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Sensex Opens Marginally Higher; Energy Stocks Rally
Mon, 10 Apr 09:30 am

Asian equity markets are trading mixed amid rising worries about geopolitical risks. The Shanghai Composite is down 0.30%, while the Hang Seng is up 0.10%. The Nikkei 225 is trading higher by 0.65%. The US equities closed slightly lower in their previous trading session.

Meanwhile, share markets in India have opened the day on a positive note. The BSE Sensex is trading up by 57 points while the NSE Nifty is trading up by 21 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index both have opened the day up by 0.3%.

All sectoral indices have opened the day in green with oil & gas sector and capital goods sector leading the pack of gainers. The rupee is trading at 64.39 to the US$.

Indian Oil Corporation share price began the trading day up by 1.2% after it was reported that Iran will cut some benefits to Indian state-run refiners (such as Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd and Indian Oil Corp.), on crude purchases after the government decided to reduce the amount of oil it buys from Iran.

FMCG stocks are trading on a mixed note with Archies Ltd and Huhtamaki PPl leading the gainers. As per an article in The Hindu Business Line, Emami Agrotech, part of Emami Group, plans to launch its edible oil brands across the country with an investment of Rs 2 billion.

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The company will launch a range of edible oils, including sunflower, mustard, soybean and rice bran, under its Healthy and Tasty brand. The company plans to invest RS 1 billion in setting up an oil mill at Jaipur in Rajasthan to process 500 tonnes of mustard seed into oil.

To further strengthen its port-based edible oil refining capacity, it recently acquired land near Kandla Port in Gujarat and expects to put up an oil refinery in 15 months. It is also in the final stage of discussion to buy land near JNPT near Mumbai.

As per the reports, the brand has managed to garner 16% market share during the last five years in West Bengal, while in rice bran oil it enjoys 50% market share. The company targets edible oil business to register a turnover of Rs 50 billion in five years from the current level of Rs 6 billion. The domestic edible oil market is estimated at RS 1.6 trillion with annual sales of 3 million tonnes.

Emami share price began the trading day up by 0.5%

Meanwhile, according to an article in The Economic Times, consumer goods companies such as Hindustan Unilever and Procter & Gamble (P&G) are either changing their production strategies (Subscription Required) or raising prices to reflect the new tax treatment for their products.

HUL, India's biggest consumer company, has increased its production run in anticipation that Goods and Services Tax (GST) would lower its tax burden, while P&G has taken an opposite view for its range of products. Prices were raised now to give companies the room to cut, and still cushion operating margins, once GST kicked in.

Under GST, most retailing goods are expected to attract taxes anywhere between 18% and 28%. As per the reports, HUL assumes that the rates could come down to around 18% from about 23%, while P&G has changed its production strategy on the assumption that tax rates would be 28%.

Moving on to the news from stocks in energy sector. As per an article in a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) gas production is forecasted to reach a five-year high next year following the startup of the first phase of the Daman project in the Arabian Sea.

The forecast compares with 23.5 bcm in the fiscal year to end March 2017. ONGC is banking on the Daman offshore project to increase its natural gas output, which has been largely stagnant over the past decade.

Further, ONGC holds a lion's share of the natural gas production, and the company is expected to produce close to 25 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas by the end of next financial year.

ONGC's Natural Gas Production

Reportedly, this boost will help the country's hydrocarbon imports considerably by 10% by the end of 2022. India is a leading importer of energy. The new project should contribute more than 2 to 3 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of gas from the month of May.

Further, India prices its gas almost 60% below imported natural gas, so more cheap domestic gas could also bring down the cost of running stranded power plants and ailing steel mills that account for the biggest chunk of India's soured loans.

ONGC share price opened the day up by 0.5%.

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