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Sensex Opens Flat; Axis Bank Falls 1.7% on Weak Q4 Results
Thu, 27 Apr 09:30 am

Asian markets were mostly lower in morning trade following the lower close on Wall Street as investors analyzed details on U.S. President Donald Trump's highly-anticipated tax reform plans. The Nikkei 225 is off 0.24% while the Hang Seng is down 0.05%. The Shanghai Composite is down 0.47%. Meanwhile, stock markets in Europe closed their previous session on a positive note.

Meanwhile, Indian share markets have opened the day on a flat note. BSE Sensex is trading higher by 7 points and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 8 points. Meanwhile, S&P BSE Mid Cap and S&P BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. Gains are largely seen in realty stocks, auto stocks and consumer durables stocks.

The rupee is trading at 64.00 against the US$.

Axis Bank Ltd reported a 43% decline in net profit in the March quarter from a year ago as the private sector lender raised provisions for bad loans. The company reported a net profit of Rs 12.25 billion as compared to Rs 21.54 billion a year ago.

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The bank's gross and net non-performing assets as a share of its total loan book recovered slightly from the December quarter numbers, but were still far higher than a year ago. Axis Bank plans to close its Rs 94.36 billion watch list of bad loans by the end of 2018.

Axis Bank share price opened the trading day down by 1.7% on the BSE.

Meanwhile, as per an article in The Livemint, Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd (HDFC) is in talks with online classifieds company Quikr India Pvt. Ltd to sell its brokerage business HDFC Realty and its digital business HDFC Red in an all-stock deal.

HDFC share price opened down by 0.8%.

In news from cement sector, ACC is expecting a faster growth in the second half of the year on rise in in government spending on infrastructure projects and possibility of good monsoon this season.

ACC reported a jump of 3.77% in its cement sales to 6.60 million tonnes in the January-March quarter. The company is expecting the overall consumption of cement to increase.

The company is expected to focus on leveraging its legacies and innate strengths to achieve the highest possible levels of operating performance and cost competitiveness. The company stated that the central government is also providing thrust on the rural sector, infrastructural development, housing as announced in the Union Budget for 2017-18 and this is expected to boost the overall investment climate.

Last week, ACC had reported a 9.28% increase in its total income to Rs 36.63 billion for January-March period although its net profit had declined 8.90% to Rs 2.11 billion.

The cement sector which grew at over 6% in the first three quarters of FY 2016-17 had tapered off in the last quarter impacted by demonetisation.

ACC share price opened the trading day up by 0.2%

While, cement stocks began on a positive note with India cements share price and Shree Cements share price leading the gains.

Moving on to news from steel sector. Crude steel output in India has increased by 10.7% to 25.76 million tonnes (MT) in the quarter January-March 2017, as against 23.26 MT in the year- ago period. As per the latest data by the World Steel Association, world crude steel production was 410.54 MT in the first quarter of 2017, up by 5.7% as compared to 388.31 MT in the same period in 2016.

The report further said that during the first quarter, China witnessed a mere 4.6% growth in crude steel production but the world's largest producer of the metal retained the top position with a production of 201.09 MT as against 192.31 MT in the three month period a year ago. It also noted that Japan witnessed 1.5% rise in production at 26.22 MT during the quarter under review as against 25.83 MT a year ago.

In March 2017, global crude steel production for the 67 countries was up by 4.6% to 144.95 MT as compared to the 138.55 in the same period a year ago.

The report noted that India's crude steel production for March 2017 was 9 MT, an increase of 8.2% as against 8.31 MT in the same month a year ago. On a month-on-month basis, the country posted a growth of 11.11% in its crude steel production at 9 MT in March as against 8.1 MT in February 2017. It also pointed out that India's 8.2% growth rate for crude steel output in March was way ahead than China and Japan's 1.8% during the month.

Meanwhile, the government's proposal to give domestic steel companies a preference in government projects should protect them from cheaper imports. In February, domestic steel output rose by 12.9% YoY, as large private steel producers such as Tata Steel and JSW Steel ramped up output. Imports during the first eleven months of FY17 dropped by 39% YoY.

No Takers For Domestic Steel

But the bigger concern is weak consumption growth. The consumption data over the past few months clearly show that there are no takers for domestic steel. So steel makers have been forced to export more, with overseas shipments up by 78% YoY in the fiscal till February.

Steel stocks began on a mixed note with Bhushan Steel and Maharashtra Seamless leading the losses.

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Mar 22, 2018 (Close)