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Indian stock markets stay flat
Wed, 20 Feb Closing

The Indian stock markets started the day on a strong positive note. It moved higher during early trade, but this positive momentum did not last throughout the session. Post the afternoon session, indices slumped towards the dotted line. In the final hour of trade, they started moving lower and finally closed the day flat. The BSE-Sensex closed positive, higher by around 7 points (0.04%). The NSE-Nifty closed lower by around 3 points (0.06%). The smaller indices also had a mixed day on the bourses. The BSE Mid Cap index closed 0.2% lower and the BSE Small Cap index closed 0.4% higher. Consumer durables and metal stocks led the losses. On the other hand oil and gas and realty stocks closed positive.

As regards global markets, Asian indices had a positive outing today. European indices opened the day on a positive note. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.08 to the dollar at the time of writing.

State Bank of India (SBI), the largest commercial bank in India, opened its second branch in China. This is in order to cater to the growing trade between the two countries. This new branch, situated in the northern port city of Tianjin, will provide services including loans, trade financing and remittances. SBI opened its first Chinese branch in Shanghai in 2006. It acquired a license from Chinese authorities to do business in the local Renminbi currency in 2010. Even though SBI is one of the biggest banks in India with a lion's share of deposits and advances it is small fry compared to the global biggies. SBI is ranked 60th in the list of Top 1,000 Banks in the world by The Banker in July 2012. A growing economy like India should ideally have 3-4 banks among the top list and expanding globally is the first step.

The signing of fuel-supply agreements (FSA) between state-run firms National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Coal India Ltd (CIL) have once again hit a road block. It may be further delayed due to divergence on the issue of coal's calorific value. While NTPC, India's largest power generation utility, wants coal having no less than 3,100 kilocalories (kcal) of calorific value supplied to its plants, Coal India, the world's biggest coal miner, wants to supply coal of different grades to NTPC up to a calorific value of 1,900 kcal. Coal with a higher calorific value helps reduce wastage and improves generation efficiency. NTPC is yet to sign FSAs for coal-based power generation capacity scheduled to come on-stream in 2013. And, NTPC says that its boiler plants will not work on coal having less calorific value. Coal India has shifted to a new pricing mechanism based on gross calorific value, under which prices are linked to the calorific value, or quality, of coal. On the plus side, most of the other issues have been resolved, and the only issue left is that of calorific value.

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Feb 23, 2018 (Close)