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Sensex Opens Flat, Nalco Up 2.2%
Fri, 16 Dec 09:30 am

Asian markets are higher today as Japanese and Hong Kong shares show gains. The Nikkei 225 is up 0.68% while the Hang Seng is up 0.01%. The Shanghai Composite is trading down by 0.04%. Stock markets in US and Europe closed their previous session in green.

Meanwhile, Indian share markets have opened the day on a flat note. BSE Sensex is trading higher by 4 points and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 2 points. Meanwhile, both S&P BSE Mid Cap and S&P BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.2% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at 67.56 against the US$. Gains are largely seen in consumer durables and auto stocks, while pharma and oil & gas stocks lead the losses.

National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco) reported a sharp 51.67% decline in net profit to Rs 1.21 billion in the quarter ended September 2016, compared to year-ago quarter. Total income was down 4.47% at Rs 19.82 billion for the quarter under review as compared Rs 20.75 billion for the corresponding quarter previous year.

Although Nalco's profit fell from a year ago, earnings per share did not fall as much due to the company's share buyback. However, other income will decline in the coming quarters as its cash balance has declined due to the buyback.

In fact, Nalco's aluminium business did relatively well with its segment loss coming in at Rs 999 million against Rs 1.07 billion a year ago. Even in the June quarter, its loss was Rs 1.05 billion. While it continued to make losses, they were lower.

Nalco's ability to increase aluminium output will be one factor to watch for. The company is expected to benefit from from the rising alumina price. Global alumina benchmark price has risen around 14% over the past month and 30% in three months. This should boost the company's December quarter results.

Reportedly, alumina price may rise by another 17-23% in 2017 as more Chinese aluminium smelters become operational. The deficit in alumina is ex pected to increase to 4.8 million tonnes (MT) in FY17 and over 6 MT in FY18 reflecting a possible supply shortage of 10%.

Even as the broad market was struggling in recent weeks, Nalco' stock price had made steady progress up north, gaining more than 30%. The stock's performance in the current quarter is fine too, as it gained close to 44% since the beginning of October.

Stock Price Movement of Nalco in Past One year

Nalco's share price began the trading day up by 2.2% on the BSE.

In another development, according to an article in The Livemint, India's start-up ecosystem may have seen a fall in funding this year. Start-ups have attracted roughly US$4 billion in funds so far this year, down from a heady US$7.55 billion in 2015.

The deals were largely powered by large rounds at Flipkart, Ola, Snapdeal and Paytm, according to data from start-up investment tracker Tracxn. However, the volume of deals has remained largely flat. So far this year, 996 deals have been completed, compared with 1,027 last year.

After a funding boom in which Indian Internet start-ups attracted more than US$9 billion over 18 months, venture capital firms changed their approach this year, asking entrepreneurs to cut costs and avoid pursuing sales growth by offering deep discounts.

Online retail sales actually shrank in the first nine months of the year from levels seen at the end of last year as many of the start-up stars of 2015 went into cost-cutting mode.

As per the reports, while the number of Internet users is growing rapidly, the number transacting online isn't increasing at the same rate, raising concerns whether Internet firms can attract enough new paying users to back investor's rosy projections.

Still, the fact that the volume of early-stage deals continues to be healthy should encourage start ups-and-coming entrepreneurs in India's fledgling start-up system.

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