Stocks
Stock markets gain for the third day

The Indian markets remained green on strong global cues. During the day Asian markets shot up on reports that Australia’s central bank more than tripled its economic-growth forecast while US unemployment claims and worker productivity beat estimates.

The key benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan rose by between 0.28% - 1.63%. At the end of the day the Sensex closed at 16,158, gaining 94 points from the previous day’s close while the Nifty closed at 4,796, 30 points up. At one point of time in the morning the Sensex was up 220 points before a selloff took the index to a low of 16,075 during the day. On Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 204 points to close above 10,006 while the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index were up 20 points, and 50 points.

The US market was up as the Labour Department announced that productivity surged at a 9.5% annual rate as companies squeezed more output from a smaller pool of labour to hold the line on costs. They also reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to 512,000 in the week ended October 31, the lowest level since early January. Markets had expected a decline to only 523,000, from the 530,000 reported in the prior week.

During the day, IT stocks remained red on fears of rupee appreciation affecting their operating profit margins. TCS was down 1% while Infosys remained flat. Garware Offshore Services was up 2% after the company’s platform vessel, M V Mana, won a two-year contract worth approximately Rs22.50 crore a year in the North Sea, from an exploration and production company.

Mangalam Timber Products shot up 7% after one of the promoter group companies hiked its stake in the firm while Indiabulls Power rose 6% on reports that Morgan Stanley had acquired 21 lakh shares of the company. The stock continues to trade below issue price. Fedders Lloyd jumped 5% on securing an export order worth Rs52 crore from Ethiopian Electric Corporation (EEPCO), Ethiopia, towards supply of power distribution material. Aurobindo Pharma was up 1%, after the company received approval from the US Food & Drug Administration for Lamotrigine tablets in 5 milligram and 25 milligram strengths.

Steel stocks rose on reports that major steel producers have posted strong sales volumes for the month of October 2009. Steel Authority of India (SAIL) which has posted 28% growth in saleable steel volumes to 0.85 million tonnes in October 2009 over the corresponding period rose 1% while Tata Steel, rose 3% after it announced that steel sales at its Indian operations rose 38% to 4,62,000 tonnes in October 2009 over the corresponding period. However, JSW Steel fell 2%.

As per media reports the government is expected to consider a proposal to allow foreign airlines to pick up to 49% equity in Indian carriers, despite stiff opposition from the country’s largest private airline Jet Airways. Currently, the government allows 49% foreign direct investment in domestic carriers but bars foreign airlines from holding any stake directly or indirectly.

The United States on Thursday slapped preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging up to 99% on $2.63 billion in Chinese-made pipes used in the oil and gas industry, which is the biggest US trade action against China. However, China’s ministry of commerce commented that it would protect its industry’s interests and accused Washington of double-standards in denouncing new US anti-dumping duties imposed shortly before a visit by President Barack Obama to Asia on a trip that includes stops in Shanghai and Beijing. The US non-farm payrolls report due later today may show 175,000 jobs cut in October 2009. The unemployment rate is tipped to rise from 9.8% to 9.9%. In the premarket trading, the Dow Jones is trading 16 points higher.
Swapnil Suvarna [email protected]

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Turmeric, Corn and Copper

The price of turmeric between 1 October 2009 and 15 October 2009 shot up from around Rs8,000 to Rs8,900 due to lower arrivals and strong demand. Emergence of export demand from the Middle East is also supporting the gain in prices. Turmeric stocks were already lower by seven lakh bags compared to last year and the recent floods and heavy rains have further increased the gap to about eight lakh bags. Post-Diwali, prices are expected to touch Rs7,800 to Rs8,000 levels as some profit-booking would be seen in the markets.

Recent floods in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have affected the corn-producing belt. This will keep corn prices high, since nearly one-fifth of the crop in Karnataka and AP has been wiped out. Karnataka and AP account for 10% and 20% of corn output respectively.

Copper remains a base metal with strong fundamentals. Chinese demand has begun to normalise; demand for copper remains fairly robust while scrap supply remains steady too. However, fears that all is not well with the supply scenario have resurfaced due to strikes in key producing areas. The rich countries are likely to join the emerging world in global economic recovery in 2010 resulting in a rise in the copper demand in the first quarter of 2010. Copper prices are expected to move above $6,700 in the next three-four months. 
 

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