The Indian stock markets started the day on a positive note however they moved slightly lower towards the close of today's trading session. The indices slumped lower in the final few hours of trade. The BSE-Sensex closed negative, lower by around 22 points (down 0.1%). The NSE-Nifty also closed lower by around 10 points (down 0.2%). The smaller indices had a relatively weaker day on the bourses. The BSE Mid Cap index closed 1.2% lower and the BSE Small Cap closed 0.9% lower in trade today. Realty and power stocks saw a bulk of the losses today. FMCG stocks were the only gainers.
As regards global markets, Asian indices had a mixed outing today. European indices opened the day on a positive note. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.30 to the dollar at the time of writing.
The Government plans to sell a 10% stake in National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) on Wednesday. An Empowered group of Ministers (eGoM) on Monday approved the stake sell in the public sector iron ore miner, according to the Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The price band was fixed at Rs 145-150 per share. On Monday, NMDC stock closed at Rs 154.75 a share on the Stock Exchange, down 2.49% from its previous trading session. Currently the government is the majority stake holder with 90% stake in the miner. Another 10% stake is with other investors with only 0.66% with foreign institutional investors (FIIs). The share sale in NMDC would be second divestment in the current financial year after Hindustan Copper Ltd. The Government sold 5.58% in Hindustan Copper netting Rs 8.1 bn. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has taken the decision to offload the Government's equity in NMDC through offer for sale route, more popularly known as auction.
The BJP, Left and Trinamool Congress dealt a blow to the ruling UPA party after unanimously stalling another reform bill. They argued that the amendment to the banking regulations bill that allowed banks to participate in commodity futures trading was not vetted by a Parliamentary panel. The Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram introduced three new clauses to the legislation without referring it back to the Parliamentary standing committee. Of the three new provisions proposed, the most contentious one is related to lifting the ban on banks' proprietary trading in commodity futures . Commodity futures trading in India is highly speculative and volatile and banks' entry into this has been opposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The central bank believes that the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), which regulates commodity futures, lacks autonomy and independence. The other two clauses in the Banking Bill related to the term of the board of directors and bringing bank mergers under the purview of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) instead of the RBI. The issue of new banking licenses also needs to be addressed.