Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a positive note and the subsequent trading sessions saw them oscillate to either side of Thursday's close. However, the final trading hour saw the indices close barely above the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by 28 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 21 points. Both the BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap closed on a strong note. Gains were largely seen in Realty and Capital Goods stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed in the red while European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.28 to the dollar at the time of writing.
India's manufacturing sector witnessed the slowest rate of expansion in 16 months in March as power outages hampered production activity and decline in new business orders. The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 52 in March down from 54.2 in February. Persistent power cuts weighed on the manufacturing sector. Moreover, the volume of incoming new work increased at the slowest pace in 16 months and export orders expanded at the slowest pace in seven months. Output from eight core sectors fell 2.5% in February, against a growth of 3.1% in the previous month and a whopping 7.7% expansion in February 2012. The eight core sectors, which have a weight of 38% in the Index of Industrial Production, saw five of them registering a contraction in February year-on-year. Natural gas, coal, crude oil output, fertilizer, and electricity generation saw contraction in their output in February. Refinery products, steel and cement were the only sectors which registered expansion.
As per a leading business daily, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and its partner Oil India Limited (OIL) have closed in on another energy asset in Africa. The consortium has offered up to US$ 5 bn to buy the combined 20% stake of Videocon and the US-based Anadarko Petroleum in a Mozambique gas field. The bidding for the stake offered by Anadarko and Videocon (10% each) closed on Sunday. An announcement was expected to be made in the first week of April. If OVL and OIL buy the 20% stake, with their 30% stake, they would become the single largest stakeholder in the Mozambique company.