Let’s begin with the share market – Indian benchmark indices ended the session mildly in the green after a day of flat trade on weekly F&O expiry amid weak global cues. Sensex closed over 180 points higher at 62,570, while Nifty settled at 18,613, up by 0.28%. The broader markets ended marginally higher as well, with Nifty Midcap 100 gaining 0.6%. Sectorally, Nifty Pharma was the biggest laggard of the day, while Nifty PSU Bank soared 3.55%. Larsen and Toubro, Eicher Motors, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank and Hindalco were among major gainers on the Nifty, while Sun Pharma, Power Grid, Divis Lab, HDFC Life and TCS were the laggards.
Moving on – According to industry players, online skill-based gaming industry is fine with the government raising GST on online gaming from 18 per cent to 28 per cent but it should be levied only on gross gaming revenue and not on contest entry amount as could hit the USD 2.2-billion sector. There are reports that upcoming GST Council may consider imposing a 28 per cent Goods and Services Tax on the total amount rather than the current practice of 18 per cent on GGR. GGR is the fee charged by an online skill gaming platform as service charges to facilitate the participation of players in a game on their platform while Contest Entry Amount is the entire amount deposited by the player to enter a contest on the platform.
In another development – European shares fell for the fifth straight session on Thursday, bogged down by weakness in telecom and real estate sectors amid growing fears of an impending recession. The region-wide STOXX 600 was down 0.2%, with investors jittery ahead of a slew of interest rate decisions from major central banks, including from the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank next week. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is also due to speak at an event later in the day. Among STOXX 600 sectors, telecom led declines, falling 1.1%, followed by real estate, which quickly reversed early gains to slide 0.8%. However, China’s loosening of its strict COVID-19 curbs boosted sectors such as energy and miners, which rose 0.8% and 0.7% respectively, tracking oil and metal prices higher.
Meanwhile – In another attempt to manage inflation, the Reserve Bank of India, for the fifth consecutive time, has announced a hike in the repo rate by 35 basis points. The hike in the repo rate means that the cost of funds for banks will increase and that the banks will have to pay more for the money that they borrow from the central bank. This also indicates that eventually the banks will pass on the additional cost to the borrowers, which will lead to a significant rise in the equated monthly installments of the loans. While the existing borrowers will be impacted with the increase in the interest rates, the RBI decision might also have an impact on the new borrowers, who might be a little reluctant towards availing a loan during this period. To reduce their loan tenors and EMIs, borrowers might now prioritize pre-payments to control their loan interest.
In other developments – Vidyut, an EV financing and vehicle lifecycle management startup has raised $4 million in a mix of equity and debt in a round co-led by Force Ventures, Veda VC, and a clutch of strategic angels in the clean energy space. Some of the most prominent names in the startup ecosystem participated in the round: Sujeet Kumar of Udaan, Sahil Barua of Delhivery, Kunal Shah of CRED, Sriharsha Majety of Swiggy, and Rajat Verma. Founded in 2021, Vidyut makes commercial EV ownership simple through its plans. Using battery health data and its proprietary underwriting model, VT extracts a high residual value for EVs, helping customers get an interest rate of as low as 7 percent. This is almost on par with the ROI offered by PSU banks in this sector for conventional vehicles with an internal combustion engine.
Lastly – The rupee consolidated in a narrow range and settled 3 paise higher at 82.44 against the US dollar on Thursday, supported by positive domestic equities. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local unit opened at 82.34 and touched an intra-day high of 82.26 and a low of 82.47 against the greenback. It finally settled at 82.44, registering a rise of 3 paise over its previous close of 82.47. Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, advanced 0.29 per cent to 105.40. Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.63 per cent to USD 77.66 per barrel.