Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a firm note. However, in the subsequent hours, selling activity intensified across index heavyweights and pushed the indices into the red. Thereafter, although the indices managed to recoup all their losses, profit booking in the later hours once again took toll. While the BSE-Sensex today closed lower by 60 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 24 points. The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap were not spared either and lost around 1% each. Losses were largely seen in banking and auto stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 61.78 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Private banking stocks closed in the red today with the key losers being HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank. HDFC Bank has announced results for the second quarter ended September 2013. As reported in a leading business daily, the bank's profit growth at 27% YoY was the first time growth had fallen below 30% in a decade. This was on account of losses in its investment portfolio, higher operating expenses and worsening asset quality. Non-performing loans as a percentage of total assets stood at 1.1% as compared to 0.9% a year earlier. Having said that, the bank does not see significant pressure on margins and asset quality. The restructured loan book of the bank is also the lowest in the sector. However, with an employee base of around 67,000, HDFC Bank's cost efficiency will have to be under close watch.
Most Energy stocks closed in the red today with the key losers being Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Gujarat Gas and ONGC. As per a leading business daily, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has bagged two onshore blocks of the 18 that were bid out by the Myanmar government for exploration. According to an Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) paper, Myanmar has natural gas reserves of around 2.54 trillion cubic metres (tcm) and has emerged as a major supplier of gas to its neighbours. This is a positive development for ONGC with the addition of another asset to OVL's growing portfolio. Overall, OVL has a portfolio of 32 assets across 16 countries. It must be noted that India imports around 70% of the oil that it consumes. Hence, it has become important for the country to become self reliant as far as energy is concerned and acquiring stakes in oil fields abroad is one such step that the oil sector has been undertaking.