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Sensex Opens Flat; Metal and Power Stocks Drag
Wed, 13 Mar 09:30 am | Rini Mehta, TM Team

Asian stock markets are lower today as Chinese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Shanghai Composite is off 0.5% while the Hang Seng is down 0.5%. The Nikkei 225 is trading down by 1.4%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose on Tuesday after tame inflation data underscored the Federal Reserve's dovish stance on interest rate hikes, but the Dow ended lower as Boeing's shares sank for a second day after one of its planes crashed in Ethiopia.

Back home, India share markets opened on a flat note. The BSE Sensex is trading up by 14 points while the NSE Nifty is trading up by 5 points. Both, the BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index opened flat too.

Sectoral indices have opened on a mixed note with consumer durables stocks and realty stocks witnessing maximum buying interest. Metal stocks and power stocks have opened the day in red.

The rupee is currently trading at Rs 69.66 against the US$.

In the news from the economy. Food prices registered their fifth successive monthly decline in February, continuing the trend.

Reportedly, the fall is bound to put pressure on farm incomes, heightening the agrarian crisis that could play an important role in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Annual growth in India's benchmark inflation measure, Consumer Price Index (CPI) was reported to be 2.57% for February 2019 against 1.97% in January. However, food and beverage prices, which have a 46% weight in the total CPI basket, registered a fall.

This is the longest spell of a fall in food prices for the period covered by the new CPI series.

To be sure, the pace of fall in food prices has reduced in the past couple of months.

The growth in food and beverages component of CPI has increased by 122 basis points between January 2019 and February 2019.

There is also a rural-urban divide in the behaviour of food prices. While urban food inflation has been in positive territory for both January and February 2019, rural food inflation continues to be negative.

The recovery in urban food prices was also reflected in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for primary food articles, a useful proxy for farm-gate prices, which registered positive growth in January 2019. It had been falling continuously between August 2018 and December 2018.

WPI data for February is yet to be released.

A detailed breakup of CPI food basket also shows that the price crash in the headline food inflation number is because of fall in prices of fruits and vegetables, pulses and sugar.

In fact, inflation for vegetables, pulses and sugar has been in negative territory for the entire period between April 2018 and February 2019. Cereals, which are procured by the government at Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) have not faced a disinflation throughout this period.

The food inflation trends might have mixed political implications.

Moving on to the news from IPO space. Indian firms are returning to equity markets to raise funds with two companies opening subscriptions for initial public offerings (IPOs) this month, but sentiment is expected to remain cautious ahead of national election starting in April.

Mini Ratna MSTC is all set to hit the market with an initial public offering today.

The government has proposed to offload 1.8 billion shares, or 25%, of total paid-up equity in the largest B2B e-commerce company in India.

The issue by the Kolkata-headquartered firm will be closed on March 15.

You can get access to our MSTC IPO note here.

Speaking of IPOs, we at Equitymaster believe a merit-based selection, primarily including valuation, business, and management quality, is the logical way to go about investing in IPOs.

If it means going against the herd, so be it. And going by recent past, this strategy has been proven to be successful more often.

To know how to safely profit from the ongoing IPO rush, download this FREE report now and discover How to Get Rich with IPOs.

And to know what's moving the Indian stock markets today, check out the most recent share market updates here.

For information on how to pick stocks that have the potential to deliver big returns, download our special report now!

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