After opening on a strong note in the morning session, the Indian indices thereon were unable to hold on to their gains as selling pressure pushed them into the red. There was no respite in the final trading hour as well and the markets closed well below the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex closed lower by around 295 points (down 2%), the NSE-Nifty closed lower by around 88 points (down 2%). The BSE Midcap and the BSE Small cap were not spared either as they raked losses of 2% each. Losses were largely seen in auto and oil & gas stocks.
As regards global markets, barring India and China, the Asian indices closed firm today. European indices have opened in the red. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.24 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Aluminium stocks closed weak today and the key losers here were both Hindalco and Nalco. Hindalco recently announced its 3QFY11 results. During 3QFY11 and 9mFY11, the company's consolidated topline registered a rise of 12% YoY and 20% YoY respectively. The growth was mainly driven by a better geographical mix and improved realisations. Higher aluminum LME (London Metal Exchange) and better by-product realisations in the copper business aided the company's sales. However, metal volumes were lower during the quarter. Power outage at the Hirakud smelter and cooling tower outage at the Dahej smelter affected production. The operating margins contracted from 13.6% in 3QFY10 to 11.5% in 3QFY11 due to cost escalations and falling copper treatment charges and refining charges (TC/RC). Consolidated bottomline, however, grew by 8% YoY led by higher other income, lower interest costs and tax expenses.
Titan Industries announced its 3QFY11 results. Net sales grew by 47% YoY during 3QFY11 led by the robust performance of all its businesses. The jewellery segment grew by 50% YoY during the quarter on account of the company's growing focus on stone studded jewellery and luxury segment. The company's second major business segment of watches grew by 34% YoY during the quarter. The management strategy of positioning watches as personal accessories instead of just time pieces seems to have worked in its favour. Operating margins improved to 10% during the quarter, from 8% in 3QFY10. Led by good sales growth, stronger operating margins and higher other income, net profits surged by 82% YoY during the quarter. The stock closed lower today.
As per a leading business daily, India has launched a new consumer price index that combines data from rural and urban areas and includes sectors that were not part of the existing index. The aim is to capture price trends more accurately. The new index will use 2010 as the base year. Basically, the government has taken this move to address inefficient and archaic data-collection processes so that the reading of price trends will be easier now for central bankers, government officials and the like. That said, although consumer price index is the most closely watched indicator globally, in India the wholesale price index (WPI) has so far been more closely watched. Inflation based on WPI in January had touched 8.2% and is still way above the comfort levels of the RBI. This means that the central bank will continue to hike interest rates till such time that inflation reaches acceptable levels.