While selling pressure was witnessed across the board, the Indian markets featured as the second biggest losers in Asia today, after Hong Kong. Profit booking in, power, infrastructure and commodity stocks dragged the key indices in Indian equity markets lower since early trades. While the BSE-Sensex closed lower by 286 points (down 1.5%), the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 87 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap index lost about 1.5% each.
As regards global markets, while Asian indices closed deep in the red today the European indices have also opened lower. The rupee was trading at Rs 60.38 to the dollar at the time of writing.
In a bid to offset rising input cost due to depreciation of rupee, engineering major Voltas has raised its air conditioners' prices by up to 5%. The company already has increased prices for some models and other models would follow suit in the near future. Voltas' ACs are priced at a range of Rs 13,000 to Rs 50,000 across different models. The company had increased prices of its products in March this year. Last year too, Voltas had to increase prices twice due to cost pressures. Voltas' order book has declined by 12.2% YoY and 13.4% YoY for FY12 and FY13 respectively. Further, influx of competitors in air conditioning segment is likely to hurt its earnings.
As per the Finance Minister, PSU banks will aim to open more than 8,000 branches in FY14. This is in pursuit of the government's plans to directly transfer cash benefits to bank accounts of beneficiaries by expanding the banking network. Currently, more than 40% of the 1.2 bn population is not covered by the banking system. Financial inclusion, particularly in rural areas is expected to accelerate the direct cash transfer scheme. For the PSU banks, however, the addition of franchise will mean higher operating costs in the near term.