Despite sharp depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar the Indian stock market managed to stay in the positive territory throughout the session today. Buying interest in software and metal stocks primarily kept the indices above the breakeven line. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 119 points (up 0.7%), the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 34 points (up 0.7%). The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap indices also closed higher, albeit marginally. Losses were largely seen in telecom and power stocks.
As regards global markets, other Asian closed a mixed bag with India leading the pack of gainers. The European indices have also opened in the positive. The rupee was trading at Rs 52.5 to the dollar at the time of writing.
The Indian rupee tumbled to an all-time low against the US dollar today as importers continued to accumulate the greenback on fears that the local currency would weaken further. The Indian rupee has been Asia's worst-performing currency in 2011, weakening more than 17% against the dollar. A wave of risk aversion sparked by the crisis in Europe has unnerved investors worried about India's high inflation, slowing economic growth and fiscal deficit. So far the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept its intervention in the currency markets minimal, but has not ruled out doing so in the future.
India's largest power producer, NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) has invited bids for importing 4 m tonnes of coal to reduce the shortfall of the fuel from domestic mines. The decision comes on the back of delays caused by designated coal importing agencies. NTPC uses about 164 m tonnes of coal a year to fire over two-thirds of its installed generation capacity of around 35,000 MW.
In the coming months, NTPC will use imported coal across 14 of the power major's thermal stations. The power producer is already in a pact to import around 12 m tonnes of coal through State Trading Corporation (STC). For sourcing 10-15 m tonnes to ensure steady supplies and lower price volatility, NTPC is looking at striking long-term contracts spanning 25 years. During FY11 its average imported coal blending was close to 8% in comparison to about 6.5% in FY10.
India's GSM mobile subscribers base grew 1.2% in October with an addition of over 7.1 m subscribers. The total number of GSM subscribers in the country crossed 625.4 m in the month as against 618.3 in September as per data from Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). While Idea Cellular saw an addition of over 1.64 m subscribers, Bharti Airtel added 949,819 customers, a growth of 0.55% over the previous month. Meanwhile, Vodafone added 923,940 subscribers to its total subscribers base.