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Strong Start to the Week
Mon, 21 Mar Closing

After trading firm in the noon session, buying activity intensified in the final hour of trade as Indian indices finished on a strong note. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 333 points, the NSE Nifty finished higher by 100 points. The S&P BSE Midcap and the S&P BSE Small Cap also closed firm with both the indices up by 1.4%. Gains were largely seen in capital goods, consumer durables and realty stocks.

Chinese markets stood out in a mixed trading session in Asia. The Shanghai Composite gained 2.15% and the Hang Seng rose 0.06%. The Nikkei 225 lost 1.25%. European markets too are mixed today. The DAX is up 0.63% while the FTSE 100 gains 0.10%. The CAC 40 is off 0.58%.

Oil prices were trading at US$40.77 a barrel at the time of writing. The rupee was trading at 66.61 against the US$.

National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is reportedly planning to invest over Rs 370 billion over the next 5-7 years. This comes at a time when the company plans to expand existing facilities, setting up of new smelter unit overseas, development of mines and diversification in power.

According to the reports, the company is undertaking the investment plan to reduce operational expenses and to beat the depressed market realizations. The company is in advanced stages of discussions to explore the possibility of setting up smelter of 0.5 million tonne a year (mtpa) capacity in Iran. The proposed smelter will come up at an estimated cost of Rs 120-130 billion. Note that Nalco has the largest integrated alumina-aluminium complex of Asia. Its integrated operations cover the entire aluminium production value chain from mining bauxite, refining alumina, smelting aluminium, captive power generation to a strong logistic network in terms of rail & port facilities.

On another note, global margins of aluminum companies have been under severe pressure due to concerns over Chinese aluminum exports and global meltdown in commodity prices (Subscription Required). Moreover, domestic aluminum companies are also struggling with higher fuel costs. Aluminium companies were forced to source coal from the open markets in the wake of cancellation of the captive coal blocks allotted to them by the Supreme Court last year. And price hikes taken to pass on the cost has further dented their competitiveness in the global markets. This has all been reflected in the weakening financial performance during the first half of FY16 (Subscription required).

The stock price of Nalco finished the trading day up by 0.3% on the BSE.

Capital goods sector finished the trading day on a strong note with BEML and Bharat Electronics leading the gains. According to a leading financial daily, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has commissioned 270 MW coal-based unit at the same site in the state of Punjab within one month of the successful commissioning of a 270 MW thermal generating unit in the same state. The unit has been commissioned at the 2x270 MW Goindwal Sahib coal-fired Thermal Power Project of GVK Power & Infra (GVKPIL), located in Goindwal Sahib in Tarn Taran district.

BHEL has so far contracted 35 sets of 270 MW rating, out of which 13 sets have now been commissioned. Notably, all the operational sets of 210-270 MW class in the state of Punjab have been supplied, erected and commissioned by BHEL. In addition to thermal projects, BHEL has a significant presence in the state's hydro sector also, with 95% share in the hydro generating capacity of Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL). Presently, BHEL is executing Electro-Mechanical works for hydro-electric power plants at Shahpur Kandi in Gurdaspur (206 MW) and Mukerian (18 MW) in the state of Punjab. The company reported 14% YoY decline in sales, and a loss of Rs 11 billion (Subscription Required) during 3QFY16.

Many big companies from the capital goods space have seen their stocks move up quite sharply in the last couple of weeks or so. In short span of time since the budget, many of these have gone up by 15% to 18%.

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Feb 22, 2018 09:11 AM