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Markets begin on a strong note
Wed, 10 Mar 09:30 am

The Indian markets have started today's session on a strong note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark, fell into the negative territory but have bounced back strongly since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the red with South Korea (down 0.4%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets closed higher by 0.1% yesterday.

Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading a mixed bag with auto and FMCG stocks attracting investors' interest. However, select software stocks are in the red. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 39 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 9 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.52 to the US dollar.

FMCG stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Lakshmi Energy and Tata Tea. As per a leading business daily, FMCG major Nestle India is considering launching its weight management programme Jenny Craig in India. The programme consists of coaching by personal consultants and pre-packaged meals that cost about US$ 100 per week. It is popular in the US. In our opinion, this development indicates Nestle India's desire to participate in the Indian growth story. However, an expensive product like Jenny Craig is likely to find takers only in the metropolitan centers. Moreover, the company will have to work in building the infrastructure to deliver services in India from the scratch. So far, it has concentrated on its packaged foods and confectionery business and is among the most profitable FMCG operations in India.

Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Indraprastha Gas and Gujarat Gas. As per a leading business daily, India's largest oil marketing company Indian Oil plans to sell shares to raise funds. In fact, the petroleum secretary has approached the disinvestment secretary with the proposal which is likely to be evaluated in the coming fiscal year. If the company gets the nod, it will also provide the government a window to offload some of its stake. But the key question remains whether the government will free the pricing of petroleum products. Unless it does, Indian Oil and its fellow oil marketing companies - BPCL and HPCL will continue to incur losses. Ironically, the success of any public issue will depend on its intention to free prices.

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Feb 22, 2018 (Close)