Trade gap declines to $97 billion in Apr-Feb 2010-11

Decline in the trade gap augurs well for the country's current account deficit (CAD), which has come down to 20.49% to $9.7 billion in the October-December quarter over the same period last year

New Delhi: With exports growing at a much faster rate than imports, India's trade deficit for April-February 2010-11 declined to $97.06 billion from $100.24 billion in the same period of the previous year, reports PTI.

Decline in the trade gap augurs well for the country's current account deficit (CAD), which has come down to 20.49% to $9.7 billion in the October-December quarter over the same period last year.

CAD, which includes deficit in external trade of goods, and services, besides net investment income, stood at 2.9% of GDP in the last fiscal.

Merchandise exports for the 11-month period of 2010-11 went up by 31% to $208 billion, while expansion in imports was much slower at 18% to $305.3 billion over the same period last year.

In February, the trade deficit reduced to $8.1 billion from $10.4 billion a year ago, according to the commerce ministry data released today.

For the entire fiscal 2010-11, the trade gap is expected at $110 billion as compared to $102 billion in 2009-10, trade experts said.


Share prices pause for breath: Friday Closing Report

In a remarkable show of strength, the Nifty and the Sensex hold onto almost the entire gains of the week

As expected, the market took a breather today after recording gains for eight days in a row. The Sensex opened 18 points higher at 19,463 and the Nifty was up by just a point at 5,835. The high in the first hour remained the day's high of the day as the indices witnessed volatility and fluctuated in and out of the red.

The market touched its intra-day low at about 2.30pm as the Sensex fell to 19,335 and the Nifty touched 5,810. But the lows today were higher than the lows recorded on Thursday. We expect the market to rise after a few days of consolidation. Although, if overseas markets continue to rally, we could see a resumption of the rally in the domestic markets on Monday.

While the key benchmarks showed signs of exhaustion, the broader markets limited the losses. Profit booking was evident in banking, oil & gas and IT sectors.

Finally, the market finished the first trading day of the new financial year on a soft note as the Sensex closed down 25 points at 19,420 and the Nifty at 5,826, a fall of eight points over the previous close. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 1139:277.

For the quarter ended 31 March 2011, the benchmarks declined 5% each, mainly on losses in January and February.

In the broader space today, the BSE Mid-cap index surged 1.59% and the BSE Small-cap index jumped 2.23%.

The BSE Realty index (up 2.60%) was the top sectoral gainer. It was followed by BSE Metal (up 1.15%), BSE Power (up 0.93%), BSE Capital Goods (up 0.84%) and BSE Auto (up 0.70%). The losers were BSE Bankex (down 0.83%), BSE Oil & Gas (down 0.59%), BSE IT (down 0.47%) and BSE TECk (down 0.31%).

The major gainers on the Sensex were Reliance Communications (up 3.67%), Jaiprakash Associates (up 3.03%), BHEL (up 2.57%), Hindalco Industries (up 2.42%) and Mahindra & Mahindra (up 1.65%). The laggards were led by NTPC (down 2.12), State Bank of India (down 1.75%), Reliance Industries (down 1.19%), Tata Power (down 1.04%) and ICICI Bank (down 0.90%).

The seasonally adjusted HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)-a headline index to measure the overall health of the manufacturing sector-posted 57.9 in March, unchanged since February. The latest reading indicates a marked strengthening of business conditions in the Indian manufacturing sector, which remained above the long-run trend.

Markets in Asia, with the exception of Japan, ended higher, boosted by a rise in factory output in China that eased concerns about further rate hikes by the country's policymakers. The South Korean market rose despite inflation climbing to its highest level in 29 months.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan's quarterly tankan survey showed the headline index for big manufacturers' sentiment improved to 'plus 6' in March from 'plus 5' in December, compared to economists' expectations of a 'plus 7'. However, analysts opine that figures for the June quarter will reflect the damage caused by the recent earthquake.

The Shanghai Composite surged 1.33%, the Hang Seng advanced 1.17%, the Jakarta Composite rose 0.78%, the KLSE Composite gained 0.66%, the Straits Times climbed 0.65%, the Seoul Composite was up 0.68% and the Taiwan Weighted rose 1.25%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.48%.

Back home, foreign institutional investors continued their buying spree, emerging as net buyers of stocks worth Rs3,324.59 crore on Thursday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net sellers of shares worth Rs1,716.85 crore.

Bayer CropScience (up 2.54%), engaged in the agrochemical business, on Thursday signed an agreement to sell 100 acres of land to Agile Real Estate Pvt Ltd for Rs260 crore. The shareholders had already given their nod to sell its land located at Kolshet Road in Thane, Bayer CropScience informed the Bombay Stock Exchange today.

The completion of the agreement is subject to approvals and permissions from the government and statutory agencies and the transfer, sale and possession of the Thane property would be completed at a future date, subject to these approvals and permissions.

HCL Infosystems (up 0.39%), a hardware, services and ICT systems integration company, has implemented an IT infrastructure management solution for ONGC at its network and security operations centre. The project is intended to provide a complete IT infrastructure management solution for various business applications and services of ONGC and to strengthen the security management in today's increasingly risky times. The company has not disclosed the deal size.

Tata Consultancy Services (down 0.24%) today said it has received a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to provide applications support, maintenance and development services to US-based Air Liquide. The Indian IT major will provide end-to-end applications development and maintenance services to support 5,800 Air Liquide users 24x7, improving operational effectiveness and efficiency, TCS stated.


Tata Steel makes TCIL its subsidiary, raises stake to 59.45%

Tata Steel has made Tinplate Company of India Ltd (TCIL) its subsidiary by increasing its stake in the company by 16.57% to 59.45%

Tata Steel said it has made Tinplate Company of India Ltd (TCIL) its subsidiary by increasing its stake in the company by 16.57% to 59.45%.

"...TCIL has become a subsidiary of the company with effect from 1 April 2011, consequent to increase in the company's shareholding in TCIL from 42.88% to 59.45%," Tata Steel said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). This increase is due to automatic and compulsory conversion of 3% fully convertible debentures of Rs100 each into equity, the filing added.

According to a TCIL filing to the stock exchanges, it has allotted 3,27,04,209 equity shares of Rs10 each at a premium of Rs45, following the conversion of the debentures.

"The takeover code is not applicable here. We are not making any open offer. Our share in TCIL has gone up due to conversion of convertible debentures as per the terms of the instrument," a Tata Steel spokesperson said.

Established in 1920, TCIL currently is the largest domestic producer of tin coated and tin free steel sheets and is expanding its capacity to 3,79,000 tonnes per annum.

On Friday, Tata Steel ended 0.83% up at Rs625.65 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark declined 0.13% to 19,420.39.


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