Stock markets will remain open on February 28, the day the Union Budget 2015-16 will be presented, and a special trading session will be conducted during normal hours from 9am to 3:30pm, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Although the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the nodal agency for deciding on the matter, did not issue any formal statement, a senior official with the regulator confirmed that the exchanges have been asked to remain open.
Senior officials from the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also confirmed the same.
Earlier while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, Sebi chairman UK Sinha had said the possibility of stock markets functioning on February 28 was being evaluated. “Consultations are going on. We will be guided by past precedents.”
This is the first time in many years that the Union Budget is being presented on a Saturday. Stock markets are generally closed on Saturdays and Sundays, except in special cases.
Several members of the broking community had requested Sebi to hold a special trading session on February 28. There is no previous instance of markets remaining closed on the day of the budget. Brokers had said if a special trading session is not held, the markets will get to react to budget proposals 48 hours later. “This can lead to losses for investors who get their bets wrong,” a broker said, adding, “By the time markets open on Monday, the full impact of the budget would have been discounted in the opening prices, depriving them the chance to cut their losses.”