Indian equity markets began the day's proceedings on a positive note. In the subsequent hours, buying activity intensified across index heavyweights ensuring that the indices traded well into the positive throughout the session. The buoyancy was maintained in the final trading hours too and the indices closed well above the dotted line. While the BSE Sensex today closed higher by 376 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 120 points. The BSE-Midcap and the BSE-Small cap also did well and gained around 1% each. Gains were largely seen in banking, FMCG and auto stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 62.49 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Cement stocks closed firm today with the key gainers being Ultratech Cement, Ambuja Cement and ACC. As per a leading business daily, with the monsoons coming to an end, cement prices across the country have begun to see a rise. Since September, cement manufacturers have raised wholesale prices by anywhere between Rs 5 and Rs 40 per bag in the north, west and eastern regions. Since the monsoons typically tend to be the weakest quarter for the cement sector, given the rise in prices in the subsequent quarter, margins are expected to improve on a sequential basis. However, on a YoY basis, margins are likely to remain under pressure. This is because the scenario still remains challenging on account of the economic slowdown and sluggishness in industrial and construction activity. Indeed, domestic production increased by a mere 3.9% in the first half of FY14 largely on account of tepid demand from user industries.
As per a leading business daily, Coal India intends to achieve this fiscal's capex target of Rs 90 bn. Whether it actually manages to do so remains to be seen. In the event that it does not meet its target, the Ministry of Finance may ask the company to declare a special dividend. It must be noted that in FY13, the company missed its capex target by a wide margin. The target in FY13 was set at Rs 103 bn and Coal India incurred capex of Rs 29 bn. In the meanwhile, in its recently declared results for the quarter ended September 2013, revenue and operating margin performance was subdued on account of lower realisations. What is more, going forward, margins are expected to remain tepid on account of continued pressure on e-auction coal prices and an inflated cost structure. The stock closed higher today.