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The Indian markets had a rather volatile trading session today as the indices oscillated to either side of yesterday's close amid weak international markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 28 points, the NSE Nifty finished flat. The S&P BSE Midcap and the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.1% and 0.6% respectively. Gains were largely seen in metal and consumer durable stocks. Selling activity was witnessed in auto and oil & gas sectors.
Asian markets retraced much of their early gains, with Chinese markets dropping sharply. The Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng fell 2.31% and 0.93% respectively. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.19%. European markets are trading lower today with shares in London off the most. The FTSE 100 is down 0.40%, while France's CAC 40 is off 0.35% and Germany's DAX is lower by 0.25%.
The rupee was trading at 66.24 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 41.69 at the time of writing.
Oil & Gas stocks finished on a negative note with Petronet LNG and Reliance Industries leading the losses. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) is reportedly planning to invest around US$3.8 billion to ramp up its refining capacity by two-thirds this decade, to meet cleaner fuel standards as the country's oil demand soars. The company aims to raise its capacity to process about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude.
Reportedly, the company is aiming to boost the capacity of its Mumbai refinery to 190,000 bpd by July 2019 from 130,000 bpd, while the Vizag refinery in India's south will ramp up to 300,000 bpd from 166,000 bpd by July 2020. Further, the company will also revamp its gasoline and diesel production units to meet rules on producing cleaner fuels from 2020.
Moreover, HPCL had for the first time signed a term contract with Nigeria's national oil company, NNPC, to buy 32,000 bpd of oil this fiscal year ending March 31. HPCL has also renewed its contract to buy 50,000 bpd from Saudi Arabia and 20,000 bpd from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC). It also has an optional contract to buy 20,000 bpd from Kuwait. The script of HPCL finished the trading day down by 2.6% on the BSE.
Shares of Tata Steel surged more than 6% in today's trade after it was reported that the company has appointed Bimlendra Jhas as the Chief Executive Officer of Tata Steel UK. Jha is currently Executive Chairman of Tata Steel Europe's Long Products Europe business and has successfully led the divestment process that resulted in the signing of a sale and purchase agreement with Greybull Capital on 11 April 2016. Meanwhile, Tata Steel Europe has appointed Standard Chartered Bank as an additional adviser for the divestment of its entire holding in its British subsidiary Tata Steel UK. On 11 April 2016, Tata Steel Europe announced that the company has commenced the formal process for the divestment of its entire holding in its British subsidiary Tata Steel UK. Tata Steel Europe has decided to sell its entire holding in Tata Steel UK due to the deteriorating financial performance (Subscription Required) of the UK subsidiary.
Further, Stuart Wilkie, the boss of the Port Talbot steel works (a Tata steel plant), is launching a bid by the plant's managers to buy Tata Steel's operations in the UK. Mr Wilkie had previously put together a plan to rescue the Port Talbot plant that was rejected by Tata Steel. Tata Steel then put Port Talbot up for sale.
In another development, India Ratings and Research has downgraded Steel Authority of India's (SAIL) rating to 'IND-AA' from 'IND-AAA' with negative outlook. The steep fall in steel prices since January 2015 led to SAIL registering EBIDTA losses in first three quarters of last year and the consequent worsening of its credit metrics. The company's gross debt increased substantially (Subscription Required) to Rs 299 billion in FY15 and touched about Rs 330 billion by end of FY16 due to the capex undertaken and cash losses incurred. Reportedly, the ratings agency believes that post the implementation of minimum import price, steel imports into the country would decline, but most of the other players who have also expanded their capacities would also look at producing incremental volumes. This could lead to higher competition and aggressive pricing to gain volumes. However, SAIL finished the day up by 4.2% on the BSE.
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