Today's top business news: EIU lowers global growth forecast; LPG price hiked; Facebook, Cisco drop out from MWC and more

News updates from the world of economy, markets, and finance

4:45 PM

EIU lowers global growth forecast for 2020

The Economist Intelligence Unit has revised downwards its global growth forecast for 2020 to 2.2%, from 2.3% previously, citing new risks that have emerged following the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

“The Chinese authorities are taking unprecedented quarantine measures to halt the spread of the pathogen, which is likely to have consequences on the global economy,” The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in a report.

The EIU was bullish about India growth forecast, provided the coronavirus epidemic does not spread to India.

4:25 PM

Singapore bank clears office after virus case found

DBS signages are seen in Singapore. File

DBS signages are seen in Singapore. File   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

 

The Singapore bank DBS on Wednesday cleared a downtown office and told some 300 employees to work from home after one of its staff was infected with the new virus, adding to concerns that also led authorities to scale back an air show drawing thousands of visitors, AP reported.

DBS said in a statement it was informed Wednesday morning that an employee was confirmed to be infected and that as a precautionary measure it told all staff working on the same floor to work from home.

Read more
 

4:10 PM

Sensex rallies 350 pts, Nifty reclaims 12,200

A view of the BSE building in Mumbai. File

A view of the BSE building in Mumbai. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Extending its gains for the second session, market benchmark Sensex rallied 350 points on Wednesday, propelled by HUL, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, RIL and HDFC Bank amid a positive trend in global equities, PTI reported.

HUL was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 5%, followed by Kotak Bank, Nestle India, ICICI Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra, Asian Paints and RIL.

Investors were also awaiting inflation and factory output data, scheduled for release later in the day, they added.

3:45 PM

Dr. Reddy’s to acquire Wockhardt’s select generics for ₹1,850 crore

Today's top business news: EIU lowers global growth forecast; LPG price hiked; Facebook, Cisco drop out from MWC and more
 

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd entered into a definitive agreement with Wockhardt Ltd. to acquire select divisions of its branded generics business in India and a few other international territories, including Sri Lanka and Maldives for ₹1,850 crores, the drug maker said on Wednesday, PTI reported.

The business comprises of a portfolio of 62 brands in multiple therapy areas such as Respiratory, Neurology, VMS, Dermatology, Pain and Vaccines, which would transfer to Dr. Reddy’s along with related sales and marketing teams and the manufacturing plant located in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh with all plant employees, a release said.

3:25 PM

LPG price hiked by ₹144.5 per cylinder

The government subsidy payout to domestic users has been increased from ₹153.86 per cylinder to ₹291.48. | File

The government subsidy payout to domestic users has been increased from ₹153.86 per cylinder to ₹291.48. | File   | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

 

Cooking gas LPG price was hiked by a steep ₹144.5 per cylinder on Wednesday due to spurt in benchmark global rates of the fuel, PTI reported.

But to insulate domestic users, the government almost doubled the subsidy it provides on the fuel to keep per cylinder outgo almost unchanged.

LPG price was increased to ₹858.50 per 14.2 kg cylinder from ₹714 previously, according to a price notification of state-owned oil firms.

3:00 PM

India's phone industry hit as coronovirus outbreak disrupts supply chain in China: ICEA

Representational image.

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

The phone industry in India is facing an unprecedented and tough situation as its supply chain, which is heavily dependent on China, is getting “badly impacted,” India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) said on Wednesday PTI reported.

“This is an absolutely unprecedented situation...the industry is helpless,” ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said at an event.

Mohindroo further said supply chain management is getting “badly impacted” but noted that a handful of plants in China have now received permission to open.

2:30 PM

Facebook and Cisco to pull out of Mobile World Conference 2020

File photo of Cisco's campus in San Jose, California.

File photo of Cisco's campus in San Jose, California.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

 

Cisco and Facebook have become the latest big tech firms to drop out of the worlds largest mobile industry exhibition, the Mobile World Congress 2020 (MWC) citing concerns related to the coronavirus (2019-nCoV), IANS reported.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees would not be attending this year’s Mobile World Congress due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus. We will continue to collaborate with the GSMA and our partners and thank them for their efforts,” a company spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.

Cisco took to Twitter to announce that it would not be at MWC.

“We have made the difficult decision to withdraw from participating in Mobile World Congress scheduled for Feb 24-27 in Barcelona due to concerns about the current outbreak of coronavirus,” the company tweeted.

2:00 PM

SoftBank Group quarterly profit wiped out by Vision Fund losses

In this April 9, 2019, photo, a man walks past in front of a SoftBank shop in Tokyo.

In this April 9, 2019, photo, a man walks past in front of a SoftBank shop in Tokyo.  

 

SoftBank Group Corp reported a near-total wipe out in quarterly profit on Wednesday, after the Japanese technology investor was whiplashed for a second consecutive quarter by losses at its $100 billion Vision Fund.

The dire result is likely to deepen concern about founder Masayoshi Son's ability to secure funding for a second Vision Fund, and give more ammunition to activist investor Elliott Management which has recently emerged as a prominent shareholder.

The numbers are also the latest reminder of the inherent risk in Son's strategy of betting big on untested startups. The Vision Fund posted an operating loss of 225 billion yen ($2.05 billion) for October-December compared to 176 billion yen profit in the same period a year earlier.

But Son, who is known for his ebullience and charisma - still rare in corporate Japan - said his company was already turning the corner.

He pointed to a rally in prices at the Vision Fund's handful of listed investments and news overnight that a U.S. federal judge had rejected an antitrust challenge to the proposed merger of SoftBank's Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc.

“The tide is turning,” Son told a briefing following the release of SoftBank earnings.

Group profit reached 2.6 billion yen for the quarter versus 438 billion yen a year prior. The figure included a 332 billion yen dilution gain related to the secondary listing of portfolio firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The result compared with the 345 billion yen average of three analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv. Analysts have said it is difficult to evaluate SoftBank's performance due to a lack of disclosure around Vision Fund's internal valuations. Reuters

1:45 PM

Crude oil futures gain on positive global cues

Crude oil prices on Wednesday rose by Rs 27 to Rs 3,607 per barrel as speculators widened their positions driven by positive overseas trend.

Analysts said raising of bets by participants kept crude prices higher in futures trade here.

On the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for delivery in February traded higher by Rs 27, or 0.75 per cent, to Rs 3,607 per barrel in 25,554 lots.

Crude oil for March delivery was up by Rs 29, or 0.80 per cent, to Rs 3,637 per barrel with an open interest of 1,322 lots.

Globally, West Texas Intermediate was trading higher by 1.36 per cent at USD 50.62 per barrel.

Meanwhile, Brent crude, the international benchmark, edged up 1.85 per cent to USD 55.01 per barrel in New York. PTI

1:30 PM

JGBs slip as Fed Powell says U.S. economy in good place

Japanese government bond (JGB) prices dipped on Wednesday, tracking losses in its U.S. counterparts, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy is resilient and that current monetary policy remains appropriate.

Benchmark 10-year JGB futures fell 0.19 point to 152.61, with trading volume of 21,149 lots.

The 10-year cash JGB yield rose 1.5 basis points to minus 0.045%.

The 20-year yield also gained 1.5 basis points to 0.245%, while the 30-year and the 40-year yields rose one basis point each to 0.375% and 0.400%, respectively.

At the shorter end of the market, the two-year JGB yield added half a basis point to minus 0.155% and the five-year yield rose 1.5 basis points to minus 0.140%.

U.S. bond prices slipped on Tuesday after Powell signaled that he sees no reason to adjust U.S. interest rates unless new developments cause a “material reassessment” to the current outlook. Reuters

1:15 PM

NCDEX files offer document for IPO

National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX) has filed its offer document with markets regulator Sebi for an initial public offering.

The IPO comprises a fresh issue aggregating up to Rs 100 crore and an offer for sale of up to 1,44,53,774 equities by shareholders, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP).

The issue is expected to raise Rs 500 crore, including fresh offering, merchant banking sources said.

The selling shareholders include Build India Capital Advisors LLP, Canara Bank, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited, Investcorp Private Equity Fund I (formerly known as IDFC Private Equity Fund III), Jaypee Capital Services Limited, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Oman India Joint Investment Fund and Punjab National Bank, it said.

The exchange proposes to utilise the net proceeds towards contribution to the core settlement guarantee fund (Core SGF) and towards net worth requirements of National Commodity Clearing Limited (NCCL) and general corporate purposes, as per the document.

The book running lead managers to the offer are ICICI Securities and SBI Capital Markets.

National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange is a leading agricultural commodity exchange in India.

The exchange offers services across the entire post-harvest agricultural commodities value chain by utilising a varied presence, which has enabled it to create a wide network of stakeholders and market participants.

It also engages in research, training and building awareness in agricultural commodities market through NCDEX Institute of Commodity Markets and Research.

Some of the key investors include National Stock Exchange of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative, Oman India Joint Investment Fund, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Build India Capital Advisors LLP, and Investcorp Private Equity Fund I (formerly known as IDFC Private Equity Fund III).

The shares are proposed to be listed on the BSE and NSE. PTI

1:00 PM

EIU lowers global growth forecast for 2020 amid coronavirus scare

The Economist Intelligence Unit has revised downwards its global growth forecast for 2020 to 2.2 per cent, from 2.3 per cent previously, citing new risks that have emerged following the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

The virus originated in Wuhan, a city of around 11.3 million people in central Hubei province, China, and has spread to most provinces in mainland China and overseas.

“The Chinese authorities are taking unprecedented quarantine measures to halt the spread of the pathogen, which is likely to have consequences on the global economy,” The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in a report.

Global growth was sluggish throughout 2019 amid trade tensions, a sharp deceleration in real GDP growth in the US, China and India and political uncertainty in a number of EU countries.

In addition, since the start of 2020, concerns related to coronavirus have increased threats to global growth, it said.

Noting that the virus is a “threat” for global growth, the EIU has revised China’s growth downwards.

“On the assumption that the spread of the virus will be under control by end-March, we are lowering our real GDP forecast for China in 2020 to 5.4 per cent, from 5.9 per cent previously,” The EIU said in a report.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s baseline scenario is that the public health emergency within China will be under control by end-March.

“The suggested case fatality rate had stabilised at 2.2 per cent as at February 1; nevertheless, the risk of virus mutation and of heightened transmission during the post-Chinese New Year travel period, and strains on the Chinese healthcare system are grounds for concern,” The EIU said.

The EIU was bullish about India growth forecast, provided the coronavirus epidemic does not spread to India.

“In Asia, we believe that India and Japan, respectively, recorded the best and the worst rates of quarterly growth among G7 and BRICS countries in October-December,” it noted.

The report further said “a series of government stimulus measures, coupled with a low-interest-rate environment, are likely to spur demand and investment in 2020 and to cause a rebound in full-year real GDP growth, to 6.1 per cent (up from an estimated 4.9 per cent in 2019), provided that the coronavirus epidemic does not spread to India“. PTI

12:45 PM

Rabi cereals output in 2019-20 estimated 4.5% higher at 134 MT: Report

The production of rabi cereals in 2019-20 is expected to grow 4.52 per cent to 134.23 million tonne compared to the previous year due to good soil moisture following above normal rainfall during the northeast monsoon season (October-December), according to a report.

In 2018-19, the total rabi cereals production stood at 128.43 million tonne, according to National Bulk Handling Corporation’s (NBHC) rabi crop estimates.

The area under wheat is likely to increase 12.03 per cent to 33.44 million hectare and production expected to improve by 9.01 per cent to 111.40 million tonne.

However, rabi rice acreage is recorded lower by 23.24 per cent at 2.61 million hectare against 3.40 million hectare last year. Its production is expected to fall significantly by 27.96 per cent to 10.30 million tonne from 14.29 million tonne last year mainly due to marginal shift in farmers’ focus to pulses and wheat.

Total coarse cereals production is expected to rise 4.92 per cent to 12.54 million tonne in 2019-20. There is likely to be growth in production of jowar (2.43 million tonne), maize (8.28 million tonne) and barley (1.83 million tonne). PTI

12:30 PM

'Everyone is guessing' about coronavirus economic impacts, say experts

The coronavirus that spread from a seafood market in Wuhan, China to infect tens of thousands has shuttered businesses, grounded flights and killed over 1,000 people so far, mostly in China.

As the world's second-largest economy struggles to get back to work after an extended Lunar New Year holiday, analysts and bankers have been revisiting their estimates of the economic impact of the virus.

Most believe China faces a short but sharper economic shock than originally thought, one that will be felt around the world. Expectations of how harsh the impact will be vary widely, however. Health professionals and economists say opaque Chinese data and lack of precedent hinder clear estimates.

China's gross domestic product growth in the first quarter could fall to as low as 4%, Nicholas R. Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, estimated on Tuesday. That compares to Chinese government estimates of 6% annual growth before the virus emerged.

However, if the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases continues to decline, then adverse effect on annual growth will be much smaller, he added.

Analysts from S&P, meanwhile, estimated Tuesday that the virus could lower China's GDP growth to 5.0% this year, with a peak effect in the first quarter before a rebound begins in the third quarter.

“The numbers are very imperfect, and that's the basic reason behind the wide range of estimates,” said Lardy. “Everyone is guessing.”

Many economists and analysts are looking closely at the historical precedent from the SARS virus spread in 2003. But when SARS struck, China's contribution to global GDP was just 4%, compared with 15% in 2017, and Chinese companies were much less integrated into global supply chains.

Any forecasts are also complicated by the fact that Beijing has a history of closely managing China's economy to hit specific targets, and there were already doubts whether China's economy could reach 6% growth this year.

Further, much remains unknown about the coronavirus, including its exact incubation period and the effectiveness of China's quarantine measures, Catherine Troisi, a University of Texas public health specialist, said Tuesday during a National Association for Business Economics call on the virus's economic impact.

The authoritarian nature of China's government could also hinder the response by making officials afraid to report problems, she said, adding the latest update of around 43,000 infections is likely an undercount.

“It's a culture that shoots the messenger. Because of the bureaucracy, local officials are afraid to say anything,” she said. Reuters

12:15 PM

IndusInd Bank shares fall over 3% after downgrade

Shares of IndusInd Bank on Wednesday fell by over 3 per cent after Moody’s Investors Service revised down its outlook on the company to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’

The scrip declined 3 per cent to Rs 1,252.50 on the BSE.

At the NSE, it fell 3.16 per cent to Rs 1,251.70.

Concerns over a further deterioration in asset quality have led Moody’s to revise down its outlook on IndusInd Bank to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’ on Tuesday.

The private sector bank’s rating has been affirmed at the earlier one of ‘Baa-3/P-3’, Moody’s said in a note.

Baa3 denotes the lowest rating in investment grade on long-term corporate obligation which carries moderate risks.

“The outlook has been revised to negative to account for the risk of further asset quality deterioration,” it said.

Moody’s noted that the bank has seen a deterioration in asset quality, particularly in the corporate segment over the last few quarters, and attributed the same to tight refinancing conditions faced by borrowers. PTI

12:00 PM

India auto production to shrink by 8.3% in 2020; coronavirus spread may hit supply chain: Fitch

Fitch Solutions on Wednesday said it expects vehicle production in India to contract by 8.3 per cent in 2020 as the auto industry faces increasing risk of supply shortage due to China’s coronavirus outbreak, possibly hitting domestic output if the virus spreads in the country.

In China, where the virus originated, automotive manufacturers have halted production in order to limit the congregation of people and reduce the exposure of its population to possible infection and “we see India adopting similar policies if the virus spreads throughout the country,” it said.

Given that India’s health care system is ill-equipped to deal with a large scale epidemic, the rating agency said “the impact on Indian autos will be much larger because the virus will likely spread much faster in the country when compared to China“.

Furthermore, because China is one of India’s largest supplier of automotive components, a slowdown in the supply of China-made components will lead to shortages in India and could force auto makers to slow or stop production.

As a result, we forecast vehicle production in India will contract by 8.3 per cent for 2020, following an estimated contraction of 13.2 per cent in 2019.

The agency said that it believes that the weak domestic demand for new vehicles will see India’s vehicle production continue to contract in 2020.

“China supplies India with between 10-30 per cent of its automotive components, and this could be two to three times higher when looking at India’s EV segment, which highlights just how exposed India’s automotive manufacturing industry is to the slowdown of vehicle Chinese component manufacturing,” it said.

Fitch also believes that the protectionist policies presented in the country’s 2020 Budget with regards to electric vehicles will offer some upside potential for local EV production, but it will be accompanied by increased trade risk. PTI

11:45 AM

Gold flat as new virus cases fall, but concerns remain

Gold was little changed on Wednesday, as equities rose after the number of new coronavirus cases fell, while uncertainty over the economic impact of the outbreak underpinned bullion.

Spot gold was flat at $1,567.82 per ounce by 0348 GMT. U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $1,571.20.

While the death toll exceeded 1,000, China's foremost medical adviser on the epidemic said infections may be over by April, with the number of new cases already declining in some places.

“Gold is consolidating as the current virus scare is evaporating,” Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, said.

However, the underlying support for gold remains due to factors including the negative knock-on effects of the virus, the cumulative impact of existing tariffs following the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal, Innes said.

The virus outbreak could reduce Chinese purchase of U.S. farm products this year under the Phase 1 trade deal, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said.

Also keeping gold in check, the U.S. dollar stayed close to four-month highs after soaking up safe-haven flows as worries about the coronavirus coincided with recent data showing the U.S. economy's strength.

Meanwhile, Asian stocks inched up as investors felt the worst of the epidemic may have passed, but remained wary of its spread.

The measures taken by Chinese authorities to avoid large-scale layoffs are “keeping a lid on gold prices as it would be positive for growth and bullish for equity markets,” AxiCorp's Innes said. Reuters

11:30 AM

Yuan inches higher as new virus infections in China fall to near 2-week low

The yuan edged up on Wednesday as China reported the slowest daily growth of coronavirus infections in nearly two weeks, raising hopes the outbreak may be peaking and that damage to the economy may be fleeting.

New confirmed cases in mainland China - at 2,015 on Tuesday - fell to their lowest in almost two weeks, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday. New cases in epicentre Hubei province also hit Jan. 31 lows.

Zhong Nanshan, Beijing's senior medical adviser, told Reuters that the outbreak is hitting a peak in China this month and may end by April, basing the forecast on mathematical modelling, recent events and government action.

At midday, the onshore yuan firmed 0.05% to 6.9624 per dollar. The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate - which spot can trade 2% either side of - at 6.9718 per dollar prior to market open, almost the same as the Reuters' estimate.

“Dr Zhong's latest assessment of the coronavirus epidemic is expected to sustain a risk friendly mood and prop up EM Asian currencies,” strategists at Scotiabank said in a note. They said the yuan could strengthen further towards 6.9 per dollar. The yuan was also helped by the U.S. dollar giving up some gains, OCBC Wing Hang Bank said on Wednesday. Reuters

11:15 AM

Samsung launches Galaxy S20 flagship smartphones

South Korean electronics major Samsung has unveiled Galaxy S20, a new series of flagship devices featuring 5G and artificial intelligence camera technology, to strengthen its position in the high-end smartphone market.

“As we enter this new decade, 5G will completely change how we communicate... Galaxy S20 variants - Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra - come with 5G connectivity,” Samsung Electronics President and Head of Mobile Communications Business TM Roh said in a statement.

The company said Galaxy S20 series introduces artificial intelligence (AI) camera technologies and is build for future of communications.

The South Korean firm has been witnessing strong competition in the premium mobile phone space from Apple’s iPhone and OnePlus.

The Galaxy S20 series, unveiled here at Samsung’s ‘Unpacked 2020’ event, also features a new, secure processor which protects against hardware-based attacks.

According to the company, the new phones have significantly increased camera resolution. S20 and S20+ have a 64MP camera and S20 Ultra has 108MP camera.

The new phones will be available from March 6, priced between USD 999 and USD 1,399, the company said.

At the event, Samsung also unveiled a second new smartphone called Galaxy Z Flip - the company’s second folding phone which is different from the first which was called the Galaxy Fold.

It will be launched on February 14 at a price of USD 1,380.

The company said that the Flip’s screen could be folded and unfolded over 200,000 times. PTI

11:00 AM

China's GDP goal on track despite virus impact, says government economist

China will be able to achieve its long-term goal of doubling gross domestic product and incomes this year despite the impact from a conoravirus outbreak, an influential economist at a top government think tank said on Wednesday.

The virus outbreak will only have a one-off hit on the economy and demand will recover quickly, Cai Fang, the vice head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said in an article in the People's Daily, the newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.

“Although the temporary impact caused by the epidemic will slightly reduce the growth rate and other development indicators, it will not delay the fulfillment of the goal of building a moderately prosperous society,” Cai said.

This year is crucial for the ruling Communist Party to fulfill its goal of doubling gross domestic product (GDP) and incomes in the decade to 2020.

A growth rate of about 5.7% this year will be enough for achieving the goal of doubling GDP and incomes, Cai said.

Analysts believe growth could decelerate sharply by 2 percentage points or more from a 6% expansion in the last quarter, but they say business and consumer activity could rebound sharply if the outbreak peaks soon, much like the pattern during the SARS epidemic in 2003.

The government should use policy tools in a timely and flexible way and adopt “unconventional policy tools”, to support the economy, Cai said without elaborating.

The government has taken some stimulus measures, including injecting liquidity into the banking system, providing re-lending and fiscal support for some firms, and more steps are expected.

The epidemic has delayed the return of migrant workers to cities and affected the resumption of firms' operations, which could lead to unemployment and lower incomes, Cai said.

Regions that have not been hit hard by the epidemic should allow migrant workers to return to cities and let firms resume operations on the condition the outbreak is controlled, he said. Reuters

10:45 AM

Rupee rises 7 paise to 71.21 against US dollar in early trade

The rupee appreciated by 7 paise to 71.21 against the US dollar in opening trade on Wednesday, driven by positive opening in domestic equities.

Forex traders said positive opening in domestic equities supported the local unit, while rising crude prices, foreign fund outflows and strengthening of the American currency weighed on rupee and restricted its upmove.

Moreover, rupee continued to consolidate in a narrow range ahead of inflation and industrial production figures scheduled to be released later in the day, they added.

The rupee opened strong at 71.24 at the interbank forex market then gained further ground to touch 71.21 per dollar, displaying gains of 7 paise against the greenback.

On Tuesday, the rupee had settled at 71.28 against the US dollar.

The benchmark BSE Sensex was trading with gains of 370.21 points, or 0.90 per cent to quote at 41,586.35 while the NSE Nifty was trading at 12,205.30, up 97.40 points, or 0.08 per cent.

Foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 209.39 crore on a net basis on Tuesday, according to provisional exchange data.

Meanwhile, brent crude, the global benchmark, was trading at USD 54.97 per barrel higher by 1.78 per cent.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose by 0.04 per cent to 98.75.

The 10-year government bond yield was at 6.48 per cent in morning trade. PTI

10:30 AM

Sensex rallies over 300 points ahead of IIP, inflation data releases

Market benchmark Sensex rallied over 300 points in opening session on Wednesday driven by gains in HDFC twins, RIL, ICICI Bank and HUL ahead of the release of inflation and factory output data.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 331.04 points or 0.80 per cent higher at 41,547.18, and the broader NSE advanced 93.50 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 12,201.40.

In the previous session, Sensex settled 236.52 points, or 0.58 per cent, higher at 41,216.14 and Nifty rose 76.40 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 12,107.90.

Meanwhile, on a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 209.39 crore, while domestic institutional investors bought shares worth Rs 344.63 crore on Tuesday, data available with stock exchanges showed.

HUL was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising up to 3 per cent, followed by Tata Steel, NTPC, HDFC, Nestle India, PowerGrid and Axis Bank.

On the other hand, IndusInd Bank was the sole laggard in morning session.

According to analysts, domestic investors are likely to stay focused on the last batch of Q3 numbers, factory output and CPI inflation for the month of January. As per the consensus, inflation is expected to remain elevated confirming the recent action by the central bank.

Market also took positive cues from global markets that remained on firm footing despite concerns over coronavirus (COVID-19), traders said.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading on a positive note.

Stock exchanges on Wall Street closed with gains on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated 5 paise against the US dollar to 71.21 in morning session.

Global crude benchmark Brent rallied 1.72 per cent to USD 54.94 per barrel. PTI

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 9:43:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/businesslive-12-feb-2020/article30798225.ece

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