The markets made one last ditch attempt during the closing hours to break into the positive territory but failed to do so and consequently, the Indian stock market indices closed the day in the red on yet another occasion. While BSE-Sensex lost in the region of around 70 points, decline on the NSE-Nifty came in at around 20 points (down 0.44%). BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices suffered even more and declined in the region of 1% each. Advance to decline ratio on the Sensex was pretty much even with one stock gaining for every one that closed lower.
While Asian indices closed mixed today, Europe was seen trading mostly in the positive. The rupee was trading at Rs 49.4 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Even as hopes of thrashing out a solution for troubled European banks became stronger, the mood in Asia, including India was not that upbeat. While Indian stocks did open the day in the positive and went further up, it quickly lost momentum and circled around the breakeven point for the rest of the trading session. This clearly indicates that the market is lacking direction right now and the quarterly results that start trickling in next week onwards will perhaps give the investors a definite direction at least in the short term. Long term though, India's growth story remains intact we believe.
National Alluminium Comopany Ltd. (NALCO), one of India's leading producers and exporters of alumina and aluminium witnessed buying interest on the bourses today and closed higher by almost 1%. What drove the optimism in the counter was a development about the company inking an agreement for setting up a half a million tonne aluminium smelter and a 1,250 MW coal-based power plant in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province. The project will entail an investment of the order of about US$ 4.5 bn. The proposed plant would be set up under a JV whereby Nalco will hold a 75% stake and the rest will be acquired by a local mining firm. While Nalco will provide the raw materials to the plant, the coal will be procured from the local mines. It should be noted that the company is currently facing a production shortage of about Rs 10 m per day on account of coal scarcity.
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) was another large cap that defied the general market sentiment today and edged higher by around 1%. The reason for this appeared to be the company's proposed foray into the affordable housing space through its realty arm, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd. The company is targeting homes priced upto Rs 10 lakh across many cities in the country. It refused to provide further details on the same. Mahindra Lifespace Developers is currently focused on middle and high-end housing segment. It is developing various projects in the National Capital Region, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune.