Indian Markets Wednesday Wrap-Up: Lagging Behind Asian Peers

Includes: EPI, GM, IFN, IIF
by: Equitymaster

The indices witnessed a very volatile trading session today. Throughout the morning session, the markets languished in the red. Thereafter, volatility reigned as alternate buying and selling activity led the indices to hover around the dotted line towards the end. The Sensex closed higher by around 20 points, while the Nifty closed higher by around 25 points. However, stocks from the mid-cap and small-cap indices ended the day on a weak note. While buying was witnessed in stocks from the metal and energy sector, stocks from the banking and capital goods sectors led the pack of losers. Rupee closed at 51.81 against the US dollar. The Asian markets ended on a positive note today. The European indices are currently trading firm as well.

Energy stocks ended the day on a positive note led by ONGC and GAIL. IOC is looking to sell oil bonds worth Rs 10 to 15 bn in the open market soon. The money that will be raised by the company will be used to pay back some of its borrowings. Currently, the company has bonds worth Rs 310 bn. As per a leading business daily, IOC would be testing the markets before making such a move. However, the management has mentioned that it would sell the bonds provided it gets good returns. In another development, the company today announced that its crude oil import bill has dipped by 67% to US$ 1.5 bn per month. The reason behind the steep fall is on account of the lower crude prices. When crude prices were at their all time high, the company's import bill at that time was around US$ 4.5 bn per month.

Realty stocks ended the day on a firm note led by Akruti City and Unitech. As per a leading business daily, DLF has been refunded Rs 2 bn by the Haryana government for its proposed projects in Gurgaon. However, the company had demanded for nearly Rs 2.4 bn, which was paid as license fee. It may be noted that, prior to the real estate boom, the Haryana government used to receive license fees to the tune of Rs 4 bn to 5 bn per annum. The state government has collected nearly Rs 30 bn as license fees in the last two years. However, a handful of real estate players are now looking to seek refunds in Gurgaon alone. It is supposed that the state has received a demand for refunds to the tune of Rs 6 bn. While this may be the case in Gurgaon, considering the issues realty players are currently facing, it will not be surprising to see similar situations arise across the country going forward.

As per a leading business daily, troubled auto major General Motors' (NYSE:GM) German unit, Opel, is likely to cut nearly 3,500 jobs. This move is part of the company’s cost cutting program. Currently, it has an employee base of nearly 25,000 workers in Germany. In addition, it is believed that Opel needs nearly US$ 4.2 bn as state aid from the European government. This amount will put it in a position to save jobs and keep plants open. Further, Opel is looking to relaunch itself as an independent company. As per GM’s Europe head, post the relaunch it will aim at growing its revenues by 5% YoY.