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Indian equity markets gained momentum in the final hour of trade as indices finished on a firm note. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 184 points, the NSE Nifty finished higher by 50 points. The S&P BSE Midcap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.6% respectively. Gains were largely seen in consumer durables and realty stocks.
Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.08%, while the Nikkei 225 led the Hang Seng lower. They fell 1.13% and 0.20% respectively. European markets are lower today with shares in London off the most. The FTSE 100 is down 0.17% while Germany's DAX is off 0.06% and France's CAC 40 is lower by 0.05%.
The rupee was trading at 67.01 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 41.73 at the time of writing.
Automobile stocks were in demand today with Eicher Motors and Maruti Suzuki leading the charts. According to a leading financial daily, Bajaj Auto plans to venture into electric vehicles that were both green and chic for use as personal transportation in urban areas. As per the company's managing director, Bajaj Auto was well placed on both weight and size and volumes to undertake such an initiative for the future and make the vehicles affordable.
The company disclosed plans to invest Rs 25 billion as capital expenditure over the next three years and launch a slew of new models, including the Pulsar 400 next month. On the super-premium front, Bajaj Auto is expanding the KTM brand in all ASEAN markets. It is also planning to launch a blitzkrieg on new products beginning with the new KTM brand Husky in India in January.
Bajaj Auto is also preparing to launch more motorcycles from the 'V' platform through this fiscal and the next as part of a plan to grow market share (Subscription Required) in the executive commuter space. Bajaj Auto's share is just 40,000 units while total bike sales in this category are in the range of 600,000 units each month.
The company has posted a net profit of Rs. 9.78 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 versus Rs. 9.57 billion in the same period last year, representing a rise of 2% YoY. EBITDA margins were slightly higher at 21.2% against 21.1% last year. Revenues stood at Rs. 63.56 billion versus Rs. 61.88 billion in the two quarters, respectively, indicating a growth of 2.7%. Bajaj Auto finished the day down by 0.6% on the BSE.
Moving on to news from oil & gas sector. According to a leading financial daily, ONGC and HPCL may sell a part of their stake in Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) to comply with regulations on minimum public holding.
Public shareholding in MRPL currently stands at 11.4%. This is not even half of the mandatory 25% public float required by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for listed companies. The options before the board is either the promoters divest a part of their shareholding through an offer for sale (OFS) or MRPL issues fresh shares through a public offer.
ONGC currently holds 71.63% stake in MRPL while HPCL has 16.96%. As much as 232 million shares will have to be sold through on OFS if the two promoters were to sell part of their stake. The offer size will be reportedly much larger if the company decides to go for an OFS by issuing fresh shares.
MRPL will also reportedly consider raising up to Rs 30 billion as part of capex plans through issuance of non-convertible debentures or bonds. MRPL was set up in 1988 with the initial processing capacity of 3 million tonnes. Under ONGC, its capacity has risen to 15 million tonnes per annum.
Oil & gas stocks finished the day on a negative note with Oil India Ltd and HPCL leading the losses.
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