Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a positive note and subsequent trading hours saw them oscillate to either side of Thursday's close with the indices eventually closing the day in the green. While the BSE Sensex closed higher by 38 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 17 points. Both the BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap closed on a positive note. Maximum buying interest was seen in Power and Realty stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed in the green. European indices have also opened firm. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.87 to the dollar at the time of writing.
According to a leading financial daily, COMPAT (Competition Appellate Tribunal) has directed cement companies to pay 10% of the Rs 63 bn penalty imposed on them by fair trade regulator CCI for forming cartel in the sector. The tribunal also clarified that if the cement firms fail to deposit the amount within a 30 day time-frame, their petition would be dismissed. The matter would now come up for final hearing in August. CCI had found cement manufacturers in violation of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 which deals with anti-competitive agreements, including cartels. The cement companies charged with cartelisation include Lafarge India, India Cement, JP Associates, Binani Cement, Ambuja Cement, Madras Cement and J K Cement.
ITC has announced its results for the quarter ended March 2013. The company has clocked an 18.8% YoY rise in revenues. All the business segments, barring paperboards, paper & packaging segment, registered double-digit growth. Non-cigarette FMCG and agri segments clocked the fastest growth of over 20% each. The company has been able to sustain its operating margin at 32.8% due to a controlled rise in other expenses and staff costs as a proportion of sales. Backed by price-hikes to counter excise duty increase, the cigarette segment recorded a 4.2% YoY rise in EBIT margin. Even the non-cigarette FMCG business turned in the black whereas the paper segment was able to maintain EBIT margin during the quarter. However, hotels and agri businesses saw their profitability erode. The net profits were up by 19.4% aided by a modest rise in depreciation outgo for the quarter.