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Indian stock markets lose further ground
Thu, 22 Dec 01:30 pm

Indian stock market continued to sink lower over the last two hours of the trade. Barring pharma and FMCG, all sectors were trading in the red led by Metals and IT.

The BSE-Sensex is trading down 149 points and NSE-Nifty is trading down 43 points. BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices are trading down by 0.54% and 0.57% respectively. The rupee is trading at 52.79 to the US dollar.

Energy sector is trading mixed with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Gujarat state Petronet Ltd leading the gainers while Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) and Essar Oil are trading weak. As per a leading financial daily, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is pushing for gas prices to be deregulated to attract private investment and incentivize oil companies to invest in exploration and ramp up the production. It is important to note here that majority of domestic gas production is priced at US$ 4.2 per unit, which is not even one third of imported Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG). The regulated pricing for domestic gas supplies and the disparity with respect to imported gas has made city gas distribution (CGD) unviable, thus delaying CGD projects. The senior official from the board has expressed the possibility that the Government could go for a pricing model wherein different sectors will have separate price discoveries, reflecting the true demand. However, there has been no input from petroleum ministry regarding this. Earlier, the ministry had suggested that deregulation of gas pricing was a complex issue and refused to give any definite time frame for the same.

Power stocks are mainly trading in the red with Reliance Infra and Gujarat Industrial Power Company leading the pack of losers. As per a leading financial daily, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is seeking long term coal import tie ups to compensate for the shortfall from domestic coal supplies. Besides, it will excavate its own mines to get coal at reduced prices. Currently having a capacity of over 34,000 Megawatts (MW), the company targets to generate about 70,000 MW by 2017. The management has not disclosed the names of the companies with whom it is negotiating. It may also explore the option of using long term Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (R-LNG) at lower prices.

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