The Indian benchmark stock indices are up this morning on positive global cues.The RBI Governor has defended the central bank’s decision to not go all-out in using monetary instruments to tackle the economic crisis.Join us as we follow the top business news through the day.11:30 AMIncome Tax refunds worth ₹88,652 cr issued to 24.64 lakh taxpayers The Income Tax department on Friday said it has issued refunds worth ₹88,652 crore to over 24 lakh taxpayers so far this fiscal.The government has emphasised on providing tax related services to taxpayers without any hassles during COVID-19 pandemic and to that end has been clearing up pending tax refunds.This include personal income tax (PIT) refunds amounting to ₹28,180 crore issued to over 23.05 lakh taxpayers and corporate tax refunds amounting to ₹60,472 crore to over 1.58 lakh taxpayers during this period.
11:00 AMApple’s market cap tops GDP of nations
10:40 AMOil climbs for third straight week, buoyed by producers holding back outputTight supply is helping the oil market make steady gains despite demand concerns.Reuters reports: “Oil prices rose in early trade on Friday, on track for a third straight week of gains, buoyed by major oil producers’ efforts to hold back output amid concerns about the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures inched up 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $42.90 at 0158 GMT, on course for a 2% rise for the week.Brent crude futures rose 16 cents, or 0.4%, to $44.07, heading for a weekly rise around 0.5%.Both benchmark contracts fell around 1% on Thursday on economic concerns after weekly U.S. jobless claims came in higher than expected.Meanwhile, an internal report by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, showed the group known as OPEC+ was focused on ensuring that members who had overproduced against their commitments would cut their output, as flagged following an OPEC+ meeting on Wednesday.Reuters reported that OPEC+ found some members would need to slash output by 2.31 million barrels per day to make up for their recent oversupply.“They’re really focusing on the compliance from OPEC members. They’ve called out Iraq and Nigeria for not complying. That’s all been very good for supporting prices,” said Louis Crous, chief investment officer at BetaShares Capital, an exchange-traded fund provider in Australia.The internal report flagged demand risks, showing OPEC+ expects oil demand in 2020 to fall by 9.1 million bpd, 100,000 bpd more than in its previous forecast.And it found if a prolonged second wave of infections hits China, India, Europe and the United States in the second half of the year, demand could fall by 11.2 million bpd in 2020.“My expectation would be demand continues to be quite a bumpy recovery,” said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodity research.Analysts said they could see Brent holding near $45 a barrel but did not expect the market to push much higher in the near term.“It’s difficult to see conviction either way. From a seasonal perspective, you’d probably anticipate things to weaken a bit,” Shaw said.”10:20 AM‘Lockdown led to surge in sewing machine demand’ The COVID-19-led lockdown has forced several people to diversify into areas of work that weren’t their core focus, according to an official of Usha International.This is one of the reasons for an increase in the sales of home sewing machines. People have taken up sewing either as an hobby or to make a living, he said.“The global pandemic affected consumer behavior as they juggled household chores, along with office work and other commitments. Yet, they found time to pick up sewing as a creative outlet to deal with the stress, by making masks, PPE kits to home decor,” Parveen Kumarr Sahni, senior VP, Sewing Machines Business, Usha International told The Hindu.
10:00 AMIndian shares jump as Wall St rally supports upbeat moodA good start to the day for stocks helped by global peers.PTI reports: “Indian shares clocked broad-based gains on Friday and were on course to end the week with a 2% gain, as global investor sentiment was boosted by a tech-driven rally that lifted the Nasdaq to a record closing high.Every stock on India’s NSE Nifty 50 index was trading higher on Friday, led by a roughly 0.7% jump each in conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd .The Nifty 50 hovered around a recent five-month high, rising 0.84% to 11,407.25 by 0355 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 0.81% higher at 38,531.13.Other Asian stock markets also bounced following Wall Street’s lead as investors bet technology stocks would ride out the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.”9:30 AMMonetary arsenal must be kept dry for use: DasRBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had emphasised that although there was headroom for further monetary policy action, the ‘arsenal’ has to be kept dry and used judiciously for promoting growth, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the MPC minutes released on Thursday.All the six members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had opted for status quo and left interest rates unchanged.“It would be prudent at this stage to wait for a firmer assessment of the outlook for growth and inflation as the staggered opening of the economy progresses, supply bottlenecks ease and the price reporting pattern stabilises,” Mr. Das said, as per the minutes.The Governor noted that low capacity utilisation amid subdued domestic and external demand was likely to delay revival of investment.