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Volatile amidst RBI rate hike
Tue, 2 Nov Closing

Markets came off the day's lows during the closing hours of trade. However, they failed to close in the positive and had to settle for a rather flat closing. Thus, while Sensex lost in the region of around 10 points (down 0.05%), NSE Nifty closed virtually unchanged. BSE Mid cap and small cap indices also closed nearly flat, however, they ended with a positive bias. On the Sensex, around 4 stocks declined for every 3 that managed to close in the positive.

Asian markets closed mixed today whereas Europe is trading in the positive currently. The rupee was placed at Rs 44.4 at the time of writing.

RBI's decision to hike interest rates for the sixth time this year was not entirely unexpected. Infact, it was pretty much along expected lines. But still the stock markets chose to react and slipped into the red at around the time of the announcement. However, it recovered soon after and ended the day on a flat note. Volatility of this nature is indicative of the fact that opinion seems to be pretty divided right now. Only when other major central bankers around the world come out with their monetary policy stance would some sort of picture emerge. Till then, uncertainty could well remain the dominant theme.

Maharashtra Seamless announced its September quarter results today. The company reported a 3% YoY growth in topline and 13% YoY growth in net profits. The modest growth in topline was a consequence of a slow off take from the company's clients. However, the company has expressed confidence that the growth is going to be better in the coming quarters. This is in view of the increased rig count and also greater E&P activities. Besides, domestic market conditions, more particularly the boiler sector, have also improved. As far as margins are concerned, the same came in lower by around 1.7% during the quarter. This was mainly on account of higher raw material costs. Growth in PBT came in at 4% YoY, driven mainly by a huge 134% jump in other income. Furthermore, thanks to lower effective tax rate, there was a further improvement in profitability with PAT growth coming in at nearly 13% YoY. The stock closed marginally higher today.

ONGC, the domestic exploration and production major is all set to embark on a massive capex drive. As per a leading daily, the company plans to invest US$ 10 bn in bringing to production gas discoveries off the east coast of India. The company is looking to develop its finds in the prolific KG basin through four different projects. The company plans a gas production target to the tune of 25-30 mmscmd by FY15. It is in talks with energy giants such as BP, Exxon Mobil, BG Group and Eni for some sort of a strategic tie up for developing the KG basin gas discoveries. The stock ended marginally higher on the bourses today.

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Ramesh Malpure

Nov 2, 2010

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