Indian stocks to open in the negative: Monday Market Preview

A steep hike in petrol prices and announcement of the core inflation numbers for April will weigh on the market

The domestic market is likely to open in the negative on weak global cues and the steep hike in petrol prices announced by government-owned retail oil companies, effective midnight of Saturday. Besides, headline inflation numbers for April will be out by noon today, which will give further direction to the market.

On the global front, Wall Street closed lower on Friday on mixed earnings guidance from companies and higher consumer inflation for April. Markets in Asia were mostly lower in early trade on Monday following a weak close of the US markets on Friday and lingering debt issues being faced by countries in the Euro zone. The SGX Nifty was 60.50 points lower at 5,520.50 against the close of 5,581 on Friday.

It was a lacklustre week for the market despite positive domestic economic indicators.  The last two days displayed contrasting trends with the market witnessing a sharp fall on Thursday on global cues, whereas it recovered on Friday, cheering the electoral results in the four states and one Union Territory. The market ended flat on the first three trading days of the week, fluctuating between positive and negative. It ended with a sharp cut of around 1.4% on Thursday, but recovered its losses on Friday and closed over 1% higher. Over the week, the market was flat with a mixed bias, as the Sensex added 12 points, while the Nifty shed seven points.

As the market tries to shrug off the downtrend, Friday’s gains could lead to a short-term rally that could fizzle out at 5,620-5,700.

Markets across the world have been worried about high commodity prices, rising inflation, rising interest rates and a slowdown in consumer spending, together with the potential downward GDP growth forecasts, and the consensus is that this will determine the trend going ahead.

Markets in the US closed lower on Friday on mixed earnings guidance from corporates and a rise in consumer inflation in April. JP Morgan (down 2.13%), Bank of America (down 2.21%) and Citigroup (down 2.1%), were among laggards in the financial sector on Friday. Stocks began their downward move in mid-afternoon trade as the dollar strengthened against the euro.

In economic news, US consumer price index rose 0.4% in April, mainly due to rising food and energy costs, compared with a 0.5% gain in March, the Labor Department said.

The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2% in April, up from a 0.1% gain in March. Gasoline prices rose 3.3% in April, which accounted for nearly half the rise in the overall CPI.

On the other hand, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for May rose to 72.4 from 69.8 in April, beating analysts’ expectations for a rise to 70.

The Dow declined 100.17 points (0.79%) at 12,595.75. The S&P 500 Index shed 10.88 points (0.81%) at 1,337.77 and the Nasdaq fell 34.57 points (1.21%) at 2,828.47.

Taking a cue from the weak US markets on Friday, markets in Asia opened mostly lower on Monday. The sentiments were also weighed by concerns about the debt crisis in Greece and caution about the US debt ceiling. Meanwhile, despite the devastating earthquake and tsunami Japan’s core machinery orders unexpectedly rose 2.9% in March from the previous month.

The Hang Seng declined 0.87%, the Jakarta Composite fell 0.43%, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.63%, the Straits Times retreated by 0.84%, the Seoul Composite was down 0.60% and the Taiwan Weighted fell by 0.59%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite and the KLSE Composite gained 0.08% each in early trade on Monday.

Back home, a day after oil retailing companies hiked petrol rates by a steep Rs5 per litre, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said a ministerial panel will decide on raising diesel, LPG and kerosene prices later this week.

An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by the finance minister is likely to deliberate on oil ministry's demand for a minimum Rs4 a litre hike in diesel price and Rs25 per cylinder increase in LPG rates to partly bridge the gulf between domestic prices and their international cost. He, however, neither gave the date of the EGoM meeting nor the quantum of hike the panel may consider.


Oil companies hike petrol price by Rs5 per litre

The increase in petrol price, which the oil firms had been holding since January even though crude oil had touched a two-and-a-half-year high, came a day after election results of five state assemblies were announced

New Delhi: In the biggest ever price increase of the fuel, state-owned oil companies today hiked petrol price by Rs5 per litre with effect from midnight Saturday, reports PTI.

The steep hike in petrol price is likely to be followed by a Rs4 per litre increase in diesel rates and Rs20Rs-25 per cylinder increase in domestic LPG price later this month.

Petrol in Delhi will cost Rs63.37 per litre at Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) outlets in the national capital from Sunday as against Rs58.37 a litre currently, an official said here.

Even after the hike, oil companies will continue to lose Rs5.50 per litre and another increase in price is on cards soon, he said.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) hiked price by Rs4.99 per litre and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) by Rs5.01 a litre.

Petrol at BPCL outlets currently cost Rs58.39 per litre and at HPCL pumps Rs58.38 a litre.

The increase in petrol price, which the oil firms had been holding since January even though crude oil had touched a two-and-a-half-year high, came a day after election results of five state assemblies were announced.

The government had in June last year freed petrol price from its control but oil companies continued to follow ‘informal’ advice from the oil ministry on rate revision.

The three firms had not raised prices since January in view of assembly elections in states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

“The hike needed to make domestic rates at par with international prices was Rs10.50 per litre but oil companies chose to hike rates by less than half of that,” the official said. “Another hike in petrol price is on cards soon,” he said.

This is the eighth hike in petrol price since the June 2010 decision. Petrol in Delhi cost Rs51.43 after the 26th June decision of the government deregulating its price.

The official said Saturday’s hike in petrol price was made necessary because of rising borrowing of oil companies who faced severe working capital shortage in view of losses incurred on fuel sales.

IOC has seen its borrowing rise by Rs15,000 crore in last 45 days as it loses Rs296 crore per day on fuel sales.

Besides petrol, it loses Rs18.19 per litre on diesel, Rs29.69 a litre on kerosene and Rs329.73 per 14.2-kg LPG cylinder.


RTI activist calls for reforming the culture of secrecy that breeds corruption

Bhaskar Prabhu, convenor of Mahiti Adhikar Manch, says the Right to Information movement must start from the home, through discussion and financial planning with all family members. He was addressing a Moneylife Foundation workshop on using the RTI Act effectively

“Nearly 70% of the Right to Information (RTI) applications are filed by government employees, seeking to know why they have not been promoted or why they have been transferred. Citizens should understand that the RTI is much more than that,” Bhaskar Prabhu, convenor of Mahiti Adhikar Manch said today. Mr Prabhu was speaking at a Moneylife Foundation workshop on ‘How to use the RTI Act effectively’.
Mr Prabhu gave the participants a crash course on the RTI Act, listing the history of its evolution, explaining in detail the salient features, the restrictions and exceptions, the rights of those seeking information and the process to file appeals and reviews.
“We have an inherent culture of secrecy, and it starts in our homes. If we start with our own homes, I think we will create an atmosphere of transparency that will reflect on our public authorities,” Mr Prabhu said. He asked participants how many people really discussed matters within their families before taking decisions, particularly financial decisions.
He described the nature of public information, the institutions that can be classified as public authorities and the forms in which information is available that can be applied for, like even being able to inspect official records.
Mr Prabhu gave numerous examples and tips on how to seek information through the RTI Act satisfactorily. But through the more than 90-minute presentation, he repeatedly underlined the importance of people to ACT on their issues, without which no legislation can work.
“It is the citizen’s right to demand that public authorities maintain records in a way which facilitates the RTI. Ask for a good record-keeping system,” Mr Prabhu said. He also said that in case someone opts for inspecting documents while seeking voluminous information, he must insist that the files/records be made available to him properly indexed and catalogued. “If the authorities resist, fight for it. They are bound to give you information in an accessible form.”
Mr Prabhu also outlined the hurdles that are put in the way of disseminating information and how one should counter them. He also talked about why public authorities should be proactive in disseminating information, and how public awareness can be spread about the legislation.
“Programmes should be conducted for the disadvantaged, to educate them on how to use the Act, suitable training material must be developed, public authorities must be asked to participate in training their public information officers and to sensitise them to voluntarily disclose required information in a cost effective and people-friendly manner,” he said.
Mr Prabhu’s presentation was the second programme on RTI conducted by Moneylife Foundation after the seminar on the ‘Proper and Responsible use of RTI’ addressed by eminent civic activist Ashok Ravat.
The RIT Act is being increasingly used by citizens to check on the progress of plans in their neighbourhood, allocation of funds for schemes and important decisions by the government and has helped in revealing mismanagement and corruption that public pressure can set right. It is key to transparent, accountable, efficient and corruption-free governance.
“If we need a transparent and corruption-free government, we should be proactive ourselves”, Mr Prabhu said. “We must stop bribing officials, and take up the RTI seriously to know about governance deficit. Then only can our grievances be addressed.”  




D Kirit

5 years ago

Agree with Mr. Prabhui fullly. Let us propogate RTI to have better corruption free India.

Chetan Bordawekar

5 years ago

With due respect to everyone at MoneyLIFE & Mr.Bhasker Prabhu, I was disappointed with the seminar. Mr.Prabhu explained How & Why to use RTI Act. But he didn't discussed the difficulties faced in getting information from Public Authorities. He didn't shared his own experience on RTI Act. I was surprised when he said, "I am not an Activist". Then Who is he? He also skipped many slides without informing what was it contained. He gave basic info like format of RTI application, which everyone knows. It could have been better if he would have allowed audiance to share their experience in short as this help others to take precaution while filing RTI application. Only plus point of seminar, was the small documentary in the begining, which was no doubt excellent. Overall a disappointing seminar.


5 years ago

Excellent views articulated by Mr.Prabhu. One must practice what one preaches.

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