The global nuclear risk scenario

Nature News and Columbia University have come out with an interactive map which combines data on population and the locations and sizes of reactors, plotting risk graphically in the form of circles.

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Range-bound opening for Indian stocks indicated: Monday Market Preview

The market will witness volatility ahead of the expiry of the April futures and options contract, due later this week

The Indian stock market is expected to open sideways as investors will brood over the quarterly results of Reliance Industries, which were announced after the market closed on Thursday. Besides, the market is expected to witness volatility on account of the expiry of the April futures and options contract, due on Thursday.

On the global front, markets in Asia were trading mixed on higher oil and metal prices. Wall Street closed the truncated week in the green on earnings optimism and a fall in weekly jobless claims. The SGX Nifty was down 0.50 points at 5,901 compared to its previous close of 5,901.50.

Indiabulls Securities, Maruti Suzuki, M&M Financial Services, Proctor & Gamble, Sesa Goa and Sterlite Industries are among the companies which will announce their financial numbers today.

The market ended the holiday-shortened trading week with marginal gains, on mixed corporate earnings and a downward revision in the growth outlook. The Indian Meteorological Department predicted a normal monsoon for this year, while exports in the just-concluded fiscal recorded the highest-ever growth of 37.5%. However, food inflation for the week ended 9th April shot up to 8.74%, reversing a three-week decline.

The bourses closed the week with a 1% gain. The Sensex was 215 points up at 19,602, and the Nifty was up 60 points at 5,885. If the Nifty which is currently at around 5,900 levels falls below 5,700, a downtrend may follow.

US markets closed higher on Thursday on strong earnings reports and negative economic data ahead of a long weekend. The Labor Department on Thursday said initial jobless claims for the week ended 16th April fell by 13,000 to 403,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 416,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to fall to 390,000 in the week under review. This apart, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's regional business index came in below analysts’ estimates.

The Dow gained 52.45 points (0.42%) to 12,505.99. The S&P 500 added 7.02 points (0.53%) at 1,337.38 and the Nasdaq rose 17.65 points (0.63) at 2,820.16.

Markets in Asia were mixed in early trade on Monday on caution about the Japanese earnings season, which kicks off this week. Higher commodity prices also weighed on investors in the region.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government on Friday approved 4 trillion yen ($48.5 billion) in spending, its first emergency budget for disaster relief. The emergency budget, which is likely be followed by more spending packages later to fund reconstruction, includes about 1.6 trillion yen of infrastructure-related spending.

The KLSE Composite gained 0.16%, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.29% and the Seoul Composite climbed 0.24%. On the other hand, Shanghai Composite tanked 1.23%, the Jakarta Composite shed 0.02%, the Straits Times declined 0.08% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.04%.

Crude oil rose to the highest in two weeks in New York as fresh violence in the Middle East and Africa threatens to prolong supply disruptions. Crude oil for June delivery rose as much as 78 cents to $113.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest intra-day price since 11th April, when futures reached $113.46. The contract was at $112.94 in morning trade in Asia.

Brent crude oil for June settlement rose 55 cents, or 0.4%, to $124.54 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Back home, in its new set of rules for an estimated $1 trillion wealth management industry, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is planning to set up an intermediary regulatory body with representation from among the wealth managers themselves.

In the proposed self-regulatory model, the market watchdog will put the onus entirely on wealth managers for compliance to the regulations and the new entity to be created under SEBI’s guidance would work as the first-stage regulator as also market development authority.

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Market in a range : Weekly market report

If the Nifty goes below 5,700, expect a downturn

The market ended the holiday-shortened trading week with marginal gains, on mixed corporate earnings and a downward revision in the growth outlook. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted a normal monsoon for this year, while exports in the just-concluded fiscal recorded the highest-ever growth of 37.5%. However, food inflation for the week ended 9th April shot up to 8.74%, reversing a three-week decline.

The bourses closed the week with a 1% gain. The Sensex was 215 points up at 19,602, and the Nifty was up 60 points at 5,885. If the Nifty which is currently at around 5,900 levels falls below 5,700, a downtrend may follow.

In the Sensex space, ONGC, Mahindra & Mahindra (up 6% each), Hindalco Industries, Hindustan Unilever (up 5% each) and Sterlite Industries (up 4%) were the top performers. On the other hand, BHEL (down 8%), Infosys Technologies (down 3%), Hero Honda (down 2%), Larsen & Toubro and Reliance Communications (down 1% each) topped the losers for the week.

Among the sectoral gauges, BSE Oil & Gas gained 3% and BSE Auto rose 2%, while BSE Capital Goods and BSE Power lost 2% each.

On Tuesday, the IMD announced that it expects a normal monsoon this year for a second consecutive year, boosting prospects of the agriculture sector. Quantitatively, the monsoon season rainfall is likely to be 98% of the long period average (LPA) with a model error of plus or minus 5%, IMD director-general Ajit Tyagi said. However, according to weather scientists, some pockets, particularly the north-western region, could see a deficit in rainfall.

The government said exports grew by 37.5% to $245.9 billion in 2010-11, demonstrating a robust demand for Indian merchandise not just in western economies, but in new markets like Latin America as well. Imports, on the other hand grew at a slower pace of 21.5% to $350.3 billion, despite increasing pressure on crude oil prices. The country's total merchandise trade has almost touched $600 billion-half of India's gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.2 trillion.

Food inflation shot up to 8.74% for the week ended 9th April from 8.28% in the previous week, and this could put more pressure on the government as headline inflation for March also overshot its forecast of 8% to 8.98%.

Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs also slashed India's growth forecast for this fiscal to 7.8%, on account of a rise in interest rates. The estimate is way below the government's forecast of 9% growth in 2011-12. The global financial major also raised its inflation forecast for FY10-12 to 7.5%, from 6.7%, due to the recent large upside surprise in core prices. Goldman Sachs expects the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will continue with its tight monetary policy this year to control inflationary pressures.

Among key corporates that declared their results this week, Reliance Industries' (RIL) Q4 results, which came after the market closed on Thursday, lagged expectations. Net profit increased to Rs5,376 crore from Rs4,710 crore, while total sales rose 26.2% to Rs72,674 crore from Rs57,570 crore in the previous corresponding period.

Hindustan Zinc reported a 42.96% jump in Q4 net profit at Rs1,771.27 crore, on the back of the highest ever production of sliver and zinc. Net sales of the company rose by 27.95% in the quarter at Rs3,197.02 crore, compared to Rs2,498.47 crore on a year-on-year basis.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced a 31.1% y-o-y increase in fourth-quarter net profit to Rs2,623 crore in the three months to 31 March 2011, according to Indian GAAP. Revenues also grew by 31.3% y-o-y to Rs10,157 crore in the March quarter.

IDBI Bank announced a 62% growth in net profit to Rs516 crore in the quarter ended March 2011 from Rs318 crore in the previous corresponding quarter. IDBI's net interest income in the fourth quarter increased by 45% to Rs1,109 crore as against Rs 762 crore in the previous corresponding quarter.

Private sector lender Yes Bank posted a 45% jump in net profit at Rs203.4 crore. Power Finance Corporation's net profit grew marginally by 1% to Rs606.74 crore. HCL Technologies posted a better-than-expected 33% increase in net profit at Rs468.2 crore for the quarter ended 31 March 2011.

HDFC Bank reported a 33.2% jump in net profit to Rs1,114.70 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2011, driven by increase in loans. The bank's total income rose by 24% to Rs6,724.30 crore in the January-March quarter of 2010-11 from Rs5,003.80 crore in the year-ago period.

On the international front, Japan's exports fell more than expected in March as shipments of automobiles declined in the wake of the earthquake. Overseas shipments declined 2.2% from a year earlier, the first drop since November 2009. Reserve rates in China were increased once again this week, pushing the requirement to a record 20.5% for the biggest lenders. The move comes less than two weeks after an interest rate increase.

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