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Indian share markets open firm
Wed, 17 Oct 09:30 am

All major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with stock markets in Japan (up 1.5%) and Hong Kong (up 1%) leading the pack of gainers in the region. However, markets in Indonesia (up 0.5%) and Hong Kong (up 0.5%) are trading firm. The Indian share market indices have also opened the day in the green. Stocks in the realty, healthcare and capital goods space are leading the gains.

The Sensex today is up by around 60 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 14 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by 0.6% each. The rupee is trading at Rs 52.71 to the US dollar.

Cement stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Birla Corporation, Mangalam Cement and Shree Cement leading the gains. However, Ambuja Cements, ACC Ltd and Madras Cements are facing selling pressure. Leading north Indian cement player Shree Cement has announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 2012. During the quarter, the company's net sales grew by 55.4% year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 13,238 m. Operating profits (EBITDA) surged by 96.6% YoY as all major cost heads witnessed a decline barring power and fuel costs. Other income increased by 43.4% YoY to Rs 292 m. While interest costs increased by 16% YoY to Rs 543 m, depreciation charges dipped by 41.9% YoY to Rs 942 m. Healthy operating and non-operating performance led the bottomline to zoom up by 492.7% YoY to Rs 2,281 m. Net profit margins improved to 17.2% during the quarter against 4.5% in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.

Oil and gas stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Gujarat State Petronet Corporation (GSPC), Essar Oil and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, energy companies that win exploration blocks in future are likely to be insulated from rigorous CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) scrutiny and bureaucratic interference. However, they would have to share their profits with the government right from the time they commence production. It must be noted that under the current system, the companies are first allowed to recover their costs. As per the proposed changes, private firms will be able to carry on business without having to approach the oil ministry regularly for clearances of decisions or to submit details of incurred expenditure. If these changes are approved by the Cabinet, it will align India's exploration regime with the system prevailing in the developed economies. The oil ministry believes that switching to this production-linked payment (PLP) system is desirable because it would significantly bring down government intervention in the business. However, many oil companies have opposed the change. Oil minister Jaipal Reddy has said that the government would launch the tenth New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-X) round by the end of the 2012 after necessary modifications are made.

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