Equity indices flat ahead of GST Council meet, media stocks dive

Mumbai: Equity benchmark indices were largely flat during early hours on Friday as investors awaited the outcome of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s crucial meeting on whether or not to cut rates for automobile and tourism sectors.

At 10:15 am, the BSE S&P Sensex was up by 63 points at 36,157 while the Nifty 50 was lower by 4 points to 10,701.

At the National Stock Exchange, sectoral indices were mixed with Nifty media down by nearly 5 percent and realty by over 1 percent. Nifty IT, metal, pharma, and PSU banks were also in the red but auto, financial service and private bank were in the green.

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Among stocks, Zee Entertainment dropped by 9.6 percent to Rs 279.15 per share following reports that its promoter has been restricted from selling its stake in the media company.

Zee’s subsidiary Dish TV too lost by 12.4 percent while Network18 Media and Investments slipped by 2.5 percent and TV Today Network by 2.1 percent. Among the other losers were NTPC, Coal India, Power Grid, ONGC, and IndianOil Corporation.

However, those which showed some gains were private lenders Yes Bank, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank along with auto majors Hero MotoCorp, Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki.

Meanwhile, Asian share prices inched higher on Friday as economic stimulus around the world eased fears over slowing growth. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose by 0.15 percent while Japan’s Nikkei rose by 0.46 percent.

READ:  BSE Sensex retraces January levels

Monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve this week and by the European Central Bank last week underpinned investor sentiment. Central banks have been loosening policy to counter the risks of low inflation and recession. Easier monetary policy generally supports equities.

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