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Realty, auto stocks pull down markets
Wed, 17 Aug 01:30 pm

The Indian stock market shed all its gains over the last two hours of trade and is now trading marginally in the green. Stocks from the software, FMCG and oil & gas space are trading in the green while those from the realty, auto and banking space are losing the most.

The BSE-Sensex is trading up by 24 points while NSE-Nifty is trading almost flat. The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices are down by 1.2% and 1.6% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.39 to the US dollar.

Realty stocks have been trading in the red with DLF Ltd, Unity Infraprojects and Supreme Infrastructure leading the pack of losers. However, Madhucon Projects and Lok Housing and Constructions are trading firm. As per a leading financial daily, DLF has been slapped with a fine of Rs 6.3 bn by Competition Commission of India (CCI) for misusing its dominant market position along with Haryana government agencies. The company has been alleged of putting the buyers of Gurgaon project at a disadvantage. As per CCI, for Belaire project, the company has constructed 29 floors instead of 19 floors, on the basis of which apartment allottees had booked their respective apartments. As a result of this, the areas and facilities originally earmarked for the apartment allottees are substantially compressed. To make things worse, the project has been abnormally delayed. The apartments were supposed to be delivered to the buyers in 2009. However, it is expected to be completed only by the end of this year. It is also suggested that the company has not deposited the amount collected from allottees in a designated escrow account. There are chances that such funds might be used for any purpose at company's discretion. The company is going through the CCI order and is examining legal options.

Energy stocks have been trading mixed with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) GAIL India and Petronet LNG leading the pack of gainers. However, Gujarat State Petronet and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) are trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, HPCL is in the process of evaluating for acquisition around ten Australian companies with expertise in coal bed methane (CBM) and shale gas. It is looking at small sized companies for building capacity. No further details were disclosed. The company's efforts are aimed at being able to qualify technically when India conducts bidding of shale gas blocks shortly. It is to be noted that the country is finalizing a policy framework for commercial exploitation of domestic shale gas reserves and launching auctions for blocks shortly. India has sought the help of the US Geological Survey to identify areas where such reserves exist, to transfer the technology required to tap these reserves and to finalize an exploration policy. While there are no official estimates of shale gas reserves in India, as per oilfield services provider Schlumberger Ltd, the country has shale gas reserves of between 300 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and 2,100 tcf. Separately, the company plans to invest Rs 30 bn towards exploration and production (E&P) efforts through Prize Petroleum Co. Ltd. The stock of the company is trading flat.

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