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Sensex Ends Day Strong; Services PMI Rebounds
Thu, 4 Jan Closing | Monish Vora, TM Team

After opening the day flat, share markets in India witnessed volatile trading activity throughout the day and ended the day on a strong note. Gains were seen across most sectors with stocks in the metals sector and stocks in the consumer durables sector, leading the gains. While stocks in the realty sector lost the most.

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 176 points (up 0.5%) and the NSE Nifty closed up by 62 points (up 0.6%). The BSE Mid Cap index ended the day up by 0.7%, while the BSE Small Cap index ended the day up by 0.9%.

Asian stock markets finished in green. As of the most recent closing prices, the Hang Seng was up by 0.6% and the Shanghai Composite was up by 0.5%. The Nikkei 225 was up by 3.3%. European markets too were trading on a positive note. The FTSE 100 was up by 0.1%. The DAX too, was up by 1% while the CAC 40 was up by 0.8%.

The rupee was trading at Rs 63.4 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 61.8 at the time of writing.

Moving on to news about the economy. India's services sector returned to marginal growth in December, after it registered a slowdown in November. India's dominant services industry activity showed signs of recovery as it returned to marginal expansion. The country's predominant sector witnessed expansion, with new orders rising for the second consecutive month, according to the Nikkei Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey by Markit.

The Services PMI is the reading of the country's services sector output and is updated monthly. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while any score below the mark denotes contraction.

A marginal rise in new business resulted in monthly increase in activity. The services PMI for December finished at 50.9, a turnaround from 48.5 in November.

Services PMI Charts Steady Recovery

In order to meet the added demand, service providers hired more for the second month in succession, and jobs growth quickened to the fastest since September and stronger than the series trend.

The latest services PMI follows the manufacturing one, which registered the fastest growth in five years to 54.7 during the month.

Evidence backing the increase in services PMI was that monitored service providers increased staff recruitment during the month, the report said.

On the prices front, GST continued to exert upward pressure on manufacturers' cost burdens in December.

Overall, input cost inflation quickened to the sharpest since April and subsequently, firms raised their average selling prices at the fastest pace in 10 months

Retail inflation rose substantially at an annual pace of 4.8 % in November, above the Reserve Bank of India's medium-term target of 4%.

Moving on to news from stocks in the automobiles sector. Tata Motors share price closed the day on a dull note following weak Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) sales data for the month of December.

Jaguar Land Rover, the UK's largest luxury car maker, sold 11,394 units in last month of passing year, which was lower by 9.4% compared with 12,573 units sold in the same period last year.

Sales data of both brands was weak in December.

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Jaguar sales in the US were down by 20.5% at 3,414 units while Land Rover sales declined 3.6% to 7,980 units YoY.

Meanwhile, Tata Motor's domestic commercial as well as passenger vehicle sales were strong during same month.

Its commercial and passenger vehicles domestic sales in December 2017 grew by 54% year-on-year to 54,627 units, due to increasing demand for vehicles across segments, new product launches and strategic customer initiatives.

Commercial vehicles domestic sales during the month increased 62% to 40,447 units YoY, led by steady production ramp-up of new range of BS4 vehicles and continued uptick in sales in consumption-driven sectors.

Passenger vehicles sales grew by 31 percent to 14,180 units in December 2017, against 10,827 units sold in year-ago. Strong performance of Tiago, Tigor, Hexa and Nexon drove the growth momentum.

Tata Motors share price ended the day lower by 0.8%.

And here's a note from Profit Hunter:

Tata Steel Ltd is the top gainer in the Nifty 50 Index today - up 4%. Let's have a look at its chart.

Last time we reviewed this stock, it had broken above its horizontal resistance level (red line on the chart) of 570 with healthy volumes. This indicated strength in the counter. As a result, the stock went to rally nearly 30% to hit a 52-week high of 735 in October 2017.

It faced resistance there from previous peaks (April 2010 and January 2011 peak). It struggled there for about two months. But today, the stock broke above this resistance with healthy volumes to hit a fresh 52-week high.

So will the stock deliver another solid gains post a fresh break-out? Let's wait and watch.

Tata Steel at New 52-Week High
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