The Sensex may be headed for 16,000 and the Nifty for 4,800
The market opened weak on worries that rising crude prices in the wake of the ongoing flare-up in West Asia might lead to a harsh Union budget. Trading sentiment remained bearish on the back of a weakening global trend, which raised concerns of rising inflation and higher interest rates. A marginal rise in weekly food inflation numbers for mid-February pulled the key indices further down.
The Sensex dipped below the psychological 18,000 points level in late morning trade, dragged down by sectors like capital goods, banking, auto and metal. The market traded in a narrow range for a brief period post-noon, but plunged subsequently to close 3% down.
Yesterday, we had mentioned that the market could be setting itself up for another steep decline, though the indicators were not clear. The market fell steeply today. The Sensex fell 546 points to 17,632, while the Nifty fell 175 points to 5,263. The fall happened on the back of news of spiralling oil prices. The 380-point gain on the Nifty in six days of trading since 11th February have been almost wiped off by the 343-point drop in four days, including today. The decline will continue, subject to weak rallies.
The Sensex and the Nifty both opened with a negative gap at 18,135 and 5,409 and traded weak throughout the day. The Sensex opening was its intra-day high, while the Nifty's intra day high was 5,423. The indices hit an intra-day low of 17,560 and 5,243, respectively. The next support for the Nifty is at 5,150. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange is a dismal 206:1456.
The market breadth on the key indices was negative. There was just one gainer in the 30-share Sensex. The Nifty retired with 48 declining stocks and just two in the green. The broader markets were equally mauled in the debacle. The BSE Mid-cap index tumbled 2.91% and the BSE Small-cap index tanked 2.77%.
All sectoral gauges ended in the red. The BSE Bankex index (down 3.97%), BSE Consumer Durables (down 3.89%), the BSE Capital Goods (down 3.77%), the BSE Auto (down 3.52%) and BSE Realty (down 3.48%) were the major losers.
Hero Honda (up 1.61%) was the lone gainer on the Sensex. Tata Motors (down 7.54%), Jaiprakash Associates (down 6.20%), ICICI Bank (down 5.43%), Jindal Steel (down 5.37%) and Larsen & Toubro (down 4.94%) were the laggards on the index.
The Indian crude basket, which comprises Oman-Dubai sour grade crude and Brent dated sweet crude in a 62.3:37.7 ratio, touched $101.67 a barrel on Tuesday (22nd February). Sources said oil companies are under pressure to avoid a petrol price hike, and the periodic revision of petrol prices is on hold for now. Oil companies, which are facing huge losses on account of selling products below cost, are waiting to see how the finance minister will tackle the surge in crude in his budget proposals to be presented on Monday.
Food inflation rose marginally to 11.49% for the week ended 12th February from 11.05% in the previous week, driven by rising prices of milk, eggs, meat and vegetables. The marginal rise in food inflation for the seven-day period ended 12th February snapped a fortnight of consecutive decline in the weeks ended 29th January and 5th February. Food inflation stood at 21.82% in the corresponding year-ago period.
Markets in Asia, which opened mixed, settled mostly in the red, weighed down by spiralling crude prices and the continuing crisis in West Asia. Investors and policymakers alike were worried that the development would slow down growth in the world at large. On the other hand, stronger oil and coal prices fuelled energy stocks in China.
Meanwhile, crude oil for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed as much as 5.4% to $103.41 in Asian trading, while Brent oil for April settlement reached as high as $119.79 in London.
The Hang Seng declined 1.34%, Jakarta Composite fell by 1.01%, the KLSE Composite tanked 1.41%, the Nikkei 225 was down 1.19%, the Straits Times shaved of 0.96% and the Seoul Composite ended 0.60% lower. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite gained 0.58% and the Taiwan Weighted added 0.15% today.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs554.60 crore on Wednesday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers of equities worth Rs352.82 crore.
Pharma major Aurobindo Pharma (down 16.81%) has received tentative approval from the US health regulator to market its generic Venlafaxine capsules used for treating major depressive disorder (MDD).
In a filing to the stock exchanges, the company said the tentative approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) is for multiple strengths of 37.5 mg, 75 mg and 150 mg of Venlafaxine extended release capsules. These capsules are a generic equivalent of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc's Effexor XR capsules in the strengths of 37.5 mg, 75 mg and 150 mg.
Computer Point (down 4.02%), India's number one and single largest computer chain, has been selected by the Government of India (GoI) to provide its versatile infrastructure and specialised services for conducting various skill-oriented tests for the Staff Selection Commission (ER). Computer Point (Education Division) will provide high-tech infrastructure and expertise in enabling the GoI to conduct these examinations.
Jubilant Foodworks (up 3.22%) is reportedly looking to join hands with Dunkin' Donuts, one of the largest coffee-and-baked-goods chain, through a franchisee deal. The tie-up will diversify Jubilant Foodworks' portfolio, besides reducing its dependence on a single brand.
Power Finance Corporation new issue closes on 22nd March
Power Finance Corporation has launched infrastructure bond, offering a fixed rate of interest of up to 8.5% payable annually or on a cumulative basis.
The rate of interest for 10-year tenure, annual and cumulative, is 8.3% while for 15 year tenure, it will be 8.5% with a lock in period of five years. This means investors have the choice to buy back, they can offer it back to the company after five years.
The bonds offered will be in maturities of 10 years and 15 years with a buyback option after five years and seven years, respectively. The bond issue opens for public subscription on 24th February and closes on 22nd March.
The bond will be of a face value of Rs5,000 and would be listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Investors can avail tax benefit of Rs20,000 for the current financial year 2010-11 under Section 80CCF of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
HDFC Mutual Fund new issue closes on 28th February
HDFC Mutual Fund has launched HDFC FMP 100D February 2011 (1), a close-ended income scheme.
The investment objective of the plans under the scheme is to generate income through investments in debt/money market instruments and government securities maturing on or before the maturity date of the respective plan(s).
The new issue opens on 24th February and closes on 28th February. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The scheme will be managed by Bharat Pareek.