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Final Hour Sell-Off
Tue, 26 Jul Closing

After trading flat for the majority part of the day, Indian equity markets witnessed selling activity in the final hour of trade to finish lower amid mixed international markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed lower by 119 points, the NSE Nifty finished lower by 45 points. The S&P BSE Midcap finished up by 0.2%, while the S&P BSE Small Cap finished down by 0.7% respectively. Losses were largely seen in realty and auto stocks.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.14% and the Hang Seng rose 0.62%. The Nikkei 225 lost 1.43%. European markets are trading mixed today. The FTSE 100 is up 0.24%, while the DAX gains 0.14%. The CAC 40 is off 0.16%.

The rupee was trading at 67.37 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 42.77 at the time of writing.

FMCG stocks finished the day on a negative note with Godrej Consumer and Lakshmi Overseas Industries leading the losses. According to an article in The Economic Times, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) plans to launch a range of baby care products under its Dove brand in the next few months. The company will be launching a range of baby care products under Dove to compete head-to-head with the market leader, Johnson & Johnson in the Rs 40 billion market. HUL's decision is part of a strategy to expand Dove, which had transformed itself from being just a bathing bar in 1993 to shampoo, deodorants, lotions, body and face wash in the last decade.

HUL has a 50-50 joint venture with Kimberly-Clark that has been making and selling brands such as Kotex and Huggies since 1995. However, the company last week said it plans to divest its entire stake in the venture to focus on core products.

As per the reports, Dove has been leading HUL's agenda of moving towards expensive products. From annual sales of Rs 1 billion in 2007, the brand's revenues have risen to about Rs 15 billion, becoming the fastest-growing brand in the company's portfolio.

Demand for baby and child-specific products are expected to remain high due to a host of factors, including rising disposable incomes, the increasing number of nuclear families in urban centers, rising awareness of baby products, and the expected rapid growth of modern retailers. Baby personal products category has reported huge potential as it largely remains under-penetrated despite an estimated 26 million children born every year in the country. HUL finished the day down by 0.5% on the BSE.

Moving on to news from the steel sector. According to a leading financial daily, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has requested the government to continue with the minimum import price (MIP) on steel. With this step, the company aims to check cheap imports in the country in order to protect the domestic steel industry.

In a recent meeting with new steel minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, the company said that continuation of the trade barrier was required as global markets are highly volatile and threat of cheap import persists.

Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power Limited and others have already stressed the need for continuation of the MIP. Steel imports to India reportedly increased to 12.7 MT, at an average of over 1 MT a month, in 2015-16 from 10.2 MT in 2014-15 and 5.7 MT in 2013-14. China, Japan and Korea accounted for three-fourth of total steel imports last fiscal (Subscription Required).

The steel ministry hopes that anti-dumping duty on both Hot Rolled Coil and Cold Rolled Coil would be imposed before scheduled expiry of MIP on August 4.

SAIL reported Rs 41.37 billion loss in 2015-16, its first in 13 years. The average net sales realization for the company in the last fiscal was at Rs 28,150 per tonne, down from Rs 35,341 a tonne in the 2014-15 fiscal.

Buying was seen across majority of the steel stocks with Jindal Steel & Power Ltd and JSW Steel leading the gains.

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Feb 19, 2018 (Close)