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Listless Day of Trading
Tue, 23 Aug Closing

After trading flat during the noon session, Indian equity markets witnessed some buying pressure and finished just above the dotted line. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty finished flat. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap and S&P BSE Small Cap finished down by 0.3% and 0.1% respectively. Sectoral indices finished mixed with IT and banking stocks leading the gains. Losses were largely seen in power, oil & gas stocks.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.16%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 was off 0.61%. The Hang Seng was flat. European markets are trading higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 0.67%, while Germany's DAX is up 0.65% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.46%.

The rupee was trading at 67.09 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 46.95 at the time of writing.

According to an article in The Economic Times, India's import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shrunk for the first time this year in July. The country imported 1,960 million metric standard cubic meters (mmscm) of LNG in July, 4% less than the 2,037 mmscm of gas it imported in July 2015.

This is a sharp fall from 62% growth in February, and above 40% growth each in March, April, and May. The average LNG import growth between January and July was about 30%. As per the report, between April and July this year, the local gas consumption has expanded 6.5%, while LNG import has risen 22%.

Gas is one of the cleanest conventional fuels. More recently, India has been trying to use gas more often in industries, vehicles and homes as international pressure mounts to lower carbon footprint and as a global collapse in prices makes it more affordable. The spot LNG prices are trading between US$5 and US$6 per unit. The spot prices have declined about three-fourths since the beginning of 2014. Excess supply of LNG is expected to keep prices lower until 2020.

Somewhere, during last year Petronet LNG signed a long term deal with Qatar, which allowed prices to emulate spot more closely. This helped local consumers to buy more of Qatar's gas at cheaper rates.

But a slide in import in July shows, the demand for natural gas in India may be limited as the industry can easily find cheaper competing fuels. Many power producers are averse to using natural gas much, as they aren't able to find customers for the expensive electricity generated by natural gas.

As per an article in a leading financial daily, Nestle India's noodle brand Maggi has retained its leading position by clocking 56% share of the market in June this year on the back of strong marketing campaigns and introduction of new variants.

This was seen even after FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) imposed a ban on Maggi for its harmful lead content.

Nestle's Maggi witnessed its first staggering climb in December last year when it was re-launched into the market after a five-month ban. Maggi had 10.9% of the market share when it made its comeback on November. Within one month, Nestle India registered a climb to 35.2% in December. In March 2016, it had 51% market share (Subscription Required).

Earlier this year, Nestle India launched up to 25 products across various categories in a day to fend off competition.

Reportedly, Nestle's non-Maggi portfolio growth turned positive in the second quarter of 2016 ending June and going ahead, the company will focus on accelerating growth in this vertical.

Nestle finished the day up by 0.2% on the BSE.

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Jan 19, 2018 (Close)