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Positive Start to the Day
Tue, 16 Feb 09:30 am

Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on an encouraging note with stock markets in China and Japan trading higher by 2.6% and 1.3% respectively. Major indices in Europe ended their previous session on a positive note with benchmark indices in Germany ending as high as 2.6%. The rupee is trading at 68.13 per US$.

Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 97 points (up 0.4%) and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 30 points (up 0.4%). Both, BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.4% and 0.6% respectively. Sectoral indices have opened in green with stocks from oil & gas and telecommunication sectors witnessing maximum buying interest.

As per an article in leading financial daily, National Thermal Power Corporation's (NTPC) utilization levels is on a declining trend. The utilization levels, popularly termed as Plant Load Factor (PLF) with regards to its coal fired plants fell by 3.7% YoY to 78.6% in the month of January. Reportedly, gas based plants fared even worse. The PLF of gas based plants dropped to an all-time low of 13.3% as compared to 29.3% a year ago. However, NTPC continues to perform better when compared to the sector, which is operating at a much lower PLF of 63%.

The trend in power demand will be the key metric to gauge going forward. The government has launched the 'Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana' scheme; which would provide certain amount of financial relief to the State Electricity Boards (SEBs). However, such schemes will not have an immediate effect on the financials of SEBs. The improvement process would be gradual.

We continue to believe that NTPC is in the best position to take advantage of an increase in demand as it has adequate coal availability. Further, higher demand will also lead to improvement in PLF's which will help the company to earn an incentive of Rs 0.5 per unit.

In another news update, India's exports shrank for the fourteenth straight month in January. The exports shrank on account of weak demand from the Europe geography. Reportedly, exports fell by 13.6% YoY, whereas the imports too contracted by 11.01%.

Exports of engineering and petroleum products contracted by 27.6% and 35.2% respectively. Whereas, export of drugs and pharmaceuticals grew by 12.9%.

On the positive side, overall trade deficit narrowed to the lowest in the preceding eleven months in January. The trade deficit reduced because of a sharp decline in the imports of petroleum products as well as electronic items.

The upcoming budget might provide certain incentives to boost exports. Further, RBI governor, Mr Raghuram Rajan has resisted pressures from exporters and policy makers to devalue the currency to support exports stating that sustained devaluation is neither feasible nor a good strategy.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)