Indian stock markets began the day's proceedings on a firm note but lost some steam as the day progressed although the indices managed to stay above the dotted line. Buying activity once again intensified in the afternoon session and ensured that the indices closed well into the positive. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 117 points (up 0.6%), the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 35 points (up 0.6%). The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap, however, were at the receiving end as they closed marginally lower. Gains were largely seen in IT, healthcare and auto stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed firm today while European indices have also opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 44.06 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Cement stocks closed mixed today. While ACC and Shree Cement found favour, Ambuja Cement and India Cements were at the receiving end. Ambuja Cements declared its results for the second quarter and half year ended June 2011 (December ending company). On a standalone basis, the company's net sales rose by 6.1% YoY during 2QCY11. The company witnessed a 2.2% YoY decline in sales volume to 5.29 m tonnes during the quarter. However, improvement in cement realisations helped it register a positive topline growth. However, operating profits dropped by 3.4% YoY on the back of an increase in operating expenses. Raw material, power and fuel costs, which accounted for 28% of net sales in 2QCY10, rose to 33% in 2QCY11. There was a steep rise in coal prices along with higher grid power tariff. Interest charges were higher during the quarter. As a result, net profits declined by 11.2% YoY during the period. The net profit margin declined from 19.1% in 2QCY10 to 16% in 2QCY11.
Essel Propack also announced its results for the first quarter ended June 2011 Consolidated revenues for Essel Propack grew by 8.4% YoY during the quarter. This was driven by volume growth for the tubes business across all the regions. However, the decline in volumes for the flexible laminates offset the growth to some extent. Operating margins declined marginally to 16% as compared to the 16.9% seen during the same period last year. This was due to higher input costs which offset the savings in the employee costs (as a percentage of sales). Net profit increased by 8.5% YoY during the quarter. This was due to lower forex losses, which offset the impact of higher interest costs as well as higher depreciation charges. Tax outflow was higher for the company as effective tax rates rose to 41.8% during 1QFY12 as compared to 39.9% seen in 1QFY11. The stock closed higher today.