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Strong Finish to the Week
Fri, 5 Feb Closing

Indian equity markets began the trading session on a strong note and gained momentum as the day progressed. At the closing bell, BSE Sensex closed higher by 278 points, while NSE-Nifty closed higher by 85 points. The S&P BSE Midcap and the S&P Small Cap too finished on a strong note gaining 1.9% and 1.2% respectively. Gains were largely seen in healthcare and metal stocks.

Asian markets came under pressure in today's trading, closing mixed despite a positive finish on Wall Street overnight. In Japan, the Nikkei extended losses for the fifth day in a row, with the index closing down 1.32%. The index has shed 5.85% since the start of the week. The Hang Seng gained 0.55% while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.63%. European markets are mixed today. The FTSE 100 is up 0.50% while the CAC 40 came in higher by 0.46%. The DAX is off 0.21%. The rupee is trading at 67.64 to the US$.

According to an article in The Economic Times, the government is looking to raise about Rs 60 billion by getting Coal India Ltd to buy back a fourth of its paid-up share capital at a premium. Following the buyback, the government's stake down is likely to drop from 79.65% to 76%. Reportedly, the buyback will be followed by an additional divestment that would lower the government's stake below 75%.

Reportedly, Coal India may not be able to comply this by August which likely implies that the government won't be able to use this money to cover the shortfall from disinvestment proceeds for FY16. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has stipulated that the public should hold 25% of state-owned listed companies by August 2017. Also, according to the reports, CIL has been asked to direct its eight wholly owned subsidiaries to buy back their shares from the parent.

In other news, Coal India is planning to acquire coal mines in South Africa in partnership with local government amid falling prices of assets globally. The company, which accounts for over 80% of the domestic coal production, has targeted one billion tonnes of dry fuel output by 2020. It is set for a record production of 550 million tonnes this fiscal.

After much deliberation and delay, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has been revised and the government has passed the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, 2015. In our recent edition of The 5 Minute Wrap Up Premium, we look at the impact of the Act on various mining and metal companies (Subscription Required).

According to a leading financial daily, Shree Cement has recorded 23% volume growth in the December quarter. The company has managed to beat the industry's sales volume growth which stood at 8% in the December quarter.

Shree Cement is the one of the cheapest cost cement producer. Reportedly, the cost of per tonne of cement for Shree Cement is Rs 2,684 as compared to other cement manufacturing companies which cost them in the range of Rs 3,700-4,080. The company is enhancing its cement capacity by 1.6 MT in eastern region, where the per capita cement consumption is relatively lower in comparison with the rest of India. This would enhance the company's cement capacity to 27 MT. Second, being a lowest cost cement producer, it can afford to slash prices and continue to gain market share. The company's second quarter profit increased 8.9% YoY to Rs 1.02 billion.

Shree Cement finished the trading day down by 0.7% on the BSE.

2015 had been a rather poor year for stocks from the cement sector. Barring Shree Cement, the overall returns generated from the top companies from the cement sector have been quite lackluster (Subscription Required). The average cement prices have declined to levels of Rs 300 a 50 kg bag. This is largely on the back of weak demand from the rural markets (which forms about 40% of the market).

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May 27, 2016 (Close)
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