Business News

Indian bourses lose momentum, Sensex and Nifty close marginally high

ITC’s stocks climbed 4.85% after the GST Council limited the cess on tobacco and cigarettes at 290%.

The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex on Friday closed higher by 63 points to 29,649, while National Stock Exchange Nifty ended six points up at 9,160. It was another record for Nifty as the 50-share index opened above 9,200 for the first time since trading began on the stock exchange. Sensex, too, soared to 29,708.59 with a 122.74-point increase (at 11.05 am), nearing its all-time lifetime high of 30,025 (in March 2015).

The rally followed the Goods and Services Tax Council’s approval for the State GST and Union Territory GST laws on Thursday, paving the way to bring the new tax regime into force by July 1. The news made ITC the top gainer of the morning trade on both indices – its shares rose 4.85% after the GST Council decided to limit the cess on tobacco and cigarettes at 290% or Rs 4,170 per 1,000 cigarette sticks.

Bharti Airtel led the losers in both indices for the second consecutive day. Shares of Idea Cellular, which surged following reports of its merger with Vodafone, plunged by over 5% on the NSE. Shares of Maruti Suzuki, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Wipro and Tata Steel made marginal gains on the BSE, while SBI, Bajaj Auto, ICICI and Gail India traded in red. On Nifty, HCL and HDFC Bank did well.

The rupee, however, fell 24 paise to 65.65 against the United States dollar, ending its four-session-long streak of gains. The value of the Indian currency declined after the greenback made gains among banks and importers, after a drop that followed the US Federal Reserve’s decision to hike its key interest rates by 0.25%.

Shares in Asian markets on Thursday saw the best week since September 2016, as currencies traded higher after the dollar slipped. But markets saw marginal drops in Friday’s trade – China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.2% and Japan’s Nikkei dropped by 0.31%, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.31%.

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