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Markets see a strong finish
Tue, 16 Mar Closing

While markets traded close to the dotted line during the morning session and even briefly dipped into the red on occasion, strong buying activity in the ensuing hours pushed the indices well above the dotted line. Towards the end of the session, the markets closed well into the positive. While the BSE Sensex closed higher by around 218 points, the NSE Nifty gained around 73 points. Midcap and small cap stocks too did well as they gained around 1% and 1.3% respectively. The oil & gas and metal and capital good spaces saw the highest gains today.

As per a leading business daily, Tata Steel may increase prices of its products in the coming months on account of rising raw material cost. As per the company’s management, raw material prices are likely to go up by somewhere around US$ 140 to US$ 150 per tonne in FY11. However, it is not yet sure about how much will be passed on to its customers.

It may be noted that Tata Steel along with other steel makers increased prices of its products by roughly US$ 2,000 a tonne in the beginning of March 2010 to partially offset the impact of the rise in excise duty by 2% announced by the budget. While the company is self dependent in terms of availability of iron ore, it procures coking coal from overseas whose prices are expected to go up over the short term. The stock of Tata Steel closed the day on a strong note.

As per reports, NTPC plans to double its gas based power generation capacity to over 8,000 MW by 2017. NTPC’s current gas based power generation capacity is 3,955 MW. The expansion in capacity will be possible if the company is assured of supply of the fuels by petroleum ministry from all sources including RIL’s KG-D6 fields. In an effort to expand its gas based power generation capacity, NTPC plans to add 1,000 MW to its gas based plant located in Kerala and 700 MW to another plant located in Rajasthan. In addition, the company is also contemplating adding 1,400 MW to its Auraiya plant in UP and another 1,400 MW to its Badarpur plant. NTPC aims to increase its power generating capacity to 75,000 MW in FY 2017. It may be noted that the company currently has an installed capacity of 31,134 MW.

Denying speculations that the largest public sector bank in India - SBI - is on the lookout for acquisition of smaller PSUs, the state Finance Minister has cited labour issues in the merger proposals. Although SBI has plans to absorb its six associate banks, opposition from its labour union and political parties has deferred the move. The bank has already completed the merger with State Bank of Saurashtra and is currently merging another associate State Bank of Indore with itself. SBI’s balance sheet growth continues to remain ahead of the industry due to its widespread rural and semi-urban presence. Although the bank may witness lower growth and muted margins in the near term, given its balance sheet size, penetration and the possibility of merger with associates, SBI continues to have attractive business prospects for the long term.

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