Strong buying activity across index heavyweights throughput the session today ensured that the indices closed well above the dotted line. While the BSE Sensex closed higher by around 227 points (up 1%), the NSE Nifty gained around 71 points (up 1%). This optimism spilled over to midcap and small cap stocks as well as they notched gains of 2% and 1% respectively. Gains were largely seen in oil & gas, metals and banking stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened on a weak note. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.85 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Barring Tata Steel, most steel stocks closed firm on the bourses today. As per a leading business daily, Tata Steel's European subsidiary Corus has sold its stake in a joint venture which was operating a tar distillation plant in the Netherlands. Corus, along with partner Cindu BV, have sold their stake to the US carbon-compounds maker Koppers Holdings. The rationale behind the move was that tar processing was not a core activity for Corus although the company has tied up a long-term arrangement for tar supply with the new owner. For Tata Steel Europe, the global financial crisis has had an impact on operations. What is more, the demand for steel is expected to remain subdued till the time the developed economies start recovering. Thus, in the short term, the weak steel demand is likely to create cash flow problems for the company which explains the stake sale in the JV.
As per a leading business daily, power major Tata Power is looking to increase its coal mining capacity in Indonesia by 25% starting the latter half of fiscal 2011. The current capacity which stands at 60 MT will be scaled to 75 MT a year. It must be noted that the company owns 30% stake in two Indonesian coal mines belonging to PT Bumi Resources, which were purchased in June 2007. Tata Power imports 3 MT of coal for its plant in Trombay, Mumbai. Out of this, 1 MT comes from the Bumi coal fields. These plans are likely to complement the company's objective of increasing its power generation capacity from an annual 3,000 MW at present to 4,242 MW in 2011 and 5842 MW in 2012. The stock was among the major gainers on the Sensex today closing higher by 5%.
As per a leading business daily, India seems to be on a firmer path to recovery as exports rose for a third straight month in January 2010. The January merchandise exports hit US$ 14.3 bn, 11.5% higher than the same month a year ago. Imports grew by 35.5% to US$ 24.7 bn. Readers would do well to recall that exports had shrunk for 13 months before turning positive in November. With exports recovering and new manufacturing orders reaching an 18-month high in February 2010, it appears that the stimulus backed rebound is certainly taking place in the private sector. All eyes, therefore, will be on the RBI and what it proposes to do with respect to interest rates when it meets again in April this year.