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Personal finance weekly wrap: Indices hit new high and the rate hike

The week saw the bellwether indices hitting new highs. Investors in stocks and equity mutual funds saw their portfolio values surge as the up-move turned broad based. Yet, there are many investors who preferred to remain cautious given macro pressures and not so inspiring growth in corporate earnings.

The current upswing in prices helped traders who were stuck in small and mid-cap names. The up-move is seen with a lot of scepticism owing to volatility in global markets. However, one cannot stay away from stocks altogether. This could make many focus on quality stocks than growing broad-based. Systematic equity plan can help you buy such stocks at fixed interval. Many brokers offer this facility and individual investors can make the most of it to buy stocks in an unemotional manner.

The next big thing that has been playing on the minds of investors is the “interest rate action” both in India and the US. While the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India chose to hike policy rates by 25 basis points, the US Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged. Bank of England too choose to hike rates to 75 basis points. The rate action impacted the bond market and currency markets and of course the floating rate loans.

HDFC has increased lending rates by 20 basis points. State Bank of India, the largest lender increased rates on bank fixed deposits by five to 10 basis points ahead of the monetary policy. The rates are expected to go up in the near future. That will benefit short term fixed deposits holders and investors in liquid funds. You may also want to take advantage of the current rates by investing your money in fixed maturity plans or short term bond funds.

You still have almost a month’s time on hand to file your income tax returns. If you have forgotten to claim tax benefit on education loan while giving declaration to your employer, here is how you can do it now.

You can save money using your credit card if you have been a smart user.

Monsoon is the time you should be sure about your auto insurance. Flooding can cause serious damage to your car. Hence, it makes a lot more sense to make your car monsoon proof, by purchasing the right car insurance.

You should also know that car thefts are on the rise. It poses a real challenge for the car owner in case the car is stolen. Here is how to file an insurance claim if your car is stolen.

Insurance companies are offering health insurance plans with maternity benefits. Should you go for one? Here is how to arrive at a logical answer.

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