Keen buying interest in bluechips across sectors kept the benchmark Indian indices well above the dotted line for the entire session today. Banking, software and commodity stocks led the pack of gainers. Selective profit booking was however seen in pharma, FMCG and cement stocks. The Chinese market was the only one to close in the red in the Asian region. European markets have also opened in the positive.
The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty closed with gains of around 180 points (1.0%) and 55 points (1.0%) respectively. Mid and small cap stocks also followed suit. The BSE Midcap index closed higher by 0.9%, while the BSE Smallcap index closed with gains of around 0.6%.
The BSE-Bankex (up 1.3%) was amongst the top gainers today. This was on the back of speculations over M&A activities brewing in the Indian banking space. As per business dailies, at least 3 private sector banks are on the lookout for acquiring smaller banks. Other non banking players are also in the fray. They are hopeful of new banking licenses that the Finance Ministry had proposed to offer. Banks would however need to ensure that the M&A candidates are homogeneous in terms of balance sheet quality and can complement each other strengths. Leading private sector banks including ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank and Yes Bank locked in gains in excess of 1% today.
It seems South Korean steel maker Posco’s dreams of setting up Indian operations will finally see the light of the day. As per a business daily, SAIL is likely to sign a joint-venture agreement with the steel major in August to set up a plant in the eastern town of Bokaro. Posco has been trying to get a steel plant running in India for the past five years. Its ambitious US$ 10 bn steel project in Orissa has failed to get off the ground due to land acquisition problems. The South Korean company is banking on SAIL's experience of running plants in the country to gain a foothold in the Indian market. Steel demand in India is expected to grow at more than 10% a year in the next decade.
SAIL will also offer 2,500 acre of land it owns in Bokaro for the joint venture plant. The two companies plan to set up a steel plant with a production capacity of 1.5 m metric tons a year, which could be gradually doubled. The plant will have a provision to make up to 400,000 tons a year of specialised steel products for the power sector.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the latest to forecast slower economic recovery in developed markets. In its updated World Economic Outlook, the economic review body predicts world GDP growth to decline to 4.3% in 2011. This is from the revised figure of 4.6% for 2010. A cutback in government stimulus spending next year, slower growth in manufacturing, fiscal consolidation in Europe and falling consumer confidence in the US and Europe are the key reasons. IMF also believes the higher growth rates in emerging economies like India and China may sustain concerns over these economies overheating.