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Indian share markets open weak
Fri, 24 Aug 09:30 am

All major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in Hong Kong (down 1.2%), South Korea (down 1.1%) and Japan (down 1.1%) leading the losses in the region. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day on a weak note. Stocks in the realty and technology space are leading the pack of losers.

The Sensex today is down by around 38 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 23 points (0.4%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 55.39 to the US dollar.

Cement stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Shree Cement, Chettinad Cement and India Cement trading firm. However, JK Lakshmi Cement, Madras Cement and Mangalam Cement are facing selling pressure. Shree Cement has announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 2012. Net sales during the quarter stood at Rs 14,553 m, a rise of 42.9% over the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year. Operating costs surged by 85.7% year-on-year (YoY) as most cost heads, barring freight and forwarding expenses, reported some moderation. Operating profit margins improved significantly to 33.1% during the quarter, an increase of 760 basis points (7.6%) YoY. Other income increased by 103% during the quarter. While depreciation charges declined by 48.8% YoY, interest expenses were almost flat. A healthy mix of strong operating and non-operating performance led the bottomline to shoot up by 539% YoY. Net margins during the quarter stood at 24.2% against 5.4% in the quarter ended June 2011.

Oil and gas stocks have opened the day on a mixed note as well with Oil India, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) trading in the red. However, Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) are trading firm. As per a leading financial daily, the combined borrowings of state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and BPCL have shot up by 24% to Rs 1,570 bn from 1,270 bn as of 31st March 2012. While HPCL's net worth stood at Rs 131.2 bn at the end of financial year 2011-12 (FY12), the same has deteriorated to Rs 38.7 bn as of 30th June 2012. The company's debt to equity ratio has shot up to 9.81 times from 2.27 times as of 31st March 2012. It must be noted that the debt burden has increased substantially on account of government's delay in providing cash compensation for selling fuel below market rates. The reason the government has been delaying the cash compensation is because it is still not convinced about the legitimacy of the Rs 320 bn subsidy demand by oil marketing companies.

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