The News International Team
9:50 am ECB action: The European Central Bank will decide early next year whether to take further action to revive the euro zone’s economy, its president said on Thursday, signalling that he would not allow opposition from Germany or anyone else to stop it. In his clearest language yet, Mario Draghi underlined the central bank’s commitment to supporting the ailing economy of the 18-country bloc, and argued the case for printing fresh money to buy assets such as state bonds.
But his remarks, which came within minutes of a meeting where he clashed with German officials over his ambitions, set him on a possible collision course with the euro zone’s biggest and single most important country. Painting a gloomy picture of the euro bloc’s prospects, Draghi announced that the ECB expected economic output to be lower in the coming years than it had predicted three months ago, while a slump in the price of oil would further weaken inflation.
9:30 am Buzzing: Shares of Steel Authority of India (SAIL) slipped 2 percent intraday as its offer-for-sale (OFS) kicks off. The government, which will divest its 5 percent stake in SAIL has fixed the floor price at Rs 83 per share. The government, which has 80 percent stake in SAIL, plans to sell up to 206.5 million shares through an auction on the stock exchanges. Through this, the government hopes to rake in Rs 1500-1700 crore.
“Government expects to garner Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 1,700 crore from SAIL disinvestment. Floor price will be Rs 83 and retail investors will get a discount of 5 percent,” an official said after a meeting on SAIL disinvestment in the finance ministry.
The SAIL offering would be the first PSU share sale under the new government, which targets to raise Rs 43,425 crore through share sales in various state-owned firms during the ongoing fiscal. Retail investors would get a discount of 5 percent to the bid price in the SAIL offering.
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The market has opened on a flat note. The Sensex is at 28606, up 41.80 points while the Nifty is at 8571, up 6.9 points. About 689 shares have advanced, 282 shares declined, and 41 shares are unchanged.
Bharti, Sesa Sterlite, GAIL, ITC and Coal India are top gainers in the Sensex while losers include Tata Motors, Cipla, SBI, HUL and HDFC Bank. Mangalore Chemicals is up 11 percent as Adventz Group makes fresh open offer for the company.
The Indian rupee rose in the early trade. It has opened higher by 10 paise at 61.83 per dollar against the previous close of 61.93.The euro trades higher against most of its peers after ECB Chief Draghi disappoints. But the currency could struggle to extend gains if US employment data due later in the day re-energize dollar bulls.
Himanshu Arora of Religare said, “Rupee is expected to trade slightly higher today amid surging Indian equities and consistent inflows into the economy. The Rs 14,000 crore bond auction today will support rupee. Range for the day is seen between 61.77-62.08/dollar.”
Stocks in the US closed marginally lower with benchmarks not far from record highs, as investors considered reports that the European Central Bank would consider a broad-based package of quantitative easing in January and awaited the monthly jobs report.
Most Asian markets are up except the Nikkei. In Europe, the European Central Bank has voted to leave interest rates at their current record lows across the eurozone. That means the headline rate is pegged at just 0.05 percent while banks are charged deposit rate of negative 0.2 percent to leave money with the ECB overnight. The rates on its marginal lending facility has also been left unchanged at 0.3 percent.
In a speech that followed the statement Mario Draghi hinted that further stimulus measures including QE that involves the purchase of sovereign bonds, might be on the agenda in early 2015. Listen in to those comments. Markets closed lower after ECB president Mario Draghi’s regular press conference revealed that any further monetary easing measures would not be instituted until next year.
In commodities, crude prices fall as the debate for a sustainable price level continued after Saudi Arabia announced deep discounts for the crude it sells to Asian and US buyers in an apparent attempt to defend its market share.
From precious metals space – gold prices hover around USD 1200 an ounce as the euro rebounded against the dollar.