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Equity markets languishing in the red
Wed, 23 May 01:30 pm

Although the Indian equity markets shed a portion of their losses during the previous hour of trade, the broader markets still continued to trade below the dotted line. Selling activity is being witnessed in stocks across the board with stocks form the consumer durables, auto and power spaces leading the pack of losers.

The Sensex today is trading lower by 156 points and NSE-Nifty is trading down by 28 points. BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices are trading lower by 0.6% each. The rupee is trading at 55.98 to the US dollar.

Stocks of most of the cement companies are trading weak with Ambuja Cement, Madras Cement and Ultratech Cement leading the pack. With the monsoon season just around the corner, cement prices were as it is expected to cool off due to the expected slack in demand. However, it has been reported that cement prices have corrected by 4% to 5% due to lower demand and a buildup of high inventory levels. And that too earlier than what was anticipated. After holding out for nearly two quarters, prices have corrected across India. It is believed that prices in the northern region reported the highest drop of around 7% from the high this year while they remain stable in south. However, prices rose only in the eastern belt.

Stocks of engineering companies are trading weak led by Voltas, Blue Star and Crompton Greaves. After a lull period during the first half of FY12, business prospects for power transmission and distribution equipment manufacturers did seem to pick up during the second half. In fact, during the quarter ended March 2012, there was a stream of new orders that came in. However, it is believed that the outlook for the Indian companies is not very bright considering a lot of the key players have lost market share to their Chinese counterparts or even to new players within India. Some of these companies include ABB, Siemens, Crompton Greaves and KEC International. The competitive scenario is so high. For example - the Chinese transformer manufacturers bagged close to 40% of the orders awarded by Power Grid Corporation India Ltd. With such types of developments happening Indian companies lost out on market share. For example, Crompton Greaves' share in the 765 Kv segment stood at 12%, while Siemens' share fell to 3% (from 12%). ABB's share dropped from 7% to 3%. FY13 will be an interesting year as engineering companies battle with various issues such as slow order inflow and high inflationary and interest rate environment.

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