Asian markets trade mixed

Asian markets were trading mostly mixed on Monday morning after aluminium-maker Alcoa reported disappointing earnings. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was up 1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.3%, but China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.4%.

US markets turn cautious ahead of earnings season

Overnight, Wall Street indices closed in the red ahead of the earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite declined around 0.3% each. Aluminium company Alcoa unofficially kicked off US earnings season after closing bell, declining 3% in after-hour trade as it revealed a drop in sales and profits during the March quarter, read more.

Govt will focus on GST bill, bankruptcy code

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said India is in the midst of the most important phase of reforms since 1991. The government will focus on the goods and services tax (GST) legislation, the bankruptcy code and amendments to the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (Sarfaesi) in the second half of budget session, read more.

Tata Steel sells one of its UK steel plants to Greybull Capital

Tata Steel Ltd shares will be in focus as it has started disentangling itself from Corus Group Plc, agreeing to sell one of its main steel works to investment firm Greybull Capital Llp. Under the agreement, Greybull Capital will pay a nominal £1 for the entire long products business and take over its assets and liabilities. This will save around 4,800 jobs, read more.

Bankers likely to refinance 18,000 crore loans of Essar Power

Shares of Essar Group companies will be in limelight as bankers are likely to refinance 18,000 crore worth of loans of Essar Power in the largest such exercise in 2016. Essar’s loans, borne principally by its subsidiaries, will be refinanced under the 5/25 scheme. The company had sought easier terms of repayment for some of its power plants so it matches the lifecycle of the project, reports Economic Times.

Jewellers call off strike

Shares of jewellery manufacturers will be in focus after more than half of the jewellers opened shops on Monday after keeping them closed for nearly six weeks in protest over the reintroduction of excise duty on gold jewellery, read more.

Monsoon likely to be above average

India’s annual monsoon rains are likely to be above normal at 105% of the long-period average, according to Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd forecast. The error margin for the forecast is 4%. After back-to-back monsoon failures, farmer distress is at a peak in India, where the majority of fields lack irrigation facilities, read more.

India moves a step closer to cashless economy

Lastly, India moved a step closer towards becoming a cashless economy with the launch of National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI’s) unified payment interface (UPI) on Monday. The endeavour by NPCI is expected to make e-commerce transactions easier and facilitate micropayments and person-to-person payments.

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