After a firm opening followed by a strong rally, Indian stock markets climbed still higher in the last two trading hours. All the sectoral indices, barring oil & gas, are trading positive. Realty, auto and capital goods stocks are the biggest gainers.
Majority of the food stocks are trading in green with VST industries and United Spirits trading the strongest. Nestle has announced its December 2011 quarter and CY11 results. Backed by 16.7% growth in domestic turnover and 23.2% rise in exports, Nestle reported a 17% YoY growth in sales in 4QFY12. Operating (EBITDA) margin improved by 70 basis points on the back of lower raw material cost as a proportion of sales. At 13.5%, growth in earnings was considerably watered down on a 21.5% higher operating income recorded in 4QFY12. Steep increases in interest expenses along with higher depreciation and tax outgo led to the muted rise in net profit during the quarter. During CY11, sales were up by 19.7% on a 20.2% YoY rise in domestic revenues. However, earnings grew by a subdued 17.5% due to a five-fold jump in interest charges and higher tax outgo particularly from Pantanagar facility. The 100% tax holiday enjoyed by the facility reduced to 30% after completion of five years in FY12. The company has declared a final dividend of Rs 12.5 per equity share in addition to interim dividends of Rs 9 and Rs 27 paid earlier. The stock is currently 1.1% up.
Barring Cairn India and Reliance Industries, energy stocks are trading in the green led by Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) and Petronet LNG Ltd. As per a leading financial daily, the Oil Minister Mr. Jaipal Reddy has supported oil companies' demand for compensation on the loss of sale of petrol. It is important to note here that while petrol is a deregulated petroleum product on books, the Government has a significant say in deciding the timing and extent of price revision. The companies are not increasing price of petrol (despite rising crude prices due to ongoing tensions in Iran) on account of upcoming state elections. The companies are losing to the extent of Rs 3 to Rs 3.2 per litre on the petrol sold. The Oil Minister has also ruled out deregulation of diesel prices in the near future as any attempt to increase the diesel prices or deregulation will increase inflation levels. As of now, the state run oil marketing companies are incurring under recoveries of Rs 11.4 per litre on diesel.