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Positive Start to the Day
Tue, 18 Oct 09:30 am

Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note with stock market in China and Hong Kong are trading higher by 0.5% and 0.9% respectively.

Stock markets in Europe and the US ended their previous session on a negative note with benchmark indices in UK ending their previous session trading lower by 1%.

The rupee is currently trading at 66.8 per US$.

Indian stock markets have opened the day on a positive note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 126 points (up 0.5%) and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 35 points (up 0.4%). Both, BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.3% each.

Major sectoral indices have opened the day in green with stocks from the metal sector are witnessing maximum buying interest.

As per an article in Livemint, UltraTech Cement reported its results for the quarter ended September 2016. The company's net profits grew by 25.2% YoY to Rs 6.1 billion mainly on the back of higher other income.

The company's volume growth and sales numbers too came in as a disappointment. The volumes grew marginally by 1% YoY during the quarter. Having said, the September quarter is generally weak for every cement company as construction activities come to a halt on the back of the rainy season.

Net sales dropped by 2.5% YoY during the quarter to Rs 57 billion on the back of subdued volumes.

Operating profits grew by 19% YoY during the quarter, aided by higher operating margins. Operating margins grew by 3.8% during the quarter to 24.14%. Reportedly, the improvement in the margins was mainly due to petroleum coke (petcoke) inventory acquired at a lower cost.

However, it is imperative to note that petcoke prices have increased considerably in the recent months and that could lead to a dent in the margins going forward.

The completion of acquisition of cement assets of Jaypee Group coupled with a rise in construction activities in rural and urban areas will be the key things to watch out for going forward. The share price of UltraTech Cement is trading up by 0.6%.

In another news update, estimate by HSBC suggests that stalled projects have contributed to half of the slowdown in India's exports. The bank suggests that around 50% of the slowdown in export is attributable to domestic bottlenecks such as stalled projects. 33% is attributable to a deceleration in global trade while the balance is contributed by wide fluctuations in the exchange rate.

The quantum of stalled projects as a percentage of those under implementation remained at around 12.01%. Such projects have been stalled on account of various issues such as problems over land acquisition, lack of clearances, lack of funds and raw material supply problems.

The slowdown is primarily on account of the weak condition of the private sector enterprises. This can largely be attributed to high indebtedness, weak corporate balance sheets and excess capacities in the recent times.

Considering the weak investments from the private sector space, the government will have to ramp up its spending on infrastructure activities. Nevertheless, with utilisation levels still far from being comfortable, it does seem that the expectations from the government and its impact on India's capex revival may be a little too stretched.

The need of the hour is to strike the right balance and ensure that there are no more hurdles in ramping up infrastructure and addressing structural issues. This would be critical in ensuring a sustained high GDP growth and exports for the country in the longer term.

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Jan 22, 2018 03:33 PM