Indian stock markets outperformed most of their peers in Asia and remained firmly in the positive during the final hours of trade. The momentum was on the back of sustained buying across index heavyweights. All the sectoral indices were in the positive with metal, oil and gas and consumer good stocks leading the pack of gainers. The liquidity driven buoyancy in the markets, post the CRR cut, may not be long lasting unless the upcoming Budget offers sufficient reasons for investors to cheer.
The BSE-Sensex closed higher by 226 points (up 1.3%) and NSE-Nifty ended up 70 points. Both the BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices gained more than 1% each. The rupee was trading at 49.9 to the US dollar at the time of writing.
Cement stock firmed up today on the expectation of spurt in the cement prices after recent hike in railway freight rates, heightened the hopes for the surge in cement prices by Rs 8 to Rs 10 a 50-kg bag. In fact, most cement companies seem to have already implemented a price increase, with the current buoyant demand across the country. However, there are expectations that the Government may increase excise duty by 2% in the upcoming Budget to make up for the widening fiscal deficit. If this comes through, it will lead to a further rise in cement prices.
After the recent speculation about State Bank Of India (SBI) offering fresh loan to the cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today confirmed that the banking behemoth has no plans in this regard. It may be noted that SBI had initiated a proposal to bail out the airline with Rs 15 bn funding, which resulted in the stock witnessing a huge sell off.
Kingfisher Airlines has a debt of Rs 70 bn and the financial crunch has hit its operations with dozens of flights being either cancelled or clubbed. SBI, leader of consortium of lenders to the air-carrier, has classified the account of the airlines as 'sub-standard' as on February 2012.