The Indian stock markets started the day on a positive note, and continued this momentum through the afternoon session. However mid-session indices started moving lower and finally closed well below the dotted line towards the end of today's trade. The BSE-Sensex closed negative, lower by around 120 points (0.6%). The NSE-Nifty closed lower by around 34 points (down 0.4%). The smaller indices had a worse day on the bourses. The BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap 0.9% and 0.8% lower respectively. All sectoral indices closed in the red today with consumer durables and realty stocks seeing the biggest declines.
As regards global markets, Asian indices had a mixed outing today. European indices also opened the day on a mixed note. The rupee was trading at Rs 53.79 to the dollar at the time of writing.
The largest state-owned power utility in India, National Thermal Power Corporation Limited recently declared its results for the third-quarter ended December 2012 (3QFY13). Net sales increased by 1.7% YoY during the quarter ended December 2012. Volumes during the quarter were up by 6.9% YoY. Operating margins expanded by a significant 5.8% YoY to 25.5% on the back of lower fuel (coal) costs (as percentage of sales). Profits were up by about 22% YoY during 3QFY13. During the nine month period (9mFY13), company's revenues and profits rose by 6% YoY and 24% YoY respectively. At the end of December 2012, NTPC's standalone installed capacity stood at 33,872 MW, as compared to 31,052 MW at the end of FY12. The company's board of directors recently approved an equity investment of up to Rs 22.7 bn in Nabinagar Power Generating Company Pvt Ltd. The company is a 50:50 joint venture of NTPC and Bihar State Electricity Board. The investment will enable it to implement Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project (3X660 MW) at the Aurangabad district in Bihar.
Wage trouble seems to be ongoing between the management and workers of Hero Motocorp. This is expected to affect production at the 2-wheeler factory in Gurgaon. Employees at the factory are now considering sterner measures, including slowing production processes from tomorrow, to press for better wages. The workers are demanding a wage hike of Rs 15-18,000 over a 3 year period. However, the management is not compromising. In 2011, the firm had offered an increment of Rs 6,500 a month, similar to that at its Dharuhera facility. Last week the company revised the offer to Rs 7,500 a month, however this is still less than half what the workers are demanding. Hero MotoCorp employs around 1,200 permanent workers and 4,000 contract ones at the Gurgaon facility. Two-wheelers like Passion, Maestro and Pleasure are manufactured at the plant. The average salary of a permanent worker at the factory is around Rs 32,000 a month and can go up as much as Rs 38,000 for more experienced employees. All this labour trouble, first Maruti and now Hero Motocorp underscores the need for overhauling India's archaic labour laws. Otherwise, stalled production and increasing unrest will not add anything to India's economic growth, but rather take a lot away from it. Hero Motocorp closed 0.7% lower in trade today.