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Firm End to the Week
Fri, 27 Nov Closing

Indian equity markets gathered steam in the post noon trading session as buying activity intensified in stocks from the banking, capital goods and IT spaces. The BSE-Sensex today closed higher by around 170 points while the NSE-Nifty saw an increase of around 59 points. BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices also closed well in green gaining 0.5% and 0.3% respectively.

Asian markets finished broadly lower today with shares in China leading the region. The Shanghai Composite is down 5.48% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng is off 1.87% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is lower by 0.30%. European markets are mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.03%, while the CAC 40 and FTSE 100 are down by 0.30% and 0.30% respectively. The rupee was trading at 66.55 against the US$ in the afternoon session.

According to a leading economic daily, National Aluminum Company (NALCO) Ltd has received US$8.05 million or around Rs 540 million in an out-of-court settlement with a US firm. This ends a long-drawn litigation with Peak Chemical Corporation Inc. of the US in a case related to 1994 supply contract for a specific variety of caustic soda used in the alumina refinery.

Furthermore, the company recently lined up a plan to invest US$2.8 billion to build a smelter and a captive power unit in either Iran or Oman, depending on where it will get the fuel cheaper. Nalco reportedly reckons that the proposed smelter abroad could make it competitive against even Chinese aluminum producers known for their lower costs, enabled by captive power units. Nalco is a Navratna CPSE under Ministry of Mines, Government of India where the government holds a stake of 80.93%.

Nalco's move comes at a time when the global aluminum stocks and margins are under severe pressure due to concerns over the Chinese aluminum exports and global meltdown in commodity prices. Moreover, domestic aluminum companies are also struggling with higher fuel costs. The aluminum companies were forced to source coal from the open markets in the wake of cancellation of the captive coal blocks allotted to them by the Supreme Court last year. And price hikes taken to pass on the cost has further dented their competitiveness in the global markets. This has all been reflected in the weakening financial performance during the first half of FY16. (Subscription required)

NALCO closed the trading day up by 1.5% on the BSE.

Oil and Gas sector closed on a mixed note with Castrol India and Gujarat State Petronet leading the gains. However, Indraprastha Gas and BPCL witnessed majority of the selling activity. According to a leading financial daily, GAIL India in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a unit of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has launched an innovative surveillance geo-portal called 'Bhuvan-GAIL portal' utilizing space technology for its pipeline application. Despite all challenges, GAIL has proved that the space technology can be efficiently used for monitoring the pipeline Right of Use.

GAIL will reportedly start live satellite monitoring of the pipeline Right of Use by January 2016 and is also looking for alternative methods like advance Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) which can also be integrated with this system. The company has over 13000 Km of Pipeline network wherein monthly monitoring of pipeline ROU at present is being carried out through Helicopter surveys.

The government has proposed a revenue sharing model for oil and gas exploration. Until now, the companies have been winning bids based on the contractor's commitment to carry out a minimum work program, as specified in various exploration phases. The new model has no concept of cost recovery first. The companies will need to indicate the amount of revenues they would be sharing with the government at each stage of production and in different price scenarios. In our recent edition of '5 Minute Wrap up', we outline how the new changes would be a boon for oil and gas companies.

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Nov 20, 2017 (Close)