The Sensex may go down to 18,700 and the Nifty to 5,600. Also, watch if the indices trade above their previous day's high for a reversal
The market opened in the red, tracking a downward trend in the Asian markets and speculation that the country's industrial output data, which was to be released later in the day, would be lower-than-expected on rising costs. The Sensex, which lost 140 points on Friday, was 68 points down at the opening and the Nifty fell 37 points to 5,805. Auto, banking, realty and IT sectors witnessed selling pressure, dragging the market further southwards.
Weak Index of Industrial Production (IIP) numbers for February, announced before noon, resulted in a quick fall and the market remained range-bound thereafter. Under selling pressure from institutional investors, the market touched the low-point of the day towards the fag end of the session. The Sensex fell to 19,243 and the Nifty touched 5,778 at the intra-day lows. The market closed a tad above those levels with the Sensex at 19,263, down 189 points from Friday's close and the Nifty down 56 points at 5,786. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 445:959.
With the market closed on Tuesday and again on Thursday on local holidays, investors will be cautious this week.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index was down 0.70% and the BSE Small-cap index declined 0.71%.
All but two sectoral gauges ended in the red today. BSE Realty (down 2.52%), BSE Auto (down 2.15%), BSE Consumer Durables (down 1.89%), BSE Oil & Gas (down 1.59%) and BSE Capital Goods (down 1.07%) were the top losers. BSE Healthcare (up 0.05%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.02%) were the gainers.
On the Sensex, DLF (down 3.51%), Jindal Steel (down 3.01%), Jaiprakash Associates (down 2.96%), Tata Motors (down 2.84%) and HDFC (down 2.69%) were the top losers. On the other hand, Reliance Infrastructure (up 0.84), Cipla (up 0.63%) and ITC (up 0.46%) were noteworthy gainers.
Pinning his hopes on a smart recovery in farm output, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today said the country would clock over 8.5% economic expansion in 2010-11 despite a moderation in industrial growth. Industrial output in February rose slower-than-expected at 3.6% in February from a year earlier, while the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has grew by 7.8% during April 2010-February 2011, compared to 10% in the previous corresponding period.
Concerns about high energy costs derailing the economic recovery in the region took a toll of Asian markets today. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.5% as the nation's machinery orders dropped for the first time in three months in February. While the Shanghai Composite closed lower, shares of exploration companies surged on higher oil prices.
The Shanghai Composite fell 0.25%, the Hang Seng declined 0.38%, the KLSE Composite tanked 0.87%, the Straits Times contracted 0.84%, the Seoul Composite dipped 0.26% and the Taiwan Weighted ended 0.16% lower. Bucking the trend, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.11%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs384.85 crore on Friday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs128.40 crore on the day.
Punj Lloyd (down 2.49%) has informed the stock exchanges that its group company Sembawang Engineers and Constructors Pte Ltd, one of the leading engineering, procurement and construction companies in Singapore, has through its subsidiary Sembawang Development signed an agreement to acquire a 50% stake in a thermal coal mine company in central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The mining company holds a coal IUP license and currently has estimated resources of 134 million tonnes and potential reserves calculated at 57 million tonnes.
Coal India (CIL) (up 0.52%) has been conferred the coveted Maharatna status, giving the world's largest coal producer greater autonomy for taking investment decisions. The status will enable CIL to pursue its acquisition plans in South Africa, Indonesia, Australia and the US more aggressively.
In a move towards allowing large-scale private sector participation in the defence sector, leading power utility Tata Power Company (up 0.35%) has been awarded the contract to modernise the Airfield Infrastructure of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for an undisclosed amount.
The low numbers in February were on account of slippages in performance of capital goods and basic goods sector, though consumer goods sector continued to post good results
New Delhi: The government today said it expects the country's industrial output growth to remain low in March, continuing the trend of the previous few months, but looked forward to a sharp recovery in factory output numbers during April, reports PTI.
"Our expectation is that the next month (March) will not be a good month. So there is one more difficult month ahead for us which is the month of March... We will see no growth in the industrial sector. But I do expect a big turnaround in the month of April," chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu told reporters here.
He said "a big rebound" is expected in the April numbers, the results for which will be out in June.
Mr Basu's comment came following release of the latest data which showed the factory output, measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), dipping to 3.6% in February as against 15.1% in the same month of last year.
Poor performance of manufacturing and mining sectors pulled down the industrial growth rate in February.
During the April-February period of the 2010-11 fiscal, industrial growth slowed to 7.8%, from 10% in the same period of the previous financial year.
The government also revised the IIP for January to 3.95% from the earlier estimate of 3.7%.
These figures follow similar kind of low growth in factory output witnessed in November 2010 when it rose by 2.7% and December (2.53%).
The last major jump in industrial production happened in October last year when it expanded by 11.29%.
Experts have attributed the low growth in factory output to high base and slowdown in investments.
However, senior officials, including Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said the low industrial growth would be compensated by record farm output and help the economy achieve the projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of over 8.5% for 2010-11.
The low numbers in February were on account of slippages in performance of capital goods and basic goods sector, though consumer goods sector continued to post good results.
Capital goods contracted by 18.4%. The sector had expanded by a robust growth of 46.7% in February 2010. In February, manufacturing growth plummeted to 3.5% from 16.1% during the same period a year ago.
Overall consumer goods reported a rise of 11.1% as against 6.3% in February last year.
Mining growth also plummeted to 0.6% in the month under review from 11% in the comparable month of 2010. Electricity generation output rose by 6.7% in February, compared to 7.3% growth in the same month last year.
According to an RTI query, the government is dragging its feet on payments on the plea that the affairs of the Commonwealth Games are under a criminal probe
Diplomatic envoys from seven European countries and Australia have sent a second reminder to the Union sports and finance ministry, asking for payment of dues to foreign companies who contributed to the success of the Commonwealth Games. However, despite promising to pay after receiving the first letter in January, the government is apparently dragging its feet on the excuse that the affairs of the Games are under a criminal probe that has not been completed.
The European diplomats representing the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland and one from Australia, have written in a joint letter dated 16th February 2011, to youth affairs and sports minister Ajay Maken, that the government's silence is damaging India's reputation and raises questions about the country's commitment to fulfil contractual obligations. This was revealed in response to a query, by activist Subhas Agrawal, under the Right to Information Act.
"Four months after the event finished, nearly 20 companies from our countries still await full payment against contracts entered into in good faith. These companies made a substantial contribution to the success of the Games, bringing world-class skills and capabilities to India. The combined amount owed to these companies is close to US $70 million. As you will appreciate, this has caused considerable financial difficulty for all, placing some in a critical position," the diplomats stated. Mr Agrawal has also received a list of 18 companies and the amounts due to them.
The diplomats also alleged that many of their companies have still not received clearances from the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Board of Excise and Customs for unloading shipments containing essential equipment for business. As a result, they are finding it difficult to fulfil their obligations to other sports events like the Asian Football Cup in Doha.
"Each of us has lent support to these in their attempts to resolve these issues amicably and in a low-key manner. The companies and our interventions have unfortunately proved insufficient," they said. "Your welcome initiative to ensure that outstanding payments would be made by the OC (Organising Committee) within 10 days has not broken the deadlock and the deadline has passed. DDA (Delhi Development Authority) and PB (Prasar Bharati) have also not met all of their financial commitments to some of our companies."
The matter of pending dues first came to light when the British High Commissioner wrote to the Union finance minister, complaining about the irregularity in payments to the British broadcasting company SIS Live. The embarrassing exposure led the government to state on 31st January that all payments would be settled soon. However, nothing has been done yet and the payments continue to be withheld, citing the ongoing probe into the Commonwealth Games affairs.
Sindhushree Khullar, secretary in the ministry of youth affairs and sports, has written to foreign secretary Nirupama Rao asking for advice. According to the status report sent to Ms Rao, in most cases the payments have been withheld due to the ongoing probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. It said data about other deals was being collected and processed and that administrative hurdles continued to delay payments.
The diplomats are not convinced. "It is encouraging that discussions between the Organising Committee and some of the affected companies continue. But we are concerned that these discussions have been taking place for months without a satisfactory resolution," the letter stated.
"We have mutual interest in ensuring that India continues to attract the levels of trade and investment to sustain levels of growth that realises the country's economic potential. The long delay in settling these matters is damaging India's national reputation, including as a host of major sporting events, denting the confidence of foreign business and raising doubts about the enforcement of contracts," they said in the letter.