The Indian indices remained largely volatile today as they oscillated to either side of yesterday's close. Any foray into the dotted line provided futile as selling once again pushed the indices into the red. In the final trading hour, the indices closed marginally in the red. While the BSE Sensex closed lower by around 17 points, the NSE Nifty lost around 7 points. The BSE Midcap and the BSE Smallcap, however, bucked the trend and notched gains of 1% each. While losses were largely seen in metals, and oil & gas stocks, auto and healthcare stocks closed firm.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 46.63 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Steel stocks closed weak today with the key losers being Sesa Goa, Tata Steel, JSW Steel and SAIL. As per a leading business daily, steel companies are raising the prices of steel on the back of firm global rates and rising input costs. For instance, SAIL has cut the discount on flat products by ` 1,000 a tonne. While JSW Steel has raised prices by 3-4%, Ispat has raised prices by' 1,000 per tonne. Although demand has remained stable, inventories have dropped sharply. Further, a lot of demand has come from the auto sector which has been witnessing robust growth in volumes. Over the next 2-3 years, steel demand in India is likely to be strong given the government's thrust on infrastructure spending.
As per a leading business daily, M&M is planning to launch a passenger vehicle variant under the 'Maxximo' platform over the next 12 months. For this, the company has already invested ' 3 bn at its Chakan plant near Pune. The company is also working on introducing new vehicles. Further, the company intends to ramp up its production facility from the current 2,000 vehicles per month to 3,000. Plans on the anvil also include setting up a tractor facility in South India which will be for the farm division. The company has already launched Mahindra ‘Maxximo' in other parts of the country and these vehicles have garnered a market share of 23% in the mini-truck category. The stock closed firm today.
Food inflation has refused to let up. India's food and fuel inflation rose in the third week of August, maintaining pressure on the RBI to continue with its policy tightening measures. The food price index has a weightage of over 15% in the wider wholesale price index. And it rose an annual 10.86% in the week to August 21, more than its 10.05% rise in the previous week. This is despite good monsoons so far. This means that a further rise in interest rates by the RBI cannot be ruled out. Having said that, the central bank expects the inflationary pressures to ease by the end of the fiscal.