Indian indices languished in the red for the larger part of the trading session today. While the opening was a bit weak, the situation deteriorated as profit booking at higher levels took toll. Selling persisted in the final trading hour as well and the indices closed well below the dotted line. While the BSE Sensex closed lower by around 454 points (down 2%), the NSE Nifty lost around 137 points (down 2%). Midcap and smallcap stocks were worst hit as the BSE Midcap and the BSE Smallcap racked losses of 5% and 6% respectively. Losses were largely seen in consumer durables, auto, banking, healthcare and metals stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.24 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Power stocks closed weak today and the key losers here included Reliance Infra, PTC India, Neyveli Lignite and Coal India. As per a leading business daily, power major NTPC has chalked out plans of buying equipment worth US$ 36.6 bn in the next two years. The aim is to more than double its installed capacity and to reduce blackouts. The company aims to add around 25,000 MW of capacity during this period. And it has targeted 75,000 MW by 2017. That said, the key challenge for the company would be to meet these targets.
It must be noted that the company failed to meet its addition target at the end of FY10. There were several reasons for this which were issues in sourcing of adequate fuel (both coal and gas), delays from equipment suppliers and other contractors, and delays in acquisition of land and clearance of sites for beginning construction of projects. These issues are not likely to go anytime soon and so the pace of execution for NTPC is expected to be slow in the medium term. NTPC also closed lower today.
As per a leading business daily, ITC is looking for an acquisition for its Paperboards and Speciality Papers division to add capacity its paper production. This is especially because most of its brownfield expansion plans have been delayed on account of land acquisition problems and other issues. The company's aim is to look at acquisitions having units above 100,000 tonne capacity, located in the northern and eastern states. This is given that its existing units are largely southern-based. This acquisition will form part of the Rs 40 bn expansion plan lined up by ITC's paperboard and speciality papers division for the next 2-3 years to add capacity of over 400,000 tonnes to its existing capacity of 570,000 tonnes. Also, plans on the anvil include doubling the capacity of its Kovai unit from the present 100,000 tonnes at a cost of Rs 5 bn.
Paperboards, paper & packaging account for around 14% of ITC's overall revenues and this move is in line with the company's strategy of capitalizing on the growth in the Indian paper market over the next few years. The stock closed lower today.