The Indian markets have started today's session on a negative note. The benchmark indices opened below the breakeven mark and soon plunged further. They have not managed to pare their losses since then. Other key Asian markets are in the red with South Korea (down 4%) leading the pack of losers. The US markets closed lower by 1.2% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading weak with banking, auto, and software majors facing the brunt of selling activity. The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 219 points, while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 66 points. Selling interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading lower by 0.6% and 0.8% respectively. The rupee is trading at 46.99 to the US dollar.
Shipping stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include Mercator Lines and ABG Shipyard. GE Shipping has announced its FY10 results. The company posted a 25% YoY decline in consolidated net sales during FY10, led by an extremely weak performance during the first nine-month period due to lower freight rates and demand in both the tanker and dry bulk segments. Sales dropped by 1% YoY during 4QFY10. Operating margins fell substantially to 25.4% in FY10, from 42.8% in FY09. This is largely due to forex losses during the year, as compared to forex gains earned in FY09. Led by weaker sales and operating margins, lesser gains on sales of ships, and higher interest charges, the company's net profits for FY10 fell by 64% YoY. The company has declared a dividend of Rs 8 per share.
Power stocks have opened the day on a negative note. Losers here include NTPC and NHPC. As per a leading business daily, NTPC has requested the government to convene the meeting of the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on gas allocation soon. It is seeking an immediate supply of Reliance Industries' KG basin gas for expansion of its plants. The power generation major also wants its case to be considered separately from Anil Ambani's RNRL, whose case for cheaper gas was rejected by the Supreme Court recently. This move is being backed by the power ministry which has prepared an agenda paper to support NTPC's case. It may be noted that NTPC had floated a global tender inviting bids for supplying gas for its expansion plants at Kawas and Gandhar in Gujarat. Reliance Industries had quoted a price of US$ 2.34 per m British thermal units (mBtu) for supplying 12 m standard cubic meters of gas per day for 17 years. Subsequently, the EGoM had approved a price of US$ 4.2 per mBtu for KG basin gas, giving rise to disputes.