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Stock markets see no respite
Wed, 28 Dec Closing

Indices in Indian stock markets opened today's session on a flat note. However the situation got worse as the day progressed. Announcements of the government increasing its borrowing target contributed to the fall. This announcement threatens to throw India's fiscal position further out of balance. Indices traded in the negative throughout trade today and could not recover from the day's lows towards the closing session. While BSE-Sensex edged lower by around 173 points, decline on the NSE-Nifty came in the region of 45 points. The BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices also displayed closed lower by 1.1% and 1.2% respectively. Realty and metal stocks closed the day deep in the red. Consumer durables however saw some gains.

While most Asian indices closed in the mixed, Europe is trading mostly in the green as of now. The rupee was trading at Rs 53.34 to the dollar at the time of writing, continuing to remain weak.

Inflation may be slowing, but still we are not immune to price hikes. Post a stellar year in FY11, auto makers are seeing volumes dip sharply so far in FY12. Input costs and rupee depreciation is forcing the Indian auto industry to hike prices. They are set to hike prices by 2-10% in the first quarter of FY13 according to a study by industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Other issues have also affected the auto industry including rising interest rates and labour woes as seen by Maruti. Profit margins of various players in the industry may see shrinkage going forward. Customer sentiments are also negative on account of high fuel costs and the high interest rate environment.

Public sector bank IDBI has approached the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) to launch infrastructure debt funds (IDFs). It plans to launch this separately as an Non Banking Finance Company (NBFC) and plans to hold a 30% stake in it. Banks are currently allowed to hold a minimum of 30% and a maximum of 49% in IDFs. This new entity could be launched in 2-3 months time depending on the projects available.

India has pledged to spend US$ 1 trillion on upgrading its aging and inadequate infrastructure in the five years to 2017. The government finalised the structure of IDFs in June. It believes that this debt instrument can help source long-term funds to finance India's infra needs. These IDFs can also be set up as mutual funds, however in this case IDBI prefers to set up a separate company to take care of the same.

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