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Metal stocks lead the losses
Mon, 18 Mar 11:30 am

Indian equity markets continued to trade in the negative after opening weak earlier today. Most sectoral indices traded in the red except FMCG, consumer durables and healthcare stocks.

The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by 128 points and NSE-Nifty is trading lower by 37 points. BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices are trading down by 0.4% and 0.6% respectively. The rupee is trading at 54.29 to the US dollar.

PSU banking stocks are trading weak led by Punjab and Sind Bank and Oriental Bank. As per a leading daily, State Bank of India (SBI) is looking at opening 1,200 branches across India in the next financial year. Presently it has 14,677 branches in India. This step is towards increasing the PSU bank's presence in the country. The bank plans to open about 100 branches in state of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Another 8 branches will be opened overseas too thereby increasing the count of overseas branches to 59. The overseas branches would be opened in Bangladesh (2), UK (2), China (1), South Korea (1), Sri Lanka (1) and the Netherlands (1). However, in South Korea, the existing representative office will be turned into a full-fledged branch. SBI's objective of overseas expansion is to cater to Indian businesses and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

Mining stocks are trading in the red led by Coal India and NMDC. As per a leading daily, the Indian government is planning to accelerate the stake sale in Coal India. The government may sell up to 10% stake in the company to raise Rs 180 bn. At present, the government owns 90% stake in the coal mining company. The stake sale will be conducted through offer for sale in the next financial year. The Department of Disinvestment would soon invite bids from merchant bankers and legal advisers for managing the stake sale. The Indian government in total expects to raise Rs 400 bn by way of PSU stake sales in 2013-14. Coal India's stake sale is expected to be the biggest for the government in that year. Earlier in 2010, the government had offloaded 10% stake in Coal India when it got listed on the stock exchanges through IPO.

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