Indian equities closed higher on Friday with the benchmark Sensex closing above 31,800 level after 9 trading sessions, the index advanced 530 points in this week as the ongoing GST council meeting brought back the optimism among investors. The broader Nifty 50 too fared in the closing bell, settling beyond 9,950 mark. BSE Sensex added 222 points to finish at 31,814.22 points while NSE Nifty rose as much as 91 points to end at 9,979.7 points. Tata Steel shares were the lead gainer on Sensex after the company posted a 23% jump in steel sale in H1 FY 2018. The company said its sales grew by 23.27% to 5.88 MT (provisionally) in the six-month duration of current fiscal versus 4.77 MT in the same period last year. The stock of Tata Steel advanced as much as 5.1% to the day’s high of Rs 693.9 before closing 4.73% higher at Rs 691.4 on BSE. Till the closing trade, more than 1 crore shares exchanged hands on both BSE and NSE.
The 22nd GST Council meeting, which is underway in New Delhi today, is expected to bring widespread cheer to various stakeholders in the economy: consumers, small business owners, SMEs and exporters, to name a few. The council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is expected to heed the call by small businesses to lower the compliance burden by allowing them to file returns only once in a quarter instead of once every month as is required at present. Further, for the exporters reeling under tight liquidity conditions due to tax refund claims aggregating to Rs 65,000 crore stuck with the government, the GST Council may take immediate steps to speed up the refunds or relax the working capital requirements, in addition to introducing e-wallet facility as well.
Other shares which ended in green are Sun Pharma, NTPC, SBI, HUL, Infosys, ONGC, Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Industries with gains up to 3.2% while Hero MotoCorp declined by 1.42%. The stocks of heavyweight companies such as Reliance Industries, Infosys, NTPC, Tata Steel, L&T, SBI, Sun Pharma, HUL, and TCS contributed the most to the index gains. Collectively these nine stocks alone added about 194 points out of the 222-point gain in Sensex.
Meanwhile, among the regional markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.3% to 20,690.71 points and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.2% to 28,432.56 points. Australia’s S&P ASX/200 surged 1% to 5,710.7 points. Asian stocks rose after the Standard & Poor’s 500 index logged an eighth straight day of gains. But trading in the region was subdued with markets in Shanghai and South Korea still closed for holidays, Associated Press reported.