EGoM to consider raising diesel and LPG prices

New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to meet next week to consider raising prices of diesel and domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), reports PTI.

“We are hopeful of an EGoM meeting soon ... hopefully it may happen next week,” oil secretary S Sundareshan told reporters here.

He said that there was a need to raise diesel and LPG prices but refused to say on the quantum of hike the EGoM may consider.

The EGoM was earlier scheduled to meet on 22nd December but was postponed on the unavailability of a couple of members.


Tuesday Closing Report: Sensex will target the next resistance of 20,200

Strong global cues enabled the local market log in with gains this morning. Across-the-board buying kept the indices in the positive terrain throughout the trading session and helped them end above their crucial levels.

The market opened with modest gains this morning on support from the global arena. The Bombay Stock Exchange’s bellwether index—Sensex—regained the 20,000-mark in early trade on across-the-board buying. The market touched the day’s high in late morning trade, but pared some early gains and was seen range-bound in subsequent trade. The market continued to trade sideways in the post-noon session in the absence of any major triggers, but ended with gains of close to 1%.

The Sensex closed above the 20,000-mark at 20,060.32, up 171.44 points (0.86%). The index swung between a high-low of 20,090.84 and 19,925.76. The Nifty ended a tad above the 6,000 levels at 6000.65, a gain of 53.60 points (0.90%). The benchmark scaled an intraday high of 6,007.45 and a low of 5,960.05.

The market breadth was in favour of the gainers today. The Sensex closed with 20 advancing stocks and 10 in the declining list. The Nifty returned home with 32 gainers and 18 losers. The performance of the broader indices was in line with the key benchmarks. The BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.79%, while the BSE Small-cap index ended 0.95% higher.

The top performers on the Sensex were Sterlite Industries (up 4.63%), Hindalco Industries (up 4.45%), ICICI Bank (up 3.56%), DLF (up 1.97%), HDFC Bank (up 1.89%) and Tata Steel (up 1.66%). The laggards included Hero Honda (down 0.77%), Bharti Airtel (down 0.67%), Infosys Technologies (down 0.65%), NTPC (down 0.60%) and TCS (down 0.59%).

The BSE Metal index (up 2.76%) was the top gainer in the sectoral space. Other noteworthy gainers were BSE Bankex (up 2.34%), BSE Realty (up 1.25%), BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.79%) and BSE Consumer Durables (up 0.58%). The sectoral losers were BSE Healthcare (down 0.32%), BSE TECk (down 0.24%) and BSE IT (down 0.17%).

The Planning Commission has kicked off the process of formulating the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), which may eventually see the official think-tank pegging the annual growth rate at 10%, up from 8.1% in the current Plan. It had started the process of preparing the Approach Paper in the second quarter this fiscal and it is expected to be ready by March 2011.

The Asian pack closed in the green following the easing of tensions in the Korean peninsula. Stocks gained, as North Korea agreed to let inspectors check its uranium enrichment facilities. Signs of a recovery in the global economy also boosted investor confidence.

The Shanghai Composite surged 1.79%, the Hang Seng rose 1.57%, the Jakarta Composite jumped 1.92%, the KLSE Composite gained 0.62%, the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.51%, the Straits Times added 0.22%, the Seoul Composite was up 0.83% and the Taiwan Weighted ended 0.67% higher.

The cumulative turnover of commodity market-trading, which was re-introduced in April 2003 by the government, is expected to register a 50% jump to a record Rs105,00,000 crore by the end of this year from Rs70,00,000 crore last year.

The rise in turnover of the 23 commodity exchanges in the country, including five national bourses, following growing demand after the recovery of the global economy from a low in 2008 and 2009, besides high volatility in bullion and metals trade, helped commexes to record the huge surge this year.

Markets in the US closed mixed for the second successive day, amid low volume trade. Good economic news was offset by concerns regarding the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and geo-political tensions in the Korean region. Meanwhile, a host of US retailers are avoiding high discounts late in the holiday season, helping them wring more out of sales in the days before Christmas.

The Dow declined 13.78 points (0.12%) to 11,478.13. The S&P 500 added 3.17 points (0.25%) to 1,247.08. The Nasdaq gained 6.59 points (0.25%) to end at 2,649.56. US markets will be closed on Friday for the Christmas Eve holiday.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs109.53 crore on Monday, while domestic institutional investors were net buyers of Rs139.45 crore.

Mahindra & Mahindra (1.07%), India’s market leader in utility vehicles today announced the launch of 4X4 off-roader—Thar CRDe—in India. Thar is a reworked version of the Commander Jeep that was pulled off the roads in early 2000.

The Mumbai-based utility vehicle major has priced the Thar at Rs5.99 lakh in Delhi, Rs6.01 lakh in Bangalore, Rs5.97 lakh in Thane and Rs6.28 lakh in Mumbai. The vehicle will be launched in Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Mangalore and Jaipur by end-December and the rest of India by January 2011.

Heavy engineering major Texmaco (up 3.59%) has signed a joint venture agreement with Australian-based UGL Rail Services, a leading engineering, maintenance and facilities management company.

The pact covers design, manufacture and supply of locomotive bogies frames and platforms, wagons and wagon components for the Australian, Indian and export markets. Besides, both entities intend to explore opportunities related to rolling stock, maintenance and refurbishment.

Maruti Suzuki’s (up 1.03%) ‘completely made in India car’ will hit the roads by 2012. According to people in the know of the project, the company will finalise the design, engine size and how to position it in the market within the next six months.


Montek for several debt funds to build infrastructure sector

New Delhi: The Plan Panel has asked the finance ministry to examine the possibility of setting up several infrastructure debt funds (IDFs) to fund core sector development activities in the country, which are estimated to cost $1 trillion during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), reports PTI.

Following up on the suggestions made during the recent visit of US president Barack Obama to India, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has written a letter to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee suggesting modification of the regulatory framework and also on the need to exempt IDFs from payment of withholding tax.

“It would be very good idea if we can have not just one debt fund... (but) several debt funds. In order to make it possible, you need several regulatory relaxations or modifications. I have sent a note to the finance minister giving my assessment. I believe that it is being examined in the finance ministry,” Mr Ahluwalia told reporters.

During Mr Obama’s visit last month, the governments of India and US gave in-principle approval to a proposal from the industry to set up a $10 billion infrastructure fund.

Mr Ahluwalia said India needed several debt funds to finance infrastructure sector activities in the 12th Five Year Plan, as 50% of the total $1 trillion investment required during the 2007-12 period would have to come from the private sector.

The Planning Commission deputy chairman also made out a case for exempting debt funds from payment of withholding tax, as the levy would make their operation unviable. Withholding tax is the amount that is required to be deducted by an entity while paying interest on borrowings.


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