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Sensex Trades in Red; Metal Stocks Lead Losses
Wed, 22 Mar 01:30 pm

After opening the day on a negative note, share markets in India have remained range bound and are trading in the red. Except for stocks in the realty sector, all sectoral indices are trading on a negative note. Stocks in the metals sector and stocks in the consumer durables sector leading the losses.

The BSE Sensex is trading down by 185 points (down 0.6%), and the NSE Nifty is trading down by 57 points (down 0.6%). Meanwhile, the BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.7%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading down by 0.5%. The rupee is trading at 65.49 to the US$.

In news from stocks in the steel sector. According to an article in The Business Standard, India's major steel companies are considering a Rs 1,000 a tonne hike in steel prices from 1 Arpil.

With iron ore prices on a rise and domestic demand likely to pick up by mid-April, steel producers have already raised product prices by Rs 1,000 per tonne from 15 March and are gearing up for another hike by the same amoiunt from April.

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Domestic steel companies have raised prices by about 70% since imposition of minimum import price in February 2016.

Though prices were raised by Rs 3,000 per tonne in Janurary, most companies could not sustain the hike and had to roll it back in the following month either partially or completely. The market was unable to absorb the revision due to subdued demand.

However, steel companies are now confident that consumers will be able to digest higher prices.

Steel industry is seeing a demand pick up post UP elections mainly in the construction segment along with auto and white goods sectors which were hit due to notebandi.

No Takers for Domestic Steel

No Takers for Domestic Steel

The consumption data over the past few months clearly show that there are no takers for domestic steel. So, steel makers have been forced to export more, with overseas shipments up by 78% YoY in the fiscal till February.

In the last few months, as domestic steel demand failed to pick up and producers had to export the alloy in order to maintain margins and maintain the raised capacity utilisations. Average capacity utilisation of domestic steel industry has moved to 85% from 75% earlier.

Moving on to news from stocks in the banking sector. Axis Bank share price was in focus today as the private sector lender quelled rumors about its MD & CEO resigning.

In a statement to the bourses, Axis Bank clarified that news about its MD & CEO Shikha Sharma resigning is false and misleading.

Axis Bank has been under pressure over a sharp fall in third quarter profits along with Income Tax Department raids on some of its branches post-notebandi over alleged misdoings by its employees.

On the financials front, Axis Bank had reported 73% decline in net profit to Rs 5.8 billion for the October-December quarter on account of rise in bad loans.

Meanwhile, Kotak Mahindra Bank founder's comments regarding mergers and hostile takeovers in the private sector too pushed the stock up.

Kotak on Tuesday appealed to the government to send strong signals to encourage the private sector to take honest risks and grow fearlessly and said the time had come for hostile takeovers in the country.

Kotak's remarks are significant considering the persistent speculation that Kotak Mahindra Bank was likely to make a bid for a significant stake in Axis Bank.

At the time of writing, Axis Bank share price was trading up by 1.2% and was among the highest gainers in an otherwise tepid share market.

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Mar 20, 2018 09:09 AM