After starting firmly in the positive, the benchmark indices in the Indian stock market shed most of the early gains and ended the session in the negative today. The BSE-Sensex closed with a decline of around 140 points (0.7%). The NSE-Nifty lost 41 points (0.7%). The smaller indices lost some momentum, after seeing gains over the past few days. The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap both closed lower by 1.3% and 1.4% respectively. The overall market breadth was also negative, with almost 2 stocks declining for every one that advanced.
FMCG and consumer goods stocks managed to stay afloat. But, stocks in the realty and auto space drove markets lower. Most major Asian stock markets closed in the positive today, with Japan also being the top gainer despite another earthquake scare last night. Europe is trading positive. The rupee was seen trading at Rs 44.1 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Tata Steel announced an increase in its sales and production numbers for its Indian operations. It declared a 3.8% increase in production of hot metal to 7.5 million tonnes (MT) in FY11 (ended March 31, 2011) from 7.2 MT in the previous fiscal. Production of crude steel touched 6.9 MT in FY11, compared to 6.6 MT in the previous fiscal, a 4.4% increase. Saleable steel production also increased by 3.9% per cent to 6.7 MT in FY11. On the back of an increase in production, and healthy demand from customers, sales also saw a 4% increase to 6.4 MT. The company is also in the process of expanding its installed capacity at Jamshedpur to 10 MT per annum (MTPA). The stock however, closed 1.2% lower for the day.
SBI has got a new chief with Mr Pratip Chaudhuri taking over the reins post the superannuation of Mr O.P. Bhatt at the end of FY11. He has been working with the bank for 37 years. Before his latest appointment, he was the deputy managing director in the international banking division of the bank. The largest public sector (PSU) bank is also set to get a management rejig with four MDs (managing directors) looking after key functions, compared to 2 MDs earlier.
With Mr. Chaudhuri's background in international banking, it is expected that the bank will focus more on expanding its international operations. According to officials at the bank, SBI is looking at increasing its presence overseas. This is in light of the increased globalisation of a large number of Indian corporates. As of now, foreign operations contribute only 13% per cent to SBI's top-line. Over the next 2-3 years, the PSU bank aims to raise its share of global business to 20%. Expansion through the inorganic route is also possible. Over the years, this large Indian bank has been on the lookout for acquisitions in growing regions like Southeast Asia and Africa. Currently, SBI has more than 150 branches spread across 32 countries, which is way ahead of many of its domestic competitors. Setting up a larger retail presence abroad will help in its overseas ambitions.