As buying sentiment remained weak among index heavyweights, Indian equity markets continued to hover below the dotted line in the post noon trading session. Majority of the sectoral indices are trading positive with auto, pharma and oil and gas leading the gains. Capital goods, banking and FMCG and are among the few stocks trading in red.
Majority of the steel stocks are trading in green with Adhunik Metaliks and Steel Authority of India (SAIL) being the biggest gainers. According to a leading financial daily, four steel companies namely Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL), JSW Steel, Essar Steel and Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) have raised steel prices by about Rs 1,400 per tonne for the current month. RINL in a statement has said that it has increased prices of steel products by around Rs 500 per tonne on expectations of improvement in steel demand. JSW Steel has raised prices by about 2% or Rs 750 per tonne across the board. Essar Steel and JSPL have hiked prices by Rs 1,000-1,400 per tonne. RINL and Essar Steel had increased steel prices last month also. National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC)'s recent price-cut in iron-ore prices by 6% has failed to arrest rising steel prices. As per industry sources, factors such as anticipation of demand revival on improving business confidence, stiffening steel prices in the international market and higher prices of inputs are forcing steel makers to hike prices. JSW Steel and JSPL are trading higher by 1.2% and 0.6%, respectively.
Most of the construction stocks are trading mixed with Madhucon Projects and Gammon India being the biggest gainers and PVP Ventures and NCC Ltd being the biggest losers. As per a leading financial daily, after a long wait the Indian Railways, is finally taking a step ahead for the 3,300 Km DFC (Dedicated Freight Corridor). Not only Indian groups such as the Tatas, Essar and IVRCL Infrastructure are looking to be part of this project, but various global companies including Chinese, Russian and Spanish players are also in the race. The eastern corridor of the DFC is from Ludhiana to Dankuni in West Bengal and the western one is from Dadri, close to Delhi till Navi Mumbai. The World Bank has agreed to part-finance the Eastern Corridor project from Mughal Sarai to Ludhiana which has been divided into three phases. The World Bank has so far, approved a loan of US$ 975 m in October 2011 for the first phase of the eastern corridor (Khurja-Bhaupur). Reportedly, the bids for this contract are being evaluated and outcome is expected by the end of the month.