Mumbai: India’s Congress party has named Rahul Gandhi as the vice-president giving clear indication that he would be the party’s leading prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming elections next year, reported Wall Street Journal India. The appointment of Gandhi as number two will set the stage for a likely face off with Narendra Modi, a top contender from the Bharatiya Janata Party.
On Friday, US markets ended marginally higher following upbeat results by large banks and industrial bellwethers, reported Financial Times. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4%, the S&P 500 index was up 0.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite ended flat. All eyes are on technology companies, which are scheduled to report their quarterly earnings this week.
Asian markets were trading on a cautious note on Monday morning. Japan’s Nikkie Stock Average slipped 1%, China’s Shanghai Composite was flat, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.2%, reported MarketWatch.
In India, State Bank of India may see some action after the board approved capital injection of Rs.3,004 crore through preferential allotment of shares. The funds will be used to support local and international banking operations.
Stocks that will be in focus for December quarter earnings include ITC Ltd, which will be in focus after it reported 20.6% increase in net profit to Rs.2,052 crore for the December quarter, while cutting losses in the consumer goods segment. Revenue grew 23% to Rs.7,627 crore on back of robust growth in cigarette sales, consumer goods and farm commodities.
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) will be in the limelight after it reported a better-than-expected 24% rise in net profit, at Rs.5,502 crore helped by improved refining margin. Gross refining margins were at $9.6 per barrel compared with $9.5 per bbl in the September quarter.
RIL plans to consolidate all its retail units such as Reliance Fresh, Reliance Trends, among others, under a single entity, signalling that it is not looking for a foreign partner in any of its businesses after the government opened up foreign direct investment in retail, reported Economic Times.
HDFC Bank Ltd also topped analysts’ estimates and reported a 30% jump in the September quarter net profit, at Rs.1,859 crore compared with Bloomberg estimate of Rs.1,829 crore. Loan demand was strong despite slowing economic growth and high interest rates. Net interest income rose 22% to Rs.3,799 crore.
The net profits and core business income of Indian companies that have announced results so far grew at the fastest pace in the last eight quarters between October to December, helped by a decline in input costs and employee expenses, reported Mint.
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the foreign investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd has discovered oil in Columbia. OVL’s first well on the block struck oil at two places and produced 120-300 barrels per day on testing.
The government may be able to raise Rs.9,497 crore from the sale of CDMA spectrum in the second round of auctions, which will be held during March and from one-time fee on airwaves that are held by existing operators.
Asian Paints Ltd, HDFC, NTPC Ltd, SpiceJet Ltd and Praj Industries Ltd shares may see some action as they will be reporting their December quarter earnings on Monday.
Lastly, the fresh cold weather snap in Northern India has swept in from north Pakistan. The fresh cold spell has already brought down maximum temperatures by between 4 and 7 degrees Celsius across Punjab, Haryana, and Jammu and Kashmir.