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Dull Start to the Week; Sugar Stocks Surge
Mon, 9 Jan Closing

Indian share markets continued to trade near the dotted line in the afternoon session and finished flat amid mixed international markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood lower by 33 points, while the NSE Nifty finished down by 8 points. The S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.2% and 0.5% respectively. Gains were largely seen in realty, IT and FMCG stocks. Pharma and energy stocks witnessed maximum selling activity.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.54% and the Hang Seng rose 0.25%. The Nikkei 225 lost 0.34%. European markets are mixed. The FTSE 100 is higher by 0.35%, while the CAC 40 is leading the DAX lower. They are down 0.57% and 0.45% respectively.

The rupee was trading at 68.19 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 53.21 at the time of writing.

Tata Motor's share price finished the trading day on an optimistic note (up 0.5%) after it was reported that the company is aiming to be among the top three passenger vehicle makers in India by 2019. In this regard, the company is planning to set up innovation centers globally. The first innovation Centre has been set up in proximity to the Silicon Valley, US.

Faster time-to-market new technologies reportedly will be the company's key goal. The company is keenly exploring opportunities in mobility services that would allow it to offer seamless solutions to its customers in the future. The company, which already has a strong presence in India and Europe with significant R&D resources, believes that partnership is the path to innovation.

Tata Motors is working on a slew of initiatives, including tripling of sales network, filling the gaps in its product portfolio, improving manufacturing processes and brand image, as part of its strategy to be one of the leading players in the passenger vehicle segment. The company also plans to launch two new products each year till 2020.

In another development, Tata Motors subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) sold 12% more vehicles in December 2016 compared to the same period last year led by the success of Jaguar F-PACE, Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Range Rover Sport. Strong demand for the long wheel base Jaguar XFL in China also pushed the sale.

JLR's annual sales also hit an all-time record, with the carmaker selling 583,312 units, up 20% compared to the previous year.

Automobile stocks finished the trading day on a mixed note with Force Motors and M&M leading the losses.

Moving on to news from stocks in sugar sector. According to a leading financial daily, the production of sugar has inched up marginally by 0.4% till December 31, 2016 and stood at 80.90 lakh tonnes (LT) compared to last season's production for the corresponding period. According to the data compiled by industry body Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), a total of 462 sugar mills in the country were operational till December end which produced 80.90 LT while, in 2015-16 SS, there were 481 sugar mills in operation on December 31, 2015 and they had produced 80.56 LT of sugar till that date.

In Maharashtra, 147 sugar mills commenced crushing operations. 25 of the mills have stopped crushing and these mills were mostly in the drought affected areas of Marathwada, Sholapur and Ahmednagar. As on December 31, 2016, 25.25 LT of sugar have been produced in the state as against 33.70 LT produced during the corresponding period last season when 169 mills were running.

Sugar production this year in UP is higher by 52% as compared to last year same time. The state of Uttar Pradesh, have produced 27.40 LT of sugar as on December 31, 2016, whereby 116 sugar mills were in operation and have crushed 278 LT of sugarcane.

Meanwhile, according to an article in The Reuters, India`s sugar production in 2016-17 is likely to fall to 22 million tonnes (MT), down 4.3% from an earlier estimate, as mills in its key producing state are closing early due to a cane shortage.

Sugar Production in the Country Over the Years

A drop in production below India`s consumption of around 25 million tonnes (MT) could lift local prices and prompt India to allow duty-free imports of the sweetener, supporting global prices that are trading near their highest level in one-and-half months.

Sugar stocks finished on a strong note with Oudh Sugar Mills and Rajshree Sugar leading the gains.

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Jan 19, 2018 (Close)