Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a weak note and the subsequent trading sessions saw them oscillate to either side of yesterday's close. However, the final trading hour saw the indices close barely above the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by 23 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 7 points. Both the BSE Mid cap and the BSE Small cap closed flat. Gains were largely seen in FMCG and consumer durables.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have also opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.38 to the dollar at the time of writing.
As per a leading business daily, Bharti Airtel has raised US$ 500 m through a bond issue after raising US$ 1 bn earlier in the month. The amount has been raised mostly to pay off high interest loans and fund capex requirements. It must be noted that the Indian telecom industry is currently going through a tough phase. Competitive intensity is high. This is despite the fact that number of operators came down post the cancellation of 2G licenses by the Supreme Court. But tariffs still remain at rock bottom levels. Another thing that continues to haunt the sector and the industry as a whole is government regulations. The regulator and operators have been increasingly at loggerheads over issues related to spectrum auction, spectrum pricing, onetime fees, refarming, etc. The tepid response to the recently held 2G auction has led the regulator to believe that pricing needs to be made more conducive and attractive for operators. The stock closed higher by 3% today.
Power stocks closed mixed today. While PTC India and Power Grid led the pack of gainers, Tata Power closed into the red. As per a business daily, the Power Ministry is planning to approach the Cabinet Committee on Investments (CCI) to consider the gas price pooling mechanism. The move is likely to prevent gas-starved power capacities becoming non-performing assets (NPAs). It may be noted that banks have become increasingly reluctant to lend to power producers whose new generation capacities have become unviable for want of fuel. The Power Ministry would take to CCI the availability versus demand for gas, current arrangements in the supply and implications of pooling for the economy and individual power producers. At present, 33 mmscmd of domestic natural gas is supplied to the power sector. Of this, 23 mmscmd is supplied to power plants linked to the grid and another 10 mmscmd to off-grid plants. While most power large producers in the country depend on coal supplies, the likes of Gujarat Industries Power Corp. (GIPCL) depend on gas supplies.