Indian equity markets languished deep into the red throughout the trading session today as persistent selling activity across index heavyweights prevailed. While the BSE Sensex today closed lower by 61 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 13 points. While the BSE Mid Cap was not spared either and closed 1% lower, the BSE Small Cap bucked the trend and closed marginally up. Losses were largely seen in auto, IT and healthcare stocks.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed in the red today while European indices have also opened weak. The rupee was trading at Rs 63.47 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Energy stocks closed mixed today. While Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Castrol found favour, Gujarat Gas and Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, the steady fall of the rupee against the dollar is expected to not only raise the fuel subsidy bill but also impact the credit quality of oil companies. The latter especially will be affected as the government is likely to ask them to share a higher fuel subsidy burden as it did in the June 2013 quarter. According to a report by Moody's, the total fuel subsidies actually declined in April-June 2013. But because of the way the burden is shared out, the portion borne by the marketing and upstream companies rose overall, while that by the government fell. This does not bode well for the oil companies which are already bearing the burden of higher oil prices on account of the depreciating rupee.
Power stocks also closed mixed today. While Power Grid and Neyveli Lignite closed firm, Tata Power and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) closed weak. As per a leading business daily, power companies may import 82 million tonne (MT) coal in the current fiscal to meet raw material requirements. The Central Electricity Authority has import target of 50 MT coal for 25 power utilities to meet the shortfall in the domestic availability. In addition to this, 32 MT coal was assessed to be imported by power utilities for plants designed on imported coal. In the meanwhile, Coal India has signed 82 fuel supply agreements (FSAs) for supply of 131 MT coal. The agreements are expected to cater to 34,793 MW of power capacity. Further, according to a latest government decision, Coal India will meet 65-75% of the coal demand during the current Five Year Plan for power plants commissioned between April 2009 and March 2015. The rest will be met through imports.