Indian equity markets started the day on a positive note. Key benchmark indices pared its intra-day gains and were pulled down by a sell-off in banking shares after IndusInd bank reported a rise in its net performing assets (NPAs) for the third quarter ended 31st December. Also most of the day's gains were erased as investors turned cautious and booked profits at higher levels ahead of November index of industrial production (IIP) data to be released later today. Markets, however, closed in marginally higher supported by IT shares after street gave a thumbs up to Infosys' 3QFY14 results and upbeat trade deficit figures for the month of December. IT and FMCG stocks were the biggest gainers. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by 45 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 3 points. BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap closed on a negative note.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed in the green. European indices have also opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 61.9 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) will shut a crude unit at its Mumbai refinery for about 15 days in April-May as it carries out a 40-day maintenance work at its catalytic cracker unit. The cracker has a capacity of 0.65 m tonnes a year and the crude unit operates at about 80,000 barrels per day. The refiner has completed a 28-day maintenance shutdown at its 900,000 tonnes a year fluidised catalytic cracker unit. BPCL along with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has also started exporting refined products jointly to cut costs and are exploring a similar mechanism for crude oil purchases.
Trade deficit for the month of December narrowed to US $10.14 bn from US $17.59 bn a year earlier. Trade deficit for the month of November had come in at US $9.22 bn. India's exports grew 3.49% in December to US $26.3 bn, while imports dipped 15.25%. Imports last month were US $36.4 bn. The country's gold and silver imports were reported at US $1.77 bn in December versus US $5.6 bn a year earlier. In order to restrict inward shipment of gold, the government and the RBI had announced various measures, including hiking import duty to 10%. With the decline of imports, there is a clamor that the government should ease the curbs as they are encouraging smuggling. For the April-December period, exports aggregated US $230.3 bn and imports US $340.3 bn while the trade deficit stood at US $110 bn.