Indian share benchmark Sensex ended almost flat after touching a peak on Friday after the Centre and states agreed to keep goods and services tax (GST) rates lower for most goods including daily consumer items, metals and manufacturing goods.
The Sensex hit an all-time intra-day high of at 30,712.35 while Nifty regained 9,500-level. But the Sensex closed up just 30 points, or 0.1%, at 30,465, the Nifty was down slightly at 9,427.90.
On Friday, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the GST Council finalised the tax rates for various services including transport, entertainment and financial services ranging between 5% and 28%, while exempting education and health.
At the Thursday’s meeting, the Council decided to exempt foodgrain and milk, and taxing sugar and other essential items at 5%, in a bid to keep a lid on inflation.
Lowering the tax burden through the rollout of the country’s biggest tax reform by eliminating the present cascading effect of taxes such as VAT, excise, service tax, octroi and mandi taxes, will help companies keep prices low while improving profit margins and stock valuation.
The BSE fast moving consumer goods index gained as much as 4% as Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Colgate Palmolive, Jayshree Tea, Emami, Britannia, Marico and Tata Coffee were up over 3-5% each.
Investors also regained some confidence after Wall Street closed in the green and a mixed trend in Asian markets.
Coal India rallied 2.6%, followed by NTPC and PowerGrid as the GST rate on the hydrocarbon was pegged at 5% as compared with the current tax burden 11.69%, which will make electricity cheaper.
India’s largest lender SBI rose 2% ahead of its earnings which showed fourth-quarter net profit more than doubled to Rs 2,815 crore in line with expectations, while its bad loan ratio narrowed from the previous quarter.
State-run HUDCO made a smart debut at bourses today, surging over 22% against the issue price of Rs 60.
In the Asian region, Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.15%. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.3% higher on Thursday.