Decline to resume soon: Tuesday Closing Report

Watch 19,250 on the Sensex and 5,770 on the Nifty for a possible reversal

As expected, the domestic stock market opened flat on negative global cues. The Sensex was unchanged in opening trade while the Nifty lost 13 points to 5,716. On Monday, Standard & Poor's downgraded the outlook for the United States to negative on concerns about the mounting fiscal problems and the US markets witnessed choppy trade through the entire session.

Today, the domestic markets slipped to the day's low at around 10.18am, as the Sensex breached the 19,000 mark to 18,976 and the Nifty fell below 5,700 to 5,693. A short while later, value picking in select stocks pulled up the indices into positive territory and the indices scaled their intra-day highs. At the day's high the Sensex gained 111 points to 19,202 and the Nifty rose 34 points at 5,763.

The market was range-bound till around 1.45pm, when a minor sell-off resulted in the indices dipping into the red. The indices continued to fluctuate, but closed with marginal gains, snapping the two-day losing streak. The Sensex advanced 31 points to end at 19,122 and the Nifty closed at 5,741, up 12 points over its previous close. The indices continued to make lower highs and lower lows for the second day. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 663:734.

The broader indices outperformed the Sensex as the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.36% and the BSE Small-cap index rising 0.29%.

In the sectoral space, BSE TECk (up 0.77%), BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.62%) and BSE Consumer Durables (up 0.52%) were the top gainers, whereas BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 0.89%), BSE Power (down 0.86%) and BSE Auto (down 0.39%) were the major losers.

Bharti Airtel (up 2.18%), Reliance Communications (up 2.08%), Larsen & Toubro (up 1.62%), HDFC Bank (up 1.40%) and TCS (up 1.32%) were the top performers on the Sensex. Hero Honda (down 4.64%), BHEL (down 2.37%), Hindustan Unilever (down 1.20%), ITC (down 1.05%) and Maruti Suzuki (down 0.82%) ended at the bottom of the index.

In a move that will enable foreign governments to make more investments in Indian stocks, capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed them to buy to a maximum of 20% stake in any listed company without any additional obligations.

Among the major countries to benefit from the move is Singapore, whose investment arms Temasek and GIC have invested heavily in Indian companies and often face problems in buying shares beyond existing limits.

The downgrade of the US credit outlook by S&P impacted trading sentiment across Asia, with markets in the region settling lower. The Seoul Composite was weighed by reports that steelmaker Posco had hiked product prices. Commodity-related stocks fell on easing crude prices.

The Shanghai Composite tumbled 1.87%, the Hang Seng tanked 1.30%, the KLSE Composite fell 0.42%, the Nikkei 225 declined 1.21%, Straits Times fell 0.60%, the Seoul Composite slipped 0.70% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.87%.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs981.56 crore on Monday, while domestic institutional investors were net buyers of shares worth Rs661.47 crore.

JK Tyre & Industries (up 0.05%) today said it will foray into the power sector with plans to set up a 1,360-MW power plant near Jhansi in Madhya Pradesh. It will make an initial investment of Rs1,300 crore.

Western India Shipyard (up 4.06%) has said that the company has signed a repair order with Aban Offshore for repair of ABN II, a large jack-up oil rig operating at depths of about 300 meters, at an estimated value of about of Rs60 crore.

The scope of repairs will include steel renewal, pipe renewal, paint protection, supply of various machinery and equipment which will be taken up after detailed inspection and assessment on arrival of the rig in the shipyard.

Pharma major Wockhardt (up 5.08%) has received final approval from the US health regulator to sell its generic Venlafaxine Hydrochloride capsules used for treating depression in the American market.

The final approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) is for Venlafaxine Hydrochloride extended release capsules in strengths of 37.5 mg, 75 mg and 150 mg, the drug firm said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).


Exports post highest growth of 37.5% at $245.90 billion in FY10-11

The country's total merchandise trade has almost touched $600 billion-half of India's gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.2 trillion

New Delhi: India's exports registered the highest ever growth of 37.5% at $245.9 billion during 2010-11, demonstrating a robust demand for Indian merchandises not just in the western economies but in new markets like Latin America as well, reports PTI.

Exports for March rose by a handsome 43.9% to $29.1 billion compared to the growth in the same month in the previous financial year.

"This is the highest annual percentage growth (in a financial year)," commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said after releasing the trade data.

The stellar performance in exports has been made possible despite uncertainty in several European economies which are marred by debt crisis.

Imports on the other hand grew at a lesser pace of 21.5% despite increasing pressure on crude oil prices.

Imports for 2010-11 aggregated $350.3 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $104.4 billion.

Imports in March totalled $34.7 billion, up 17.3% year-on-year.

The country's total merchandise trade has almost touched $600 billion-half of India's gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.2 trillion.

Mr Sharma said while the government has not fixed any target for the current fiscal, "... we will continue to strive to increase it."

India aims to achieve merchandise exports of $450 billion by 2013-14.

Commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said imports figures may be revised upwards leading to a trade gap increasing to $110-115 billion.

The good show by exports has lessened worries on the current account deficit, which Mr Khullar said, is likely to be at $25-$35 billion.

Engineering goods grew 84.7% to $60 billion led the show, followed by petroleum products at $42.5 billion (up 50.5%).

Gems and jewellery grew 15.4% to $33.5 billion, drugs and pharmaceuticals 15% to $10.3 billion.

Mr Khullar said while there has been an improvement in demand in the US an even in EU, "my hunch is that export growth (also) came from new markets, particularly from Latin America."

Since the export growth had bottomed out in 2009-10, expansion in the last fiscal looked good under the low base impact.

However, "Even if this base effect was not there the export growth would have been around 30%," Mr Khullar said.

When asked if the growth rate is sustainable, he said it will be a "pipe-dream" given the global economic outlook.


SBI hikes lending rates by 25 basis points

After today's rise, SBI's base rate goes up to 8.50% from 8.25%. SBI's base rate, below which it cannot lend, is still lower than public sector banks' which have set their base rates at around 9%

Mumbai: State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest bank, today announced a hike in its base rate by 25 basis points, making home and auto loans from the lender dearer, reports PTI.

The lender also increased its benchmark lending rate by the same margin which would mean the existing borrowers also have to pay more for their loans.

The rate hike would be effective from 25 April 2011, the state-run bank said in a statement.

After today's rise, SBI's base rate goes up to 8.50% from 8.25%. SBI's base rate, below which it cannot lend, is still lower than public sector banks' which have set their base rates at around 9%.

The base rate of India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank is 8.75%.

To bring in more transparency, the base rate was introduced replacing the Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR) in July last year.

SBI's benchmark prime lending rate has gone up by 25 basis points to 13.25%. This will make equated monthly instalments (EMIs) for the existing loans dearer by at least 25 basis points.

The BPLR is used for determining interest rates on loans and advances sanctioned up to June 30 2010.


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