Heavy selling towards the closing stages of the session led the indices in the Indian stock markets to close the day deep in the red today. Thus, while BSE-Sensex edged lower by around 180 points, NSE-Nifty lost to the tune of 60 points. BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap were slightly less affected as they came down 0.4% and 0.7% respectively. More than three stocks declined for every stock that closed the day in the positive.
Asian indices closed mixed today with Europe too showing the same trend currently. The rupee was trading at Rs 53.4 to the dollar at the time of writing.
The selling in the markets today came despite India's food inflation falling to a six year low. The markets perhaps had something else on their minds, most notably the Euro crisis as news came in that the European Central Bank's balance sheet soared to a record, indicating a worsening of the debt crisis there. Besides, with the situation not likely to look up at least for the next couple of quarters, the sentiments would remain negative as per us. This should not however deter believers in the long term India growth story.
State Bank Of India (SBI), India's largest lender is likely to be infused with Rs 60 bn equity by its largest shareholder, the Government of India. This infusion will go a good way towards strengthening the equity base of the bank and comes as a welcome relief, especially after it got its ratings downgraded by Moody's. SBI will not be the only beneficiary of this plan. Other PSU banks too will have their equity bases spruced up as the Government intends to spend a total of Rs 160 - Rs 170 bn towards equity infusion, SBI included. Investors seem unaffected though as most PSU banks traded in the red today. SBI, however, closed marginally higher.
There was some good news in store for public sector exploration and production major Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) as it unloaded more than 0.6 m barrels of oil at a record premium. This came in the wake of reduced supplies for the company after a disagreement with the Sudanese Government over pipeline transit fees. The premium received by the company was to the tune of US$ 3 per barrel. It should be noted that in order to satiate the need for India's ever growing energy demands, the company has written to 13 international companies for a proposed partnership in 19 oil and gas acreages, including the East coast ultra deep water discovery. ONGC is likely to complete the process by second quarter of next fiscal. The stock closed marginally lower today.