After a weak outing yesterday, Indian stock markets traded firm throughout the trading session today on the back of intense buying activity across index heavyweights. Momentum continued in final trading hour as well and the indices closed well above the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 197 points (up 1%), the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 63 points (up 1%). The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap also notched gains as they closed higher by 0.1% and 0.5% respectively. Gains were largely seen in oil & gas, metals and auto stocks.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed firm today while European indices have opened on a mixed note. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.30 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Coal India, the world's largest coal miner, is in advanced talks to buy up to 40% stake in Indonesia's Golden Energy Mines. As per a business daily, the deal is valued at between US$ 750 m and US$ 1 bn. Golden Energy is a coal mining subsidiary of energy and infrastructure firm Dian Swastatika Sentosa. The company is estimated to have 400 m tonnes of coal reserves. The company owns 10 coal mining areas across Indonesia including in Sumatra and Kalimantan islands in the world's top exporting nation of coal for power plants.
Indian coal, steel and power firms have been scouting for coal assets overseas to feed power plants at home. The energy-hungry nation aims to halve a near-14% peak-hour power deficit within two years. Power projects of 80,000 MW generation capacities are under construction in the country. The aim is to have all the capacities commissioned by 2017 to meet the targets of the 12th five year plan. However, the government has warned that coal linkages for plants with a combined capacity of 40,000 MW are yet to be obtained. The stock closed higher today.
Food inflation (WPI) continues to pose a problem for the Indian economy. As per a leading business daily, for the week ended May 14, food inflation shot up to 8.55%. This is the highest level in four weeks. The reason for the rise has been due to escalation in prices of fruits, cereals and protein-based items. It must be noted that food inflation was on a declining trend for the previous three weeks. Prices of fruits rose by 32.3%, milk by 5.5% and eggs, meat and fish by 8.2%. The RBI has gone in for several rate hikes so far to bring inflation under control but has not yet been able to bring it within its comfort limits. However, the central bank along with the government, opines that in the months to come, inflationary pressure would be more from core (non-food) items on account of high global prices of commodities, particularly crude.