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Financialisation of savings growing, especially after Covid pandemic: AMFI chief

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New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) The retail investor has realised that SIP is the financial version of ‘fill-it, shut-it, forget-it’, the popular tagline from an ’80s motorcycle advertisement, Venkat Chalasani, Chief Executive of the Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI), told IANS.

“You don’t have to remember to invest every time, as once you start an SIP, you can keep it on for how many months/years you wish to. Investing and withdrawal are both easy,” he said during an interview.

On the growing trend of SIPs, the AMFI chief said that the Indian investors have realised that if they want to grow with the progressing economy, create wealth over the long term, and overcome inflation, they must take part in the capital markets.

“Since not everyone has the resources of time, money, and knowledge to invest directly in the markets, the next best available option is mutual funds. Mutual funds, via the SIP route, offer equity investing at amounts as low as Rs 500 per month,” he said.

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On the projection for growth in MFs’ AUM, the AMFI chief said, “In 2019, we had released a whitepaper with BCG titled ‘Unlocking the Rs 100 Trillion Opportunity’, wherein we outlined the industry’s aim of Rs 100 trillion AUM and 10 crore unique investors over the next few years.

“The industry has reached mid-way, with over Rs 54 trillion AUM and over 4.30 crore unique investors, and we are confident that we will hit the Rs 100 trillion AUM and 10 crore unique investors mark sooner than expected.”

Chalasani also said that financialisation of savings is growing, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During the pandemic, people who wanted to liquidate their physical assets realised that it was not easy. Either there were no buyers, or they had to sell at a disproportionate discount to liquidate, especially in real-estate. Liquidity in physical assets was a big challenge,” he said.

The continuous investor awareness campaigns being run by AMFI, SEBI, mutual funds, and even the RBI ensured that, over the years, people realised the importance of financialisation of savings and how different asset classes can help them achieve their various financial goals, he said.

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On the recent advisory on small and midcap funds, the AMFI chief said the industry has been proactively taking precautions, wherever required, to ensure that the interests of all the investors are safeguarded.

“The industry is aligned with the regulator SEBI and is working in partnership with the regulator to ensure that the investors make an informed decision when investing in mutual funds,” he added.

The Indian mutual funds industry is among the most transparent ones worldwide with many global first disclosures, regulations, and investment options available for the smallest of investors, he said.

On the participation of small towns and cities in the growing equity cult, Chalasani said participation from B30 cities (industry parlance for Beyond the Top 30 cities in terms of mutual fund AUM) has indeed grown over the years.

As many as 25 per cent of the individual investor assets of the mutual fund industry came from B30 locations in February 2024. B30 Investors had a 45 per cent share in the number of folios in February 2024 as against 41 per cent in March 2020.

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“The proliferation of digital platforms and mobile apps has made investing in mutual funds more accessible to people in small towns and cities. Investors can now easily research, compare, and invest in mutual funds through online platforms, eliminating the need for physical presence in larger cities,” he said.

“SIPs have gained popularity among investors in small towns and cities due to their affordability and convenience. Investing small amounts regularly over time has become a preferred investment strategy for many, allowing them to participate in the equity market with minimal risk. Just last month, a fintech firm opened 1 million new SIP accounts alone,” he added.

(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.s@ians.in)

–IANS

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Markets look tired but expiry could change things

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New Delhi: Markets were open for four trading sessions in the previous week as there was a trading holiday on Monday. They were a little volatile but managed to close with small gains. There has been sector rotation with banking being at the forefront on Wednesday led by sugar stocks and then fertilizer and finally railway stocks.

What could be a cause of concern going forward is the volumes in the fertilizer stocks when they gained sharply. BSESENSEX gained on three of the four sessions while it lost on one. NIFTY on the other hand gained on two and lost on two sessions.

At the end of the four-day week, BSESENSEX gained 217.13 points or 0.28 per cent to close at 77,209.90 points while NIFTY gained 35.50 points or 0.15 per cent to close at 23,501.10 points.

The broader markets saw BSE100 and BSE200 lose 0.04 per cent and 0.14 per cent respectively while BSE500 gained 0.04 per cent. BSEMIDCAP was down 0.20 per cent while BSESMALLCAP was up 1.44 per cent.

The pace at which the BSESMALLCAP and BSEMIDCAP indices have risen is a cause for concern and yet another fund house has raised valuation concerns in these segments.

The Indian Rupee gained 3 paisa or 0.04 per cent to close at Rs 83.53 to the US Dollar. Dow Jones gained on all four trading sessions of the week and gained 561.17 points or 1.45 per cent to close at 39,150.33 points.

In primary market news, we had one listing, and two issues opening and closing for subscriptions while yet another issue had opened and would close in the following week. Two new issues would open and close in the coming week.

The issue from Le Travenues Technology Limited who had issued shares at Rs 93 debuted on Tuesday, the 18th of June. Shares closed day one at Rs 161.99, a gain of Rs 68.99 or 74.88 per cent.

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By the weekend the share gained further and closed at Rs 169.18, a gain of Rs 76.18 or 81.91 per cent.

The issue from Dee Development Engineers Limited who had issued shares in a price band of Rs 193-203 received an excellent response and was oversubscribed 102.32 times. The QIB portion was subscribed 206.54 times, the HNI portion subscribed 148.99 times and the Retail portion subscribed 23.21 times. There were 20.61 lakh applications in all.

The second issue was from Akme Fintrade (India) Limited which had issued shares in a price band of Rs 114-120. The issue was subscribed overall 54.24 times with QIB portion subscribed 28.12 times, HNI portion subscribed 129.79 times and Retail portion subscribed 44.14 times. There were 12.07 lakh applications. The QIB portion response was comparatively muted if one looks at other issues and even the HNI response in this issue. This was probably because the company has higher NPA’s and is in a competitive landscape environment in the NBFC space.

The third issue was from Stanley Lifestyles Limited which opened on Friday and would close on Tuesday the issue was subscribed 1.44 times on the first day. The price band is Rs 351-369.

The week ahead sees the issue from Allied Blenders and Distillers Limited open on Tuesday the 25th of June and close on Thursday the 27th of June. The issue consists of a fresh issue of Rs 1,000 crores and an offer for sale of Rs 500 crores in a price band of Rs 267-281.

The company has a distillery in the state of Telangana and 32 bottling plants across the country. Its brand ‘OFFICERS CHOICE’ has been the world’s largest-selling whisky by volume during 2016-2019.

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The company has been under stress and is raising money through the IPO to retire debt to the extent of Rs 720 crores. Further, prior to going public, the promoter has rationalised the board and separated ownership and management. The new board is entirely professional and would entail a saving of rupees 93 crores in terms of compensation to promoters going forward.

The repayment of interest and this compensation would entail a total saving of over rupees 200 crores in the financial year ending March 25. This would change the financials of the company which has just about been positive.

Considering the infrastructure, prospects post rationalisation and improvement in margins, it appears an investment which is warranted considering rising demand, socio-economic acceptance of liquor and growing aspirations.

The second issue is from Vraj Iron and Steel Limited which is tapping the capital markets with its fresh issue of rupees 171 crores in a price band of Rs 195-207. The issue opens on Wednesday the 26th of June and closes on Friday the 28th of June. The company manufactures M S Billets and TMT bars and uses the sponge iron route for doing so.

It is located in Chhattisgarh and has its plants at Raipur and Bilaspur. To better use the flue gas, it has a waste recovery plant and generates power which helps in the reduction of cost. The object of the issue is to raise money for the expansion of sponge iron capacity and MS Billets at Bilaspur and repayment of a loan taken from the bank for funding this project in the interim.

The issue is attractively priced and offers scope for appreciation in the medium term. There could also be listing gains looking at the market mood.

The week ahead sees June futures expire on Thursday. The current value of the June series at 23,501.10 points is 1,012.45 points or 4.50 per cent higher than the start of the series. Bulls are very well placed currently and have the upper hand considering we have a mere four days to expiry.

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Even though markets seem to be tiring out and are finding it difficult to hold on, the momentum and the fact that it’s a mere four days to go, would ensure that they win the series. They may at best concede some ground. One needs to remember that FPIs have been covering their shorts this series after the results of the general elections were announced on 4th June.

Markets seem to be trading in a broad range where 23,650-23,700 is a top at the moment on NIFTY and 22,800-850 a bottom. These levels seem difficult to be taken out currently and it should be a tough time to break out. The biggest driver in the immediate future is the budget which could happen during the period 18th-23rd July. This event has the potential to make the markets break in either direction.

The strategy for the week ahead would be to remain cautious with expiry happening. The bears led by FPIs will try to bounce back to the extent possible. Further there would be little or no news flow as well. Sector rotation is already happening and new stock ideas are difficult to come by. In such a scenario its advisable to play safe and take some money off the table. Keep the money aside for a day when new ideas emerge.

In conclusion, trade cautiously in a week where volatility is likely to rise on account of expiry as the bulls and bears intensify their action.

(Arun Kejriwal is the founder of Kejriwal Research and Investment Services. The views expressed are personal)

–IANS

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Samsung, Hyundai Motor lead R&D spending despite lower earnings

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Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Research and development (R&D) expenditures by major South Korean companies hit an all-time high last year despite their falling sales amid an economic slowdown, data showed on Sunday.

The country’s top 1,000 companies made investments of 72.5 trillion won ($52.12 billion) combined in 2023, up 8.7 per cent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology.

It was the largest ever amount, it showed, reports Yonhap news agency.

The increase came despite their sales falling 2.8 per cent on-year to 1,642 trillion won, and the proportion of corporate R&D investment out of sales rose 4.4 per cent in 2023 from the previous year’s 3.9 per cent.

Tech giant Samsung invested the largest amount in R&D last year with 23.9 trillion won, which was up 14.4 per cent on-year and accounted for 32.9 per cent of the total investment by South Korean companies.

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Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor came next with 3.7 trillion won, which marked 15.6 per cent on-year growth. R&D spending by chip behemoth SK hynix fell 10 per cent year-on-year to 3.6 trillion won.

Home appliances giant LG Electronics increased its R&D expenditure by 10 per cent to 3.3 trillion won, and Samsung Display Co. spent 2.8 trillion won on R&D last year, up 12 per cent on-year.

Kia Corp. was the fifth-largest R&D investor last year with 2.2 trillion won, the data showed.

Of the 1,000 companies, 171 were large conglomerates and 491 were second-tier mid-sized companies. The remaining 338 firms were mid- and small-sized companies.

“The number of mid-sized companies that were among the top 1,000 major R&D investing companies has risen over the past years. The government will extend support for companies to increase investment for innovation,” a ministry official said.

–IANS

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Market Outlook: Monsoon, Budget & US GDP data key factors to watch this week

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Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) The outlook of the Indian markets will be guided by monsoon updates, any upcoming budget-related announcements, marco cues, and global factors like US GDP data this week.

Last week, Sensex and Nifty both posted minor gains of 0.20 per cent but it was the third consecutive week when benchmark indices closed with the gains.

On the Domestic front, key factors to watch will be the progress of the monsoon, FII, and DII fund flows, and crude oil prices.

On the global front, economic data like the US Q1 GDP data and the US core PCE price index will be released on June 27 and 28 respectively. The movement of the dollar index and US bond yields will be crucial.

Pravesh Gour, Senior Technical Analyst at Swastika Investmart said that this week, sector-specific movements are anticipated amid budget-related buzz.

“Key factors to watch include the progress of the monsoon, which will be closely monitored for its near-term impact on investor confidence,” he said.

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Arvinder Singh Nanda, Senior Vice President, of Master Capital Services said that in the Nifty index, consolidation persisted for last week, culminating in a weekly close with a minor gain of 35.50 points.

“Daily chart analysis indicates that Nifty has been consolidating within a broad range of 23,400 to 23,700, and this trend is likely to continue,” he said.

Pravesh Gour added that on the derivatives front, the long exposure of FIIs in index futures stands at 57 per cent, whereas the put-call ratio is sitting at the 1.04 mark, both of which point to a bullish tilt in the market.

–IANS

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Over $122 million embezzled by financial firms' workers over past 6 years in South Korea: Data

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Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Nearly 170 employees of banks and other financial firms embezzled around 180 billion won combined ($122.21 million) over the past six years in South Korea, but less than 10 per cent has been retrieved, data showed on Sunday.

According to the data from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), a total of 168 officials from the country’s financial firms pocketed 178.92 billion won combined from 2018-2023.

The amount of stolen money came to 5.67 billion won in 2018 but surged to 15.69 billion won in 2021 and 82.76 billion won in 2022 before falling slightly to 64.26 billion won last year, reports Yonhap news agency.

But a mere 9.8 per cent, or 17.45 billion won of the total, has been redeemed, indicating that their embezzlement has caused damage to corporate profits and ultimately to customers.

In 2022, the FSS announced a set of measures to strengthen internal control, but critics have said that they are far from enough to prevent such cases.

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This year alone, 11 officials have been caught for pocketing 1.51 billion won combined, and 6.7 per cent of the amount has been retrieved, the data showed.

There have been renewed calls for stronger rules and supervision after a Woori Bank employee in his 30s was arrested earlier this month on charges of embezzling around 10 billion won by forging corporate documents.

The FSS is considering the introduction of a new law that holds CEOs of financial firms accountable for such embezzlement and similar crimes by their officials.

–IANS

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GST Council waives interest, penalty on notices to taxpayers under Section 73

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) As part of several taxpayer-friendly decisions, the GST Council on Saturday recommended the waiving of interest and penalty in cases of tax demand notices that have been sent under Section 73, of the GST Act, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said after the meeting.

“In the case of demand notices issued for 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, interest and penalty will be waived off, if tax is paid by March 31, 2025,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The GST Council has also recommended that the time limit to avail input tax credit in respect of any invoice or debit note under section 16(4) of the CGST Act filed up to the 30-11-2021 for the financial years 17-18, 18-19, 19-20 and 20-21 may be deemed to be 2011 to 2021.

So for the same requisite amendment retrospectively with effect from 1 July 2017, the Finance Minister said.

In order to reduce tax litigation which is expected to benefit both taxpayers and the government, the GST council recommended a minimum limit for filing appeals of Rs 20 lakh for the appellate tribunal, Rs 1 crore for the High Court and Rs 2 crore for the Supreme Court.

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In another taxpayer-friendly measure, the GST Council has decided to introduce Form GSTR 1A to enable taxpayers to add information they have missed when filing Form GSTR 1.

The new form can also be used to correct mistakes that they have made while filing their particulars in form GSTR 1.

–IANS

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