The Indian markets witnessed some pressure during the previous two hours of trade as the indices moved below the dotted line. At the time of writing, the BSE-Sensex was trading lower by about 25 points or 0.09%. The NSE-Nifty was down by 6 points or 0.07%. Stocks from the oil & gas and metals spaces were the top underperformers at the moment. BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap were however in favour today as their representative indices were up by about 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.
Asian markets were trading weak at the time of writing. The Rupee was trading at 63.65 to the Dollar.
Indian steel stocks were trading weak with Jindal Saw and JSW Steel leading the pack of losers. The stock of Tata Steel was trading lower by about 1.6% at the time of writing. Weakness in the stock was seemingly on the back of the company's management warning of a hit in profitability in the coming quarter due to the closure of captive mines in Jharkhand and Odisha. The ban in four mines led to a reduction in production levels at one of the blast furnaces at its Jamshedpur plant, thereby operating below capacity for about a month. However, the company also stated that it has ramped up production recently due to resumption of mining at Odisha.
In other news, the company expects to see some stable and clear policies on renewal of mining licenses and forest clearances to drive the growth in the steel industry. The year gone by was a difficult one for the sector considering the many regulatory hurdles coupled with demand from the key steel consumption (auto and infrastructure) sectors being dull.
Stocks of construction companies were trading firm led by ERA Infra Engineering and BL Kashyap and Sons. As reported by a leading business daily, construction major IVRCL is on its way to sell assets worth about Rs 31 to Rs 33 bn which will help the company reduce debt by about Rs 25 bn and free up equity worth Rs 6 to 8 bn. The stake sale would include 3 road projects and a desalination plant based in Chennai. This is part of the company's strategy to focus on its EPC business. It may be noted that these plans by the company have been going on for a long time, but due to the market conditions earlier, it was no able to sell of these assets at the desired price. The company was going through a tough time given the overall slowdown combined with the high debt levels built up by the business. As such, selling of already operational assets is the route the company has taken to improve its balance sheet position. The stock of IVRCL is trading higher by 2.2%.