Four out of the 10 most valuable companies on NSE by market cap added Rs.114,744 crore to total market value last week. Of course, IT continued to dominate the story even as banks were under pressure. TCS gained Rs.57,816 while Infosys added Rs 23,625 crore. HUL Rs.17,974 crore and Bharti Airtel by Rs,15,329 crore were also among the gainers. Among the losers, HDFC Bank lost Rs.35,750 crore, Reliance Rs.24,756 crore, ICICI Bank Rs.18,997 crore and SBI Rs.15,618 crore. Banks got hit by fresh lockdown and AT-1 fears.
M&M will invest Rs.3,000 crore in its electric vehicles (EV) business over next 3 years. The strategy is likely to be largely inorganic. It is currently working on its EV platform. This will be in addition to the Rs.9,000 crore that M&M had already committed to invest in auto and farm sectors over next 5 years. M&M plans to put 5 lakh electric vehicles on Indian roads by 2025. M&M may initially focus EVs on 3-wheelers and small 4-wheelers as cost of owning is low and charging facilities is not an issue due to swappable batteries.
SBI MF, the administrator for the 6 beleaguered funds of Templeton, will distribute the next tranche of Rs.2,962 crore to unitholders of the 6 shuttered debt schemes of Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds in India. It may be recollected that SBI MF has already distributed Rs.9,122 crore to unitholders. The fund will be extinguishing equivalent units of the six troubled schemes. Franklin Templeton MF had shut 6 debt mutual fund schemes in April 2020 due to redemption pressures and lack of liquidity in bond markets.
Infosys is likely to consider a buyback of equity shares when it meets on 14 April. Infosys will also hold its board meeting on 13 and 14 April and will conclude with the announcement of quarterly results for Q4 and annual numbers. Overall, the IT sector is expected to post superb earnings in the March quarter and that would mean IT companies would look to distribute some of their higher revenues. Tier-I IT companies are likely to grow 2.2%-3.9% sequentially. Infosys and HCL Tech are likely to give double-digit guidance.
It looks like the government is stepping on the pedal to scale up vaccine production manifold. The government has promised that by Q3 India will get 5 additional approved vaccines, other than Covishield and COVAXIN. The likely names where the approvals are in the final stages include the Russian Sputnik-V by RDIF, Johnson & Johnson vaccine in collaboration with Biological-E, Novavax, Cadila’s vaccine and the Bharat Biotech intranasal vaccine. Safety and efficiency will be overriding considerations for approval.
FPIs withdrew Rs.929 crore from Indian markets in the first 6 trading sessions of April. Earlier, the FPIs had infused Rs.17,304 crore in Mar-21, Rs.23,663 crore in Feb-21 and Rs.14,649 crore in Jan-21. Numbers were marginal with Rs.740 crore flowing out of equities and Rs.189 crore out of the debt segment. There has been some FPI caution due to the rising COVID cases as well as a weakening of the Indian rupee. Also, FPIs are once again looking at alternate emerging markets with cheaper valuations like Taiwan, Korea etc.
India’s 12 major government-owned ports were hit by COVID. These ports saw 4.59% contraction in cargo volumes handled to 672.60 MT in FY21 compared to 705 MT, 699 MT and 679 MT cargo handled in the previous 3 fiscal years. Among the ports, only Paradip and Marmagao recorded positive cargo growth. Cargo handling dipped in Ennore, Mumbai, Chidambaranar, Cochin, New Mangalore, Chennai, Kandla, Kolkata, Vizag and JNPT. These 12 government-owned ports handle 61% of India’s overall cargo traffic.
It is reported that the government may hike FDI limit in the pension sector from 49% to 74%. The bill for the same is likely to be taken up in the next session of parliament. Insurance sector saw FDI of Rs.26,000 crore after the FDI limit was raised from 49% to 74%. However, it is not clear if there will be a separation of NPS Trust and the PFRDA. Pension reforms have a huge role to play as unsustainable pension bills means that the government is keen to shift to a defined contribution pension scheme at the earliest.