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Metals weigh on the markets
Fri, 24 Dec 09:30 am

Asian markets have opened the day on a weak note. Japan (down 0.7%) and China (down 0.5%) are the biggest losers. However, Singapore (up 0.4%) has opened the day on a good note. The US markets closed down by 0.2% yesterday. Indian markets have followed global cues and opened the day on a weak note as well. Metal and IT stocks are the main losers.

The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 43 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 20 points (0.3%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the red as well, with the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices down by 0.1% each. The rupee is trading at 45.14 to the US dollar.

It is a day before Christmas. We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas. But this time the Christmas may not be too sweet. With prices of all food items climbing higher, the cakes and goodies are set to cost more by almost 20%. Prices of all key ingredients like sugar, oil, milk and milk based products are hitting an all time high. In fact thanks to the prices of other food items, this Christmas will not be too spicy either. Prices of onions and other vegetables have been soaring to new highs. While the reduction of import duty on onion prices has helped to bring down prices by nearly 22% in a day, the prices of other food items have not seen any respite. Stock of food major Nestle India is currently trading in the red.

Continuing with things that are going up, the liquidity situation in the country is leading to higher cost of loans as well. The Indian banks have been facing a major cash crunch in recent days. The problem has been magnified with the onset of the festive season with consumers withdrawing their funds to spend more. State Bank of India has turned to the debt markets to make up for the liquidity crunch in the banking system. The country’s largest lender by assets has made a private placement of Rs 11.5 bn of CDs (certificates of deposit). These are expected to mature in March next year and are expected to yield 8.97% p.a. The central bank, RBI, has stated that it would look to ease the liquidity situation if the need arises. It has already trimmed down its December bond auction target. The banking stocks have opened on a weak note. ICICI Bank and Axis Bank are the biggest losers. However the stock of State Bank of India is trading in the green.

Leading cigarette manufacturers ITC and Godfrey Phillips India have resumed production after getting directions from the government on what kind of pictorial warnings should be displayed on the packets. As per the government order, existing pictorial warnings would continue for one more year, after which it will be reviewed in December 2011. ITC has also reported resumption of despatches. ITC and GPI had stopped production of cigarettes on December 1, in view of uncertainty over the sort of pictorial warnings that needed to be carried on tobacco products starting this month. ITC, whose brands include India Kings, Gold Flake and Navy Cut, had stopped production at all five units across the country. The stock of ITC is currently up. Other FMCG stocks that are trading in the green are HUL and Godrej Cons. However, stocks of Dabur and Colgate Palmolive are witnessing selling pressure.

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