Key benchmark indices continued to trade lower and within a narrow range in afternoon trade. At 13:20 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was down 153.20 points or 0.52% at 29,495.79. The Nifty 50 index was down 39.05 points or 0.43% at 9,121. Weakness in most Asian stocks dampened sentiment on the domestic bourses. Profit booking kicked in on the domestic bourses after the recent upmove saw Nifty hitting record high on Friday, 17 March 2017.
The BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.2%. The BSE Small-Cap index was up 0.3%. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.
The market breadth, indicating the overall health of the market, was negative. On the BSE, 1,392 shares declined and 1,238 shares rose. A total of 186 shares were unchanged.
Pharma stocks bucked weak trend on defensive buying. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 0.32%), Aurobindo Pharma (up 1.14%), Cipla (up 0.3%), Lupin (up 0.79%), Wockhardt (up 0.42%), Dr Reddy's Laboratories (up 0.17%), Divi's Laboratories (up 2.32%), Granules India (up 3.5%) and Cadila Healthcare (up 1.37%) gained.
Most auto stocks declined. Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) (down 0.09%), Ashok Leyland (down 1.43%), Maruti Suzuki India (down 0.35%), TVS Motor Company (down 0.54%), Tata Motors (down 0.35%) and Hero MotoCorp (down 0.16%) declined. Eicher Motors (up 0.57%) and Bajaj Auto (up 0.31%) gained.
Marathon Nextgen Realty rose 2.56% to Rs 264 after the company announced that its board approved a proposal to buyback up to 54.37 lakh equity shares at Rs 275 per share. The announcement was made after market hours on Friday, 17 March 2017. The buyback price of Rs 275 per share, was at a premium of 6.83% to Friday, 17 March 2017's closing price of Rs 257.40.
Marathon Nextgen Realty announced that the board of directors at a meeting held on Friday, 17 March 2017, approved a proposal to buyback up to 54.37 lakh equity shares of the company amounting to Rs 149.52 crore being 19.12% of the total paid-up equity share capital, at Rs 275 per share.
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the four Goods and Services Tax (GST) related bills today, 20 March 2017, namely, the Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill), the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill), the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill) and the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill).
The above four Bills have been earlier approved by the GST Council after thorough, clause by clause, discussion over 12 meetings of the Council held in the last six months. The Government is committed to early introduction of GST, one of the biggest reforms, in the country as early as possible. GST Council has decided 1st July 2017, as the date of commencement of GST.
Overseas, most Asian stocks were trading lower with markets in Japan shut for a holiday and investors watching oilfield-related shares after a bankruptcy filing by Singapore's Ezra Holdings at the weekend. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly said on Sunday, 19 March 2017, in Germany that the European Union and Japan should soon reach an economic deal, and stressed the importance of free trade to his country.
Meanwhile, inflationary pressure in Europe's largest economy increased further in February, as prices at Germany's factory gates recorded their strongest annual rise in over five years. Germany's statistics office, Destatis, said that producer prices rose 0.2% from January and increased 3.1% on the year--the strongest year-over-year increase since December 2011.
US stocks edged lower on Friday, 17 March 2017, with investors awaiting further catalysts before jumping back into the market. In the latest economic data, industrial production was flat in February. Separately, the index of consumer sentiment rose to 97.6 in March from 96.3 in February, based on a preliminary reading by the University Michigan.
Finance ministers from twenty of the world's biggest economies held a two-day meeting, and warned against competitive devaluations and disorderly foreign exchange markets but failed to agree on keeping global trade free and open.
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