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Blue chips drag indices lower
Tue, 19 Mar 01:30 pm

As index heavyweights continued to battle with selling pressures, Indian equity markets continued to trade well below the dotted line in the post-noon trading session. All the sectoral indices are trading in red with realty, capital goods and metal stocks being the biggest losers.

BSE-Sensex is down 262 points and NSE-Nifty is trading down 82 points. While BSE Mid Cap is down 1.4%, BSE Small Cap index is trading down by 1.3%. The rupee is trading at 54.1 to the US dollar.

Most of the food & tobacco stocks are trading in red, with United Spirits and Golden Tobacco being the biggest losers. However, Agro Tech Foods and ITC are trading strongly. As per a leading financial daily, the government informed the parliament that the cigarette consumption in the country increased in 2011-12. The domestic consumption of cigarettes rose by 4.2% to 116.2 bn sticks in 2011-12. Consumption increased despite a 20% hike in excise duty during the year. In 2010-11, the number of units of cigarettes sold had fallen by 0.3% to 111.5 bn sticks. In the Union Budget 2013, the government has, once again, hiked the excise duty on cigarettes by 18%.

Majority of the mining stocks are trading also in red with Coal India and Sesa Goa being the biggest losers. As per a leading financial daily, the shareholders of Coal India demand for an audit on the fuel supply agreements (FSAs), signed between the miner and its customers. The said audit should be conducted by Comptroller Auditor General (CAG). Reportedly, a UK based shareholder alleges that the FSA system encourages large scale corruption. This is because the companies are incentivized to pay bribes, to get coal at discounted rates. Further even the ongoing fight between Coal India and its customers on quality and pricing issues is an added concern for investors. The stock of Coal India was trading down by 2.7%.

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