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Cautious undertone in Indian mkts
Tue, 21 May Closing

Power, auto and commodity stocks led the pack of losers in an even otherwise tepid trading session today. The indices in Indian equity markets along with the ones in Hong Kong were the top losers in Asia today. The BSE IT index was the only one to end in the positive. While the BSE Sensex closed lower by 112 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 43 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap index lost 0.5% each.

As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened lower. The rupee was trading at Rs 55.24 to the dollar at the time of writing.

As per a business daily, Tata Steel may explore options for selling subsidiary Corus' assets. This would help the company reduce its debt burden and offer some upside to the company's earnings and valuations. However, Tata Steel has no plans to sell equity in Corus and the latter will continue to remain company's 100% subsidiary.

Tata Steel has been struggling to turn its European arm profitable since the time of take over five years ago. The company took an impairment of US$ 1.6 bn in its FY13 balance sheet on the back of weak environment in Europe. By unlocking value of these assets the company could raise around Rs 40 bn. Meanwhile, the steel company, which is seeking to make Corus profitable over the long term, may consider selling UK and Netherland assets. Further, Tata Steel has sold non-core smaller Core European assets over 2 years. It sold Teeside for US$ 467 m in 2011. Between 2007 till date, Tata Steel has seen 30% fall in steel demand in Europe. In past few years the company has taken several austerity measures to cut down growing losses of European operations.

Coming to the retailing sector, the government is planning to allow global retailers such as Walmart and Tesco to set up warehouses, cold storages and source products from small and medium enterprises (SME) in states which have not permitted FDI in the multi-brand retail sector. As per the proposal, no state will stop any foreign player to procure goods or do business with SMEs.

The global retailers have sought clarifications from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on whether they could set up warehouses in states which are against the Centre's retail FDI policy. As per the government FDI policy, 50% of first tranche of the mandatory minimum US$ 100 m FDI would only have to be invested in the back-end infrastructure and not in buying land, existing building or rent. Further a foreign retailer must source 30% of the items that it sells in India from small industries.

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