The government will raise the corporate tax rate to 28%, combined with measures designed to stop offshoring of profits, to fund the infrastructure plan within 15 years.

The broader market outperformed the benchmarks. The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index rallied 1.68% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index surged 2.05%.

Buyers outnumbered sellers. On the BSE, 2,143 shares rose and 748 shares fell. A total of 152 shares were unchanged.

COVID-19 Update:

Total COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide stood at 12,89,13,887 with 28,16,081 deaths. India reported 5,84,055 active cases of COVID-19 infection and 1,62,927 deaths while 1,14,74,683 patients have been discharged, according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Among the total active caseload of 5.52 lakh cases, five states - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Chhattisgarh - cumulatively account for 79.30% of the cases. Maharashtra leads with more than 61% of the active caseload.

Economy:

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of March 2021 stood at a record of Rs 1,23,902 crore of which CGST is Rs 22,973 crore, SGST Rs 29,329 crore, IGST Rs 62,842 crore and Cess is Rs 8,757 crore. The GST revenues during March 2021 are the highest since introduction of GST. In line with the trend of recovery in the GST revenues over past five months, the revenues for the month of March 2021 are 27% higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year.

India's current account balance recorded a deficit of $1.7 billion (0.2% of GDP) in Q3 FY2021 after a surplus of $15.1 billion (2.4% of GDP) in Q2 FY2021 and $19 billion (3.7% of GDP) in Q1 FY2021; a deficit of $2.6 billion (0.4% of GDP) was recorded a year ago. Underlying the current account deficit in Q3 FY2021 was a rise in the merchandise trade deficit to $34.5 billion from $14.8 billion in the preceding quarter, and an increase in net investment income payments.

The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 127.8 in February 2021, which declined by 4.6% as compared to the Index of February 2020. All sectors reported decline in output during the month under review. Its cumulative growth during April to February, 2020-21 has been (-) 8.3%.

Meanwhile, World Bank has raised Indian GDP growth prediction for 2021-22 fiscal to 10.1% from 5.4% projected in January. The international bank said given the significant uncertainty amid COVID-19 effects on the economy, the real India GDP growth could be in the range from 7.5% to 12.5%.

The World Bank in its South Asia Economic Focus Spring update report said that it has revised the projection amid a strong rebound in private consumption and investment growth. The international bank noted that government consumption is expected to rise by about 16.7% during the reported fiscal.

The World Bank, however, sounded a warning as economic activity is well below pre-COVID-19 estimate. It said that businesses need to make up for lost revenue and millions of workers, most of them in the informal sector, still reel from job losses and falling incomes should be taken care.

No change in Small Savings Scheme:

The government on Thursday decided to withdraw the rate cut order on the small saving schemes. Finance Minister said interest rates on small savings schemes will continue to be at the levels as in March 2021.

“Interest rates of small savings schemes of GoI shall continue to be at the rates which existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021, i.e., rates that prevailed as of March 2021. Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet early Thursday morning.

The government on Wednesday had announced the new interest rates on post office small savings schemes for the three months ending 30 June 2021. The rates notified for the April to June 2021 quarter were 40 basis points (0.4%) to 110 basis points (1.1%) lower on various instruments including PPF, Senior citizen savings scheme, monthly income account scheme, etc.

March Auto Sales:

Escorts fell 1.23%. The company's Agri Machinery Segment (EAM) in March 2021 sold 12,337 tractors, its highest ever March sales, and registered a growth of 126.6% against 5,444 tractors sold in March 2020. Sequentially, the company's tractor sales have increased by 9.86% last month from 11,230 units sold in February 2021. Domestic tractor sales in March 2021 stood at 11,730 tractors, registering a growth of 124.4% from 5,228 tractors sold in March 2020. Escorts said the tractor demand is expected to continue to be strong led by higher Rabi output, favourable crop prices, and initial positive forecast of 2021 monsoon season, all supporting rural customer sentiments.

Maruti Suzuki rose 0.71%. The car major's total sales surged 99.31% to 1,67,014 units in March 2021 as against 83,792 units March 2020. Sequentially, the company's total auto sales rose 1.54% in March 2021 as against 1,64,469 units sold in February 2021. Total domestic sales (PV+LCV) jumped 94.23% to 1,49,518 units while total export sales surged 146.11% to 11,597 units in March 2021 over March 2020. Total domestic sales (domestic+OEM) grew 96.53% to 1,55,417 units in March 2021 over 79,080 units in March 2020.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) gained 1.55%. The company announced that its overall auto sales (passenger vehicles+ commercial vehicles + exports) for March 2021 stood at 40,403 units, up 505% compared with 6,679 units in March 2020. Sequentially, the company's auto sales surged 40.40% in March 2021 from 28,777 units sold in February 2021. Mahindra's Farm Equipment Sector (FES) said that its total tractor sales (domestic + exports) during March 2021 were at 30,970 units, up by 128% from 13,613 units for the same period last year. While total domestic tractor sales increased by 122% to 29,817 units, total tractor exports increased by 491% to 1,153 units in March 2021 over March 2020.

Ashok Leyland gained 3.35% after the company's total sales (domestic+exports) stood at 17,231 units in March 2021, up 710% over 2126 units sold in March 2020. The company's total domestic sales surged 809% to 15,761 units in March 2021 compared with 1,734 units in March 2020.

Tata Motors rose 1.89% after the auto major's total sales in the domestic & international market for Q4 FY21 stood at 191,720 vehicles, up by 89.04% from 101,420 units sold during Q4 FY20. The company's total domestic sales have increased by 94% to 182,824 units in Q4 FY21 from 94,256 units in Q4 FY20. In March 2021, the Tata Group company sold 66,609 vehicles in the domestic market, as compared to 11,012 vehicles sold in March 2020. The company's total commercial vehicle (CV) sales (domestic + exports) were at 40,609 units in March 2021 as against 7,123 units in March 2020.

Eicher Motors rose 0.81%. VE Commercial Vehicles, an unlisted subsidiary of Eicher Motors, sold 7037 vehicles in March 2021 compared with 1499 vehicles sold in March 2020. Total domestic sales were at 6054 units in March 2021 as against 1409 units sold in March 2020. The company exported 816 vehicles during the month compared with 67 vehicles exported in the same period last year. Total Volvo Trucks & Buses sales stood at 167 units in March 2021 as against 23 units in March 2020.

SML Isuzu gained 3.54% after the auto maker's total sales jumped 95.1% to 952 units in March 2021 as against 488 units in March 2020. Sequentially, the company's auto sales soared 25.26% in March 2021 as against 760 units sold in February 2021. The vehicle maker's sales in Q4 FY21 dropped 9.4% to 2,247 units from 2,479 units sold in Q4 FY20. For FY21, total sales tumbled nearly 52% to 5,043 units from 10,494 units sold in FY20.

VST Tillers Tractors rose 2.67% after the company's total sales jumped to 3,787 units in March 2021, up 91.75% as against 1,975 units sold in March 2020. The company sold 3056 units of power tillers in March 2021, higher than 1585 units sold in March 2020. Total tractor sales stood at 731 units last month, higher than 390 units sold in the same period last year.

Stocks in Spotlight:

Bharti Airtel rose 0.62% after Airtel Africa's mobile money business received $100 million investment from Mastercard. In a regulatory filing made during market hours today, the company said that its subsidiary, Airtel Africa, signed an agreement under which Mastercard, a leading innovator and global technology company in the payments industry, will invest $100 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV), a wholly owned subsidiary of Airtel Africa. AMC BV is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa's mobile money operations and is intended to own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa's fourteen operating countries. The transaction values Airtel Africa's mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt free basis.

Tata Consumer Products (TCPL) rose 1.74% after the company said that its step-down subsidiaries in the USA have decided to divest their entire membership interest in Empirical Group and Southern Tea to the joint venture partner, Harris Tea Company, USA. Empirical Group is engaged in the business of selling primarily white label tea and coffee in the foodservice channel and to contract customers. Southern Tea is a manufacturing entity acting as a supplier to Harris Tea and TCPL (Empirical, Tetley and Good Earth brands).

Axis Bank rose 2.07%. The private lender said that it has entered into a share purchase agreement for sale of 100% stake in its subsidiary, Axis Bank UK to OpenPayd Holdings. For the transaction, the bank received the completion net asset value (book value of the bank on the date of completion) plus a fixed premium of $5.5 million.

Wipro rose 0.6%. The IT major announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Ampion, an Australia-based provider of cyber security, DevOps and quality engineering services. The entire divestment transaction will take place for a total cash consideration of $117 million. The deal is expected to be completed during the quarter ending 30 June 2021, subject to requisite regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Sunteck Realty added 0.75% after the company said it has secured a 7-acre land parcel at Borivali (West), Mumbai to develop a luxury residential project. Acquired under the asset light Joint Development Agreement (JDA) model, the residential project in the western suburbs of the city is spread across 7 acres and will have approximately 1 million sq. ft of development potential. It is expected to generate a project top line of around Rs 1,750 crore over the next 4-5 years further strengthening the cash flow and the balance sheet of the company.

Welspun India surged 4.81% after the company said that it has prepaid term loans of Rs 374.27 crore as on 31 March 2021 along with other installments which were due as on the year end on standalone basis. The weighted average interest rate of the loans prepaid by the company was 8.48% p.a., the company said in a BSE filing made after trading hours yesterday.

GMR Infrastructure added 2.67%. The company's subsidiary Delhi International Airport (DIAL) successfully completed the issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) worth Rs 3257 crore on 30 March 2021. The NCDs have been priced at interest rate of 10.96% per annum and have been subscribed by Cliffton (a FPI, registered under SEBI). The proceeds from the NCD's will be utilized to refinance the outstanding debt of around USD 289 Mn due in FY22 and to partly finance the Phase 3A Expansion, DIAL said in a statement.

Global Markets:

Shares in Europe and Asia rallied on Thursday, supported by the US government's $2 trillion spending plan.

Euro zone manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace on record in March, with IHS Markit's final manufacturing PMI coming in at 62.5 compared to February's 57.9.

A private survey released Thursday showed slowing growth of Chinese factory activity in March. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for March came in at 50.6, compared with February's reading of 50.9. In comparison, China's official manufacturing PMI released Wednesday came in at 51.9, higher than February's reading of 50.6. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion while those below that level represent contraction.

Japan's factory activity expanded at a faster pace in March. The final au Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 52.7 in March from the previous month's 51.4 reading.

In US, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Wednesday, boosted by gains in technology shares as investors positioned themselves for President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure plan.

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