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Indian equity markets started the day's proceedings on a strong note and continued this trend in the morning session. However, indices witnessed some pressure in the afternoon trading but still managed to finish above the dotted line. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 50 points, the NSE Nifty closed higher by 14 points. S&P BSE Midcap and S&P BSE Small cap closed on a positive note with the indices up by 0.2% and 0.9% respectively. Gains were largely seen in metal and consumer durable stocks.
Asian markets maintained a positive start to the new trading week with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is up 1.36%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 0.90% and China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.75%. European markets are trading mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.16%, while the CAC 40 and FTSE 100 are down 0.38% and 0.11% respectively. The rupee was trading at 67.64 against the US$ in the afternoon session.
According to an article in the Economic Times, National Aluminum Company Limited (Nalco) will send a team of officials to Iran, Qatar and Oman as early as next month to explore opportunities for setting up a gas-based thermal power plant and an aluminum smelter. Previously, the over US$2-billion project was slated to come up at one of the specially designated economic zones in Iran's Kerman province, but could not materialize due to sanctions on the Persian Gulf nation.
Reportedly, the company is also in talks with the Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) to set up a 0.5 million tonne per annum alumina refinery in Gujarat based on the supply of bauxite from GMDC's mines. It will help Nalco stay competitive and counter cheap aluminum imports from China and the Middle East. Nalco expects India to double its aluminum consumption to 5 million tonnes in the next four years.
On another note, global margins of aluminum companies have been under severe pressure due to concerns over Chinese aluminum exports and global meltdown in commodity prices (Subscription Required). Moreover, domestic aluminum companies are also struggling with higher fuel costs. Aluminum companies were forced to source coal from the open markets in the wake of cancellation of the captive coal blocks allotted to them by the Supreme Court last year. And price hikes taken to pass on the cost has further dented their competitiveness in the global markets. This has all been reflected in the weakening financial performance during the first half of FY16 (Subscription required).
The stock price of Nalco finished the trading day up by 0.8% on the BSE.
According to a leading financial daily, the Adani Gas & Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) combine, GAIL Gas, Gujarat Gas and BPCL are among 18 companies that have bid for license to retail compressed natural gas (CNG) to automobiles in 20 cities like North Goa and Bhatinda.
Of the 34 cities that oil regulator PNGRB had offered in the sixth round of bidding, 56 bids from 18 companies were received for 20 cities. As many as 14 cities including Raebareli, Mainpuri, Etawah, Baghpat and Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, Shahdol and Rewa in Madhya Pradesh and Nainital in Uttarakhand did not receive any bid. Reportedly, Gujarat Gas bid for the most number of cities, putting in bid for all the eight cities in Gujarat on offer.
In other news, ONGC has got environmental clearance for drilling 45 development wells and other related infrastructure involving a cost of over Rs 530 billion in the Krishna-Godavari basin in Andhra Pradesh. Reportedly, the proposed development drilling and subsequent development of fields would lead to production of 51.33 billion cubic meters of gas over a period of 16 years and 26.71 million cubic meters of oil in 12 years. Also, in our recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp Premium, we have discussed how the share price of shipping company Global Offshore Services has tumbled from Rs 864 to Rs 300 (Subscription Required) due to the decline in oil prices.
Oil & gas sector finished the day on a mixed note with Cairn India and Gulf Oil Lubricants leading the gains. The combination of plunging crude oil and fears over the Chinese economy have been attributed to the stock market's decline in 2016. In this, the market decline has been the worst for small cap stocks (Subscription Required).
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