Key indices keep head above water in noon deals

Local equity benchmarks managed to keep their head above water in noon deals with both Sensex and Nifty were trading above 57200 and 17000 marks, respectively. Some support came with Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) V Anantha Nageswaran's statement that the Indian economy is showing resilience and on the path to recovery. Appreciation in rupee too supported sentiment. The rupee advanced by 28 paise to 81.39 against the dollar at the Interbank Foreign Exchange in noon trade on sustained selling of the US currency by banks and exporters. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that RBI's intervention focused more on rupee exchange rate fluctuation. Sitharaman said that the action taken by the US Federal Reserve has an ‘impact on all currencies’, adding that ‘we have to only be sure that fluctuation is not going to be severe’. On the global front, Asian markets were trading mixed amid series of steep losses on growing fears of a looming recession.

Back home, in scrip specific development, Nazara Technologies declined after Tamil Nadu Cabinet approves an Ordinance to ban online gaming in the state. On getting the Tamil Nadu governor's approval, the ordinance would be promulgated in the state.

The BSE Sensex is currently trading at 57,249.90, up by 104.68 points or 0.18% after trading in a range of 56950.52 and 57704.57. There were 19 stocks advancing against 11 stocks declining on the index.

The broader indices were trading mixed; the BSE Mid cap index lost 0.26%, while Small cap index was up by 0.37%.

The top gaining sectoral indices on the BSE were Oil & Gas up by 1.59%, Energy up by 1.21%, Telecom up by 0.86%, FMCG up by 0.66% and TECK was up by 0.61%, while Metal down by 1.24%, Auto down by 0.90%, Consumer Durables down by 0.65%, Capital Goods down by 0.65% and Industrials was down by 0.44% were the top losing indices on BSE.

The top gainers on the Sensex were Power Grid up by 1.49%, Indusind Bank up by 1.25%, Hindustan Unilever up by 1.19%, ITC up by 1.11% and Dr. Reddy's Lab was up by 1.01%. On the flip side, Tata Steel down by 2.45%, Titan Co down by 1.83%, Mahindra & Mahindra down by 0.84%, Axis Bank down by 0.77% and Kotak Mahindra Bank was down by 0.72% were the top losers.

Meanwhile, rating agency Crisil in its latest report has said that the operating profitability of cement companies is set to fall by 15 per cent year-on-year to Rs 900-925 per tonne this fiscal (FY23), adding to the pain of a 9 per cent decline last fiscal, as an increase in realisations will not be enough to offset the increase in prices of coal, petcoke and diesel that has pushed the average cost of production higher.

However, the report said 17 per cent demand growth in cement demand during the first quarter, albeit on the low base last fiscal, offers a silver lining, saying though growth may taper in subsequent quarters, and print in at 8-10 per cent for the full fiscal, it will still be the highest since fiscal 2019. On credit profile, it said higher demand will mitigate the impact of lower profitability on absolute operating profit and cash accruals of cement makers.  Demand from the infrastructure segment will be aided by government spending, while industrial/commercial demand will be driven by growing investment in data centres and warehousing, and of source the low base. Off-take from the housing segment is expected to grow 5 per cent, taking overall volume growth to 8-10 per cent.

According to the report, the eastern markets are leading the demand drive with a 13-14 per cent uptick, largely on a lower base, followed by the central and southern regions at 10 per cent each, driven by infra projects. The northern and western markets -- relatively more developed in the rural-urban mix as well as infrastructure -- may see mid-single-digit growth. As for production cost, petcoke prices remain higher than last year's average despite softening in recent months and so is imported coal. Power and fuel cost, accounting for around 30 per cent of production cost, is likely to rise by Rs 300 per tonne this fiscal and freight cost by Rs 10-15 per tonne, tracking diesel prices that remain high.

The CNX Nifty is currently trading at 17,033.40, up by 17.10 points or 0.10% after trading in a range of 16942.35 and 17176.45. There were 16 stocks advancing against 34 stocks declining on the index.

The top gainers on Nifty were Power Grid Corp up by 2.02%, BPCL up by 1.75%, Britannia Inds up by 1.58%, Hindustan Unilever up by 1.26% and ONGC was up by 1.09%. On the flip side, Adani Ports down by 2.97%, Tata Steel down by 2.70%, Hero MotoCorp down by 2.55%, JSW Steel down by 1.82% and Titan Co was down by 1.72% were the top losers.

Asian markets were trading mixed; Nikkei 225 surged 140.32 points or 0.53% to 26,571.87, Taiwan Weighted strengthened 48.40 points or 0.35% to 13,826.59, KOSPI rose 2.92 points or 0.13% to 2,223.86 and Shanghai Composite was up by 25.23 points or 0.83% to 3,076.46.

On the flip side, Hang Seng decreased 80.83 points or 0.45% to 17,774.31, Straits Times trembled 20.80 points or 0.65% to 3,161.17 and Jakarta Composite was down by 34.77 points or 0.49% to 7,092.73.