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Banking Stocks Lead the Gains
Fri, 26 Feb 01:30 pm

After opening the day in the green, the Indian indices have continued to trade on a positive note during the post-noon trading session. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks from the banking and metal sectors leading the gains. Telecom stocks are however trading in the red.

The BSE Sensex is trading up 179 points (up 0.8%) and the NSE Nifty is trading up 49 points (up 0.7%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up 0.2% while the BSE Small Cap index is trading down by 0.5%. Gold prices, per 10 grams, are trading at Rs 29,636 levels. Silver price, per kilogram is trading at Rs 36,987 levels. Crude oil is trading at Rs 2,293 per barrel. The rupee is trading at 68.72 to the US$.

Stocks in the power space are trading on a mixed note with Torrent Power and Neyveli Lignite leading the losses. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clarified that bonds issued under discom package Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) will not hit the markets and would be private placements. Further, it was stated that the RBI is open to give further relaxations on these bonds, such as allowing them to be held till maturity. This will mean that the investors do not have to incur market-to-market losses every quarter in valuing them in their books.

The announcement came in as a relief for the bond markets that have been seeing bond yields tightening every passing day. The bonds, to be issued by the electricity distribution companies (discoms) as non-SLR grade have been a major concern for the bond market.

It should be noted that about Rs 600 billion of UDAY bonds are expected to be issued during this fiscal year (2015-16). Further, an additional bond issue of Rs 300-400 billion is scheduled for the next fiscal year.

The UDAY scheme was brought up by the government to bring a turnaround in the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) that have been caught up in a vicious cycle of high debt and operational losses. The scheme allows power distribution companies (discoms) in select states to convert their debt into state bonds.

The above rescue package for discoms bodes well for health of SEBs. Having said that, one shall have to watch out for further steps that government takes to make the scheme successful.

Energy stocks are also trading on a mixed note with Indraprastha Gas and Cairn India leading the gains. In another news update, GAIL is looking at trimming its US$ 7 billion shopping list for 11 LNG ships due to the changed market structure in the wake of a sharp fall in global gas prices. Further, the company may also have to extend the tender for the vessels which is scheduled to close on Monday. The extension would be to address several concerns raised by prospective bidders with a view to ensuring wider participation.

It must be noted that with shipping rates down to US$ 30,000 per day, it may not make economic sense to tie up long-term charters that would be more expensive. Instead, it would be suitable for the company to split its charter portfolio between long-term, mid-term and spot charters as supplies from the two US projects are slated to start in January 2018.

GAIL is India's flagship Natural Gas Company, integrating all aspects of the Natural Gas value chain (including Exploration & Production, Processing, Transmission, Distribution and Marketing) and its related services. Presently the stock of GAIL is trading down by 0.6%.

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Feb 26, 2021 (Close)