Yesterday, we had mentioned that the Nifty’s support is at 5,820. Today, the benchmark made a low of 5,836. Yet, strong downward momentum is lacking
The market closed flat with a negative bias amid highly volatile trade as cautiousness prevailed ahead of the Union Budget and sluggish global cues. Yesterday, we had mentioned that the Nifty’s support is at 5,820. Today, the benchmark made a low of 5,836. Yet, strong downward momentum is lacking. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 56.47 crore shares and advance-decline ratio of 712:770.
The market opened mixed tracking negative cues from Europe and the US in overnight trade. On the other hand, the Asian markets were up in morning trade as investors picked up stocks at lower levels after yesterday’s sharp decline in the markets.
The Nifty opened 14 points lower at 5,838 and the Sensex resumed trade at 19,342, 17 points higher. Buying in oil & gas, pharma and power stocks pushed the indices higher in initial trade.
However, volatility saw the benchmarks moving in and out of the red before dropping to their lows at around 10.30am. The Nifty fell to 5,836 and the Sensex went back to 19,290 at their respective lows.
A fair degree saw the market fluctuating between gains and losses as trade progressed. A positive opening of the European indices supported domestic investor sentiment in the post-noon session.
Buying in banking and healthcare stocks helped the indices hit their intraday highs at round 2.30pm with the Nifty rising to 5,874 and the Sensex going up to 19,402. However, choppiness ahead of the Union Budget kept a cap on the gains.
The market closed a tad lower, and in the red for the second day, on nervousness ahead of the Union Budget next week. The Nifty settled two points down (0.03%) to 5,850 and the Sensex settled eight points (0.04%) at 19,317.
While the BSE Sensex and Nifty closed flat with a negative bias, the broader indices were marginally in the positive. The BSE Mid-cap index added 0.02% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.11%.
The top sectoral gainers were BS Realty (up 1.35%); BSE TECk (up 1.33%); BSE IT (up 0.83%); BSE Healthcare (up 0.78%) and BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.58%). The main lowers were BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1.41%); BSE Auto (down 0.55%); BSE Metal (down 0.53%); BSE PSU (down 0.29%) and BSE Consumer Durables (down 0.15%).
Fourteen of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The major gainers on the Sensex were Bharti Airtel (up 4.64%); Wipro (up 2.43%); Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 1.96%); ICICI Bank (up 1.22%) and Infosys (up 1.06%). The chief losers were Hindustan Unilever (down 2.60%); Coal India (down 2.31%); Maruti Suzuki (down 2.09%); HDFC (down 1.84%) and Tata Motors (down 1.60%).
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Strides Arcolab (up 5.46%) and Gujarat Fluorochomicals (up 5.37%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Jet Airways India (down 5.81%) and United Breweries (down 4.61%).
The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Rupa & Company (up 19.97%) and Sacheta Metals (up 19.94%).
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Alka India (down 14.29%) and Winsome Textile Industries (down 13.90%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 25 ended in the green. The key gainers were Bharti Airtel (up 4.51%); DLF (up 3.51%); Wipro (up 2.65%); Power Grid Corporation (up 2.25%) and Sun Pharma (up 1.57%). The top losers were HUL (down 2.79%); Coal India (down 2.69%); Jaiprakash Associates (down 2.23%); Maruti Suzuki (down 2.13%) and HDFC (down 1.85%).
Markets across Asia settled mixed following reports that euro-area services and manufacturing declined more-than-expected in February. Besides, the Federal Reserve’s Bank of St Louis president James Bullard said the US unemployment rate may fall to 6.5% by mid-2014 which may prompt the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate.
The Jakarta Composite rose 0.40%; the KLSE Composite gained 0.50%; the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.68%; the Straits Times added 0.02% and the Seoul Composite was up 0.18%. On the other side, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.51%; the Hang Seng dropped 0.54% and the Taiwan Weighted fell 0.12%.
At the time of writing, CAC of France was up 1.25%, DAX of Germany rose 0.36% and UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.57%. At the same time, the US stock futures were in the positive, indicating a firm opening for the US markets later in the day.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares aggregating Rs1,213.57 crore on Thursday whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks amounting to Rs228.78 crore.
The RP Sanjiv Goenka group-owned tea and plantations company, Harrisons Malayalam, plans to develop rubber plantations on 4,000-5,000 hectares in Ghana on long-term lease basis. The company would invest nearly Rs300 crore for setting up the plantations. The stock closed 1.14% higher at Rs57.45 on the NSE.
Tata Chemicals’ customised fertilisers unit at Babrala, Uttar Pradesh, is facing hard times. The 1.3-lakh-million-tonne production facility is operating below half its installed capacity because of lack of demand. The stock fell 0.60% to close at Rs330 on the NSE.
Gujarat Gas (one of our Long Term picks) has posted decent third quarter results despite weak volumes. The stock appeared on the Long Term section in our 8-21 February 2013 issue with an entry price of Rs312.45. The share price is currently Rs289.20 on the BSE.
Net sales of Gujarat Gas for the December 2012 quarter were up 17%, to Rs760.78 crore when compared to Rs649.89 crore in the same quarter previous year. The net profit during the third quarter of the 2013 fiscal was up a whopping 179%, from Rs24.79 crore to Rs69.27 crore. The company managed to put in an impressive performance despite low volumes and high input prices. The total volume of gas sold during the quarter was 270 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meters per day) compared to 314 mmscmd in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Volumes in the industrial segment have been lower with increasing price of gas. However, the impact on profits due to increase in gas cost in the previous year was mostly mitigated in 2012.
Gujarat Gas has been quite consistent in its financial performance. Not once did the company’s net sales decline and it has been growing steadily in double-digit figures. Net sales growth (17%) for the 2012 December quarter was below par though, when compared to its three quarter y-o-y growth rate of 26%. The company’s return on net worth is a fantastic 37%. Surprisingly, its valuation remains subdued, with market capitalisation just over 8x operating profit. Perhaps, it is the cyclical nature of the business coupled with regulatory hurdles and unpredictable nature of gas supply which makes the valuation cheap.
Sugata Sircar, managing director, said, “Volumes in certain industrial segments have been impacted by rising cost of gas and resultant increase in gas prices. The cost of re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) has increased sharply in Q4, 2012, which had a significant impact on our costs, as RLNG constitutes 47% of the sourcing mix.”
Mr Sircar further said, “GGCL has been executing its strategy successfully, of sustaining profitability while investing in growth. The company’s distribution network has been extended by laying 59 km of additional steel pipelines in 2012. Eight new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations were commissioned, about 34,600 residences have been connected and more than 23,400 vehicles converted to CNG during the year. However, more than 250,000 scmd of additional industrial volumes were commissioned during the year and more importantly, in certain viable segments.”
The company connected 7,300 residential customers and converted about 5,100 vehicles to CNG during the quarter in addition to commissioning additional volumes in the industrial sector.
However, Gujarat Gas seemed to have missed analysts’ estimates. According to Nomura Equity Research (Nomura), “Sharp decline in sales volumes was the key reason for earnings miss, in our view”. Nomura had estimated that the company’s bottomline would be Rs85.1 crore, while Bloomberg’s consensus was Rs80.5 crore.
According to Nomura, GGCL has increased gas prices for industrial customers by 4%, and is the first such instance of price increase since July 2012. The company also increased CNG process by 8.5%. This will help the company to maintain margins.
Some of the major events during the quarter were:
Gujarat Gas Company, a subsidiary of BG Group plc (65.12%), currently distributes approximately 3.2 mmscmd of natural gas. GGCL continues to be India’s largest private sector gas distribution company in terms of sales volume. It has proven expertise in distributing gas to the entire range of customers—Industrial, Commercial, Domestic and CNG. GGCL distributes gas to about 375,500 industrial, commercial and domestic customers through its pipeline network and CNG to over 192,100 vehicles through 54 retail outlets.
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