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Markets Recover to End Flat
Fri, 12 Feb Closing

The Indian benchmark indices finished just above the dotted line after a four day losing streak. The market began the day on a cautious note before tumbling in the red. However, stocks recovered in the afternoon session on strong European cues to end flat. The week gone by was the biggest weekly decline since July 2009. The BSE Sensex finished higher by 34 points today while NSE Nifty finished higher by 5 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap and the S&P BSE Small Cap continued its weak trend and finished lower by 0.8% and 1.2% respectively. Capital goods and Oil & Gas were the biggest losers among sectoral indices.

Markets in Asia dropped sharply on Friday, with the Nikkei tumbling, after a sell-off on Wall Street and volatile oil prices. The Nikkei 225 is down 4.84% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng is off 1.22%. European shares rebounded strongly from the previous session's steep losses to regain ground. The FTSE 100 is up 1.53% while Germany's DAX is up 1.31% and France's CAC 40 is up 1.25%. The rupee was trading at 68.44 against the US$ in the afternoon session.

Automobile stocks finished on a mixed note Tata Motors leading the gains. According to a leading financial daily, domestic passenger car sales fell for the first time in 15 months after logging a marginally dip to 168,303 units in January as against 169,527 units in the year-ago period. Motorcycle sales last month, however, increased marginally to 872,325 units from 868,505 units a year earlier. Total two-wheeler sales in January rose 2.63% to 1,362,881 units. The two-wheeler growth for the first nine months of FY16 has been tepid largely on account of slowdown in rural demand Erratic rainfall and disruptions in crop production have taken a toll on rural incomes and thereby impacted the demand for two wheelers especially motorcycles.

In other news, Mahindra and Mahindra's (M&M) South Korean subsidiary SsangYong Motor, is reportedly planning to invest US$1 billion over the next three-four years to develop new products to grow sales and turn profitable. SsangYong has been stuck with losses for the past few years. M&M spent Rs 21 billion in 2010 to acquire a 70% stake in SsangYong. The stake was later raised to 73%. SsangYong gets about 70% of its revenue from its home market, the Republic of Korea. The other significant markets are Europe and Asia-Pacific.

M&M along with Tech Mahindra, also recently announced its intention to acquire Italian car designer Pininfarina SpA (Subscription Required). Accordingly, both M&M and Tech Mahindra, through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), will buy a 76.06% stake in the Italian car designer for around 25.3 million euros. Shares of M&M jumped more than 4% in intraday trading despite reporting 14% decline in net profit for the third quarter ended December 2015.

According to a data released by Platts, steel production in India will continue to grow by almost 7% in 2016. Platts sees long desired and much needed new investments in infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, ports, power and water infrastructure are a key driver for steel consumption. The statement comes in the wake of latest data by World Steel Association which shows India is the only country among major steel producing nations such as China, Japan, South Korea and the US, which witnessed growth in production in 2015.

Meanwhile, shares of Tata Steel plunged more than 3% today after it was reported that global rating agency Moody's downgraded credit ratings of the company on a weaker than expected operating performance in its key operating markets of India, Europe and Southeast Asia. Moody's has downgraded Tata Steel's corporate family rating (CFR) by two notches to Ba3 from Ba1. It has also downgraded Tata Steel UK Holdings Limited's CFR. Last week, Tata Steel posted a consolidated net loss of Rs 21 billion in Q3 FY16 on account of persistently weak steel prices.

Steel companies struggled in 2015 as realizations took a hard hit because of increased imports despite a 5% increase in domestic demand. Recently, the government of India imposed a Minimum Import Price (MIP) on specific steel products to protect domestic players from cheap imports from China and other countries. The prices range from US$352 per tonne to US$752 per tonne of steel. MIP will help curb steel imports.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)