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Flat End to the Day
Wed, 27 Jul Closing

After witnessing a very volatile day, with the indices hovering around the dotted line, the Indian markets ended the day on a flat note. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 48 points, the NSE Nifty finished higher by 25 points. The S&P BSE Midcap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. Sectoral indices finished mixed with banking and auto stocks leading the gains. Meanwhile, FMCG and pharma stocks witnessed majority of the selling activity.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 gained 1.72% and the Hang Seng rose 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite lost 1.9%. European markets are broadly trading higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 1.44%, while Germany's DAX is up 0.73% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.28%.

The rupee was trading at 67.24 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 42.59 at the time of writing.

According to a leading financial daily, the Quebec government will invest Canadian $175 million (about US$ 133 million) in Tata Steel's direct shipping iron ore project. Tata Steel Minerals Canada (TSMC) is a joint venture established in October 2010 by the Tata Steel and New Millennium Iron Corp with the former owning 94%.

The financial contribution includes equity stake of 125 million Canadian dollars through Capital Mining Hydrocarbons Fund and a loan of 50 million Canadian dollars from Investissement Quebec, acting as an agent of the government. Tata Steel Group has reportedly invested in excess of Canadian $1 billion in the joint venture.

TSMC is also developing the iron ore project deposits located in Newfoundland and Labrador and forecasts an annual production of over 6 million tonnes (MT) of iron ore.

Meanwhile, Tata Steel reported a marginal growth in its sales at 2.15 MT for the first quarter ended June 30. The company had clocked sales of 2.14 MT during the same period in 2015-16 fiscal. The steelmaker's crude steel production grew by 7% to 2.52 MT during April-June 2016-17 against 2.35 MT during the same quarter in 2015-16. Tata Steel finished the day down by 1.3% on the BSE.

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

Moving on to news from the energy sector. According to an article in The Economic Times, ONGC and Cairn India have demanded halving of cess on crude oil from the government on domestic crude oil production.

As per the reports, ONGC paid Rs 4,500 per tonne cess on crude oil it produced from almost all its fields including prime Mumbai High, till February 2016. In Budget for 2016-17, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley changed the cess from specific levy to an ad valorem rate of 20% of crude oil price. However, at the current oil prices, ONGC and other oil firms like Cairn are paying more than Rs 4,500 per tonne cess.

The move was to give relief to upstream firms but with oil prices inching upwards, the process has turned out to be reverse. ONGC and other upstream players have reportedly sought reduction in cess to 8 to 10% as the purpose of Budget exercise to rationalize the cess has been defeated even at current moderate crude prices.

In a low crude oil price regime, cess imposes a significant economic burden on producers. In addition to cess, other statutory levies like royalty (10-20%), VAT (5%) and Octroi (4.5%) are also payable on production/sale of crude oil.

Oil & gas stocks finished the day on a mixed note with HPCL and Chennai Petroleum leading the gains. Meanwhile, Cairn India and MRPL led the losses.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)