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Delay in regulatory leeway likely to prove costly affair for banks. The sharp rally in banking stocks, which rose 10-12 per cent, in the first half of Thursday’s trade did not sustain fully as hopes of relief or bailout measures for the sector from the finance minister did not materialise.

Delay in regulatory leeway likely to prove costly affair for banks

The minister though has kept the option open for more relief measures as and when needed, which suggests that some relaxation (from the Reserve Bank of India or RBI) on asset classification norms (critical for classification of non-performing assets or NPA) may come through for the sector. While hopes of some relief have been around for over 10 days, any further delay could prove costly for banks. Analysts are already downgrading their earnings expectations, with private banks likely to see a sharper cut.

In fact, an across-the-board earnings downgrade is also the first of its kind for private banks. RBI's bazooka to tackle coronavirus impact gets muted response from markets. Even as experts termed the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) announcements as ‘bazooka’, ‘bold’, ‘unprecedented’, and ‘a complete package’, the equity markets’ response was, at best, muted.

RBI's bazooka to tackle coronavirus impact gets muted response from markets

The Sensex and Nifty gave up most gains seen in early trade on Friday. After scaling a high of 9,039 intra-day, the Nifty closed just 0.22 per cent higher at 8,660.25 against Thursday’s close of 8,641.45. The Sensex ended with a loss of 0.44 per cent. The Nifty Bank index, too, fell nearly 7 per cent from its intra-day high of 21,462.4 to close at 19,969 — a gain of 1.8 per cent over the previous day. So, what calls for the Street’s dull reaction? However, what’s important is that the market is still worried about the impact of COVID-19 on growth and corporate earnings, as well as the asset quality and financials of banks and NBFCs. These worries also stem from the lack of clarity on future growth. The RBI’s measures are in addition to the government’s package of Rs 1.7 trillion, announced on Thursday. Changes to Finance Bill may revive REIT, InvIT market, attract capital. The amendments to the Finance Bill 2020 earlier this week, which exempt dividend earned by unitholders of real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InVITs) from tax, are set to revive the market for these instruments.

Changes to Finance Bill may revive REIT, InvIT market, attract capital

According to the Budget announcement, unitholders had to pay tax on dividend income distributed by REITs/InvITs. Government needs to recapitalise banks. In my opinion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has done more than anybody expected.

Government needs to recapitalise banks

So far as EMIs are concerned, you are stopping the clock on March 31. Covid-19: India prepares for massive screening effort after April 14. India, which is under the largest lockdown in the world, is readying to undertake a massive testing programme to identify COVID-19-positive cases after the 21-day period ends in a move that public health experts have been calling for.

Covid-19: India prepares for massive screening effort after April 14

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sought quotations earlier this week from suppliers for a million antibody kits (for screening through blood tests) and also 700,000 RNA extraction kits (the swab-based test for confirming COVID-19). As on Friday, a total of 157 laboratories were gearing up for testing — of these around 121 are government labs (109 are functioning and 12 are being operationalised) and 36 are private labs.

“India would need screenings on an extensive scale after the 21-day lockdown period is over. The incubation period is about 15 days and the virus manifests by then. So assuming everyone stays put at home, the chances are they would only infect their immediate family members. ONGC, Oil India stare at steep earnings cut as crude price crashes. Domestic oil majors- ONGC and Oil India- maybe trading 15-20 per cent higher, compared to their 52-week lows seen last month, but the challenges regarding their earnings persist and investors need to be cautious.

ONGC, Oil India stare at steep earnings cut as crude price crashes

With crude oil prices crashing, the profitability of the two companies is expected to be severely hit. Being a play on crude oil prices and with Brent crude trading below $30 a barrel, ONGC and Oil India may not be in a position to recover their cost of production. Nilesh Ghughe, analyst at HDFC Securities, estimates including expenses for maintaining the production level (capex), ONGC’s cost of production will be close to $31 a barrel; for Oil India, it will be $25-26 a barrel. Thus, if oil prices remain at the current levels, the companies may even end up posting a loss at the pre-tax level. Brent crude prices, which had dipped below $25 a barrel, have seen some rebound after the stimulus package by the US lifted sentiment on demand. Power discoms get relief of deferred payments, round-the-clock power supply. Power distribution companies (discoms) have been allowed to defer payments to power generators (gencos) and transmission companies (transcos) in the wake of delayed payments by electricity consumers.

Power discoms get relief of deferred payments, round-the-clock power supply

The power ministry has asked the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to provide a three-month moratorium to discoms on payment to gencos and transcos. Uniomn Power Minister R K Singh requested state governments to issue similar directions to state electricity regulatory commissions, according to a ministry statement. The ministry also directed all the central power gencos and transcos to continue supply/transmission of electricity even to the discoms which had large outstanding dues. "During the present emergency, there will be no curtailment of supply to any discom," the ministry said in its public statement. ALSO READ: Post coronavirus lockdown, industrial demand for power plummets by 30% World coronavirus dispatch: UK PM tests positive and US overtakes China. With more 85,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19), the US has now overtaken China.

World coronavirus dispatch: UK PM tests positive and US overtakes China

More than 1,200 people have died in the country, with 385 alone in New York, one of the most important cities in the world. All this while the US government readies a $2-trillion economic stabilisation plan. But first, let’s look at the global statistics: Total Confirmed Cases: 566,269 Total Deaths: 24,423. Coronavirus LIVE: India cases rise to 873; Maharashtra total at 210. Coronavirus impact: Brent crude dives over 7% to lowest since 2003. Oil prices slumped anew on Friday with Brent North Sea crude plumbing a 17-year low owing to massive oversupply as the coronavirus crisis paralyses global demand.

Coronavirus impact: Brent crude dives over 7% to lowest since 2003

Around 1435 GMT, Brent for May delivery was down 7.33 percent from Thursday, at USD 24.41 a barrel. War on Covid-19: UP reopens mask, hand sanitiser units in Noida, Ghaziabad. Amid the industrial and commercial lockdown to control the spread of pandemic coronavirus, the Uttar Pradesh government has started the process of reopening private sector mask and hand sanitiser making units in the Noida and Ghaziabad region, which had to close shop following the lockdown order.

War on Covid-19: UP reopens mask, hand sanitiser units in Noida, Ghaziabad

Since the demand for these medical products has shot up, causing panic buying and acute shortage in the market, the state is taking all steps to augment production and supply. “The process of restarting these units is on and several of these plants have already started to function. We are also sorting out their labour issues by issuing passes and advising the factory management to arrange for their stay inside the same premises for the time being,” UP micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) principal secretary Navneet Sehgal told Business Standard here today. These sugar mills include all the major private sugar millers, including Balrampur Chini, Birla, Dalmia, Dhampur, Uttarm.

Govt working on plan to transport migrant workers unable to return home. The government is working on a plan to help transport migrant workers, who are unable to return to their villages due to the countrywide lockdown, go back home. According to a plan in the works, the Centre may issue an advisory to the states to screen the migrant workers and open up road transportation lines for them. The government has been drawing flak in the past few days for not providing transportation and other facilities to migrant workers who want to head back home, fearing for their health as the Covid-19 (coronavirus) spreads in cities. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown from Wednesday to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

This has resulted in a ban on inter-state travel across the country through rail, planes or buses. A bit late, but the Reserve Bank has managed to surprise the market. At 4.4 per cent, the Reserve Bank of India’s policy rate is now at its historic low. Ditto for the commercial banks’ cash reserve ratio (CRR) or the portion of deposits that they need to keep with the central bank – 3 per cent. To Reserve of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das’s credit, he has managed to surprise the market even though he was a bit late in joining the league of global central banks in monetary easing.

Covid-19 relief: RBI move to allow banks in NDF may stem volatility. As part of the regulatory package for dealing with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic on Indian financial markets, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced today that “the time is apposite to remove the segmentation between the onshore and offshore markets” and accordingly it has been decided to permit banks in India which operate International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) banking units or IBUs, to participate in the non-deliverable forwards (NDF) market from June 1, 2020 through their branches in India, foreign branches or through their IBUs.

The provocation for this move is no doubt the recent large capital outflows from the markets that caused huge volatility in the forex markets – offshore NDF and onshore rupee. The volatility, widened spreads and drop in liquidity were more pronounced in the NDF markets and spilt over to the local forex market. Coronavirus relief: SBI takes cue from RBI; cuts lending rates by 75 bps. India's largest lender, State Bank of India, on Friday reduced its lending and deposit rates after the Reserve Bank of India significantly reduced the repo rate earlier in the day to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. SIB reduced its lending rates by 75 basis points, passing on the entire repo rate cut of by the RBI. Consequently, the lender has also reduced interest rates on retail and bulk deposits by between 20 to 100 basis points across various tenors.

SC nod to 10-day sale of 10% of BS-IV unsold inventory post lockdown. In a relief to automobile dealers, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the sale of BS IV compliant vehicles for 10 days, except in Delhi-NCR, after the ongoing countrywide lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic is lifted. The apex court, which had earlier fixed the deadline of March 31, 2020 for sale of BS IV compliant vehicles across the country, passed the order on a plea by Federation of Automobile Dealers' Association (FADA), seeking extension of time for sale of inventory amid coronavirus scare and economic slowdown. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, which heard the matter on Friday through video-conferencing, made it clear however that no BS IV vehicles will be allowed to be sold in Delhi-NCR from April 1, 2020.

It said that only 10 per cent of the unsold inventory of BS IV vehicles can be permitted to be sold during this 10-day period after the lockdown, which has been enforced since March 24. Coronavirus: Elderly, differently-abled to get 3 months' pension in advance. The Centre will give three months' pension in advance to nearly three-crore widows, senior citizens and differently-abled in the first week of April amid the lockdown over the novel coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Friday. Under the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP), a monthly pension is being given to the poor senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities. The program comes under the purview of the the Union Rural Development Ministry. There are 2.98-crore beneficiaries under this programme and the pensions are transferred directly to their bank accounts, officials said.

Coronavirus impact: SBI loan repayment worth Rs 60,000 cr may be deferred. State Bank of India, which controls nearly a quarter of the banking system, on Friday said it sees Rs 50,000 to 60,000 crore of its repayment getting deferred following the three-month moratorium on term loans announced by the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI move is aimed at providing borrowers some relief to borrowers, who are affected by the impact of lockdown on account of COVID-19. "Our term loan book is fairly large and I think Rs 2-2.5 trillion gets paid every year, so for three months it would be Rs 50,000-60,000 crore," the bank's chairman Rajnish Kumar told reporters. In the seventh bi-monthly monetary policy announced today, the RBI allowed a repayment moratorium for three months on all term loans outstanding as on March 1, 2020.

Coronavirus LIVE: Global death toll crosses 25,000 mark; cases 552,571. British PM Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus, in isolation. Disinfect planes every 24 hrs, hand sanitisers a must: DGCA to Airlines. In another boost to his campaign, Biden wins Washington's primary: Report. Oil sinks below $30 as recession fears weigh amid coronavirus pandemic.

Row erupts over nomination of Gogoi to RS; Oppn calls it 'brazen' action. UP to compensate daily earners for livelihood loss due to Covid-19. In the backdrop of the coronavirus scare expected to hit the livelihood of daily wage earners due to slowing down of economy, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday announced to constitute a high-level committee to provide them the required monetary support. How days of denials gave coronavirus outbreak time to spread in Iran. Appearing before the cameras coughing and sweating profusely, the man leading Iran's response to the new coronavirus outbreak promised it was of no danger to his country. Coronavirus: Maharashtra warns will be 'harsh' against non-essential travel. Maharashtra will take a "harsh decision" on shutting down train and buses if people don't stop non-essential travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday.

Public transport in Mumbai and government offices will continue, said Thackeray, according to news agency PTI. Coronavirus LIVE: Mumbai public transport to stay open; India cases rise. Coronavirus may spark global recession; worst since 2001: Morgan Stanley. YES Bank to be removed from all BSE and NSE indices from March 20. 79 terror incidents in J&K since abrogation of Article 370, 49 neutralised. Aviation firms battle cash crunch; calls Covid-19 'single biggest shock' YES Bank ATMs full of cash, normal operations from tomorrow: Prashant Kumar. Best of BS Opinion: UP's misrule of law, coronavirus outbreak, and more.

Closer to lockdown: Gatherings of over 50 banned in Delhi amid virus spread. Don't stay at home if you have Covid-19 symptoms: Delhi's first patient. Good news for women in Navy: SC grants permission for permanent commission. Now, pvt labs to also test for coronavirus infections as Centre gives nod. YES Bank soars 96% in 2 days on Moody's ratings upgrade, positive outlook. Stick to basics; don't be adventurous in the current market scenario. Rate cut a palliative measure; cannot counter coronavirus pandemic impact. Delhi offers pay and use quarantine facilities in 3 hotels near airport. Don't rush to withdraw deposits from YES Bank: RBI governor Shaktikanta Das. YES Bank case: ED summons Anil Ambani, Subhash Chandra and Naresh Goyal. Coronavirus LIVE: 64-year-old dies in Mumbai, India Covid-19 toll reaches 3. MARKET LIVE: Sensex up 300 pts, Nifty tests 9,300; PSBs, pharma stocks gain. Three Nirbhaya case convicts move ICJ seeking stay on death sentence.

MP politics Highlights: Floor test tomorrow, Nath says, he has the numbers. Moody's upgrades YES Bank ratings; outlook changed to positive. Govt nominates former chief justice Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha. YES Bank case: ED summons Subhash Chandra, Naresh Goyal for questioning. World needs coordinated fiscal response to pandemic: IMF chief. Flipkart partners with Aegon to sell quick-access life insurance policies. India bars passengers from EU, UK from March 18 in Covid-19 precaution. Tahir Hussain sent to 4-day police custody in IB officer murder case. Brent crude falls 10%, WTI below $30 as coronavirus spreads. MakeMyTrip works on app upgrades, wider positioning in all types of travel. Coronavirus outbreak: Poultry firms, farmers hit due to massive culling. Customers can access all banking services from Wednesday evening: Yes Bank. RBI says can't rule out any policy measure to counter coronavirus impact. Busting myths: As Coronavirus spreads, so do fake WhatsApp forwards.

'Don't miss the March 31 deadline': I-T Dept on PAN-Aadhaar linking. Govt backs telecos in SC, seeks payment of AGR dues over 20 years. Future Retail hits over 3-year low; stock tanks 46% in four days. PM Narendra Modi proposes SAARC fund to combat coronavirus outbreak. Fed slashes rates in emergency coronavirus move; US death toll hits 62. Coronavirus in numbers: Latest Covid-19 cases and deaths in India and world. Anil Ambani files adjournment plea before ED in probe against Rana Kapoor. MP politics LIVE: BJP moves SC as Speaker adjourns House without floor test. Time to be greedy or fearful? Portfolio strategies for uncertain times. Market valuation is attractive; time to take risk for long-term gains. Voda Idea deposits Rs 3,354 cr more as AGR dues, says full principal paid. WPI-based inflation eases to 2.26% in February against 3.1% in Jan. MARKET LIVE: Banks, metals drag Sensex 1,900 pts lower; India VIX up 11% Speaker's prerogative: Minister on MP Governor's trust vote directive.

Saudi Aramco reports 20.6% drop in 2019 profit over low prices, production. Coronavirus: UK national tests positive, offloaded with 289 others in Kochi. Former China exec missing after calling Xi a 'clown' over COVID-19 handling. Modi meets Apni party, assures J&K's demography will remain unchanged. Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board; former AmEx CEO to replace him. Madhya Pradesh crisis: Scindia likely to arrive in Bhopal before floor test. Volatility to rule markets; virus, Fed decision to drive equities: Analysts.

Petrol prices cut by 12 paise a litre, diesel declines by 14 paise. Work from home is serious business as top companies fight coronavirus. Telecom dept units violate norms in seeking 'huge call data': Companies. Top 10 companies lose Rs 4.22 trillion in m-cap; TCS, RIL hit hard. FPIs get the jitters over Coronavirus, withdraw Rs 37,976 cr in March. Doctors to hand wash: Why India isn't ready for coronavirus crisis. Curtailed IPL is one among 7 options discussed at owners' meeting: Report. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates exits company's board of directors. Govt notifies YES Bank rescue scheme; moratorium to be lifted on March 18. Coronavirus: US Embassy, Consulates in India cancel all visa appointments. Bandhan Bank to invest Rs 300 cr in Yes Bank as part of reconstruction plan. Excise duty on petrol, diesel up by Rs 3 per litre as oil prices decline.

Market rebounds as bulls deliver knockout punch after opening-hour shocker. Market rout: RBI intervenes to protect continuously falling rupee. Wall Street jumps after worst day since 1987 over hopes of fiscal easing. Cabinet clears 4% DA hike for central government employees. Toss for IPL postponed till April 15 as Coronavirus shadow looms. Markets are paying the price for not banning short sale; crash due to panic.