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Indian share markets open weak
Tue, 23 Apr 09:30 am

Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in China (down 2.1%) and Hong Kong (down 1.2%) leading the losses. The Indian share markets indices have also opened the day on a weak note. Stocks in the banking and capital goods space are leading the losses. However, information technology and metal stocks are trading firm.

The Sensex today is down by around 64 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 21 points (0.4%). However, mid and small cap stocks are trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 53.94 to the US dollar.

Cement stocks have opened the day on a weak note with JK Lakshmi Cement, Ambuja Cements and Birla Corporation leading the losses. Leading Indian cement maker UltraTech Cement has announced its financial results for the quarter and financial year ended March 2013. During the quarter (4QFY13) the company reported standalone net sales of Rs 53,892 m, marginally higher by 1% over the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year. The muted growth has been on account of almost flat growth in cement volume sales. Operating profits stood at Rs 11,993 m, lower by 5.5% year-on-year (YoY). The drop in operating profits is attributable to higher input and logistics costs. The effective tax rate was also higher by 730 basis points (7.3%) YoY during the quarter. As a result, net profits dropped by 16.3% YoY to Rs 7,262 m. Net profit margins declined from 16.3% in 4QFY12 to 13.5% in 4QFY13. During the full financial year 2012-13 (FY13), the company reported consolidated sales of Rs 211,561 m and net profits of Rs 26,777 m, both higher by 10.9% YoY and 11.4% YoY respectively.

Oil & gas stocks have also opened the day on a weak note with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Cairn India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) leading the losses. Several major infrastructure projects had hit major roadblocks on account policy bottlenecks. In a bid to fast-track mega infrastructure projects, the government had set up a Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI). As per a leading financial daily, the CCI gave the green signal to several infrastructure projects in the power and the oil & gas sector on Monday. Put together, the projects entail investments of about Rs 580 bn. In the oil & gas sector, work had halted on 31 exploration and production blocks due to security restrictions enforced by the Ministry of Defence. Of the 31 blocks, the CCI has cleared 25 blocks. While 9 blocks have been fully cleared, 16 blocks have been cleared with specific conditions. This has freed up about investments of about US$ 4.61 bn (approximately Rs 250 bn). The CCI has also cleared 13 power projects that were stalled due to various reasons. These 13 projects together entail investments of about Rs 330 bn.

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