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Metals drag down Indian equity markets
Mon, 22 Oct 09:30 am

Barring Hong Kong (up 0.1%), all major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a weak note with stock markets in Japan (down 0.8%) and South Korea (down 0.8%) leading the pack of losers in the region. The Indian equity market indices have also opened the day in the red. Stocks in the metal and realty space are leading the losses. However, software and Pharma stocks are trading firm.

The Sensex today is down by around 42 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 17 points (0.3%). The mid cap stocks have opened in the red as well with BSE Mid Cap index down by around 0.1%. However, the small cap stocks have opened firm with BSE Small Cap index up by around 0.2%. The rupee is trading at Rs 53.83 to the US dollar.

Energy stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Petronet LNG and Cairn India Ltd leading the gains. However, Oil India Ltd (OIL) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) witnessed maximum losses. As per a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) is planning to hire Reliance Industries' (RIL's) unutilized production facilities on the east to bring to production its gas discoveries in Krishna Godavari (KG) basin. It is important to note here than ONGC has already made nine discoveries in its KG block KG-DWN-98/2, which is adjacent to RIL's KG D6 block. ONGC now plans to combine its discoveries with those in the neighboring block to begin gas production from 2016-17. As per the management, ONGC is in discussions with RIL regarding sharing of RIL's infrastructure such as gas processing and transportation facilities that remain underutilized. As per ONGC's management, RIL management is open to such proposal. The latter has indicated that KG-D6 production may not touch 80 million standard cubic metres per day (mmsmcd) due to unexpected geological complexities. ONGC will firm up its plans once it has a clear indication of what capacities RIL can offer. It will make a formal field development plan (FDP) once it gets an approval from the government regarding the commercial viability of the discoveries.

Cement stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with JK Laxmi Cement and Prism Cement leading the gains. However, Sammruddhi Cement and Heidelberg Cement (I) Ltd witnessed losses. Ultratech cement has announced its results for the second quarter of financial year 2013 (2QFY13). The company has reported an increase of 20% in the net sales on a year on year (YoY) basis during the quarter. The sales growth has been slow on account of sluggish home building and construction activities. The net profits of the company have also registered an increase of 97% YoY for the quarter. The management has warned of higher costs of raw materials, fuel and freight. The company's variable costs increased by 8% YoY during the quarter. The increase in the costs of diesel will have a further impact on cement producers. The management has said that the company's additional capacity of 10.2 million tonnes (MT) per year at plants in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka would be operational in the early part of FY14.

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