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Cement stocks edge higher

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A range bound movement was witnessed as key benchmark indices continued to hover in positive zone in morning trade. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex was currently trading below the psychological 28,000 level, having alternately swung above and below that level in intraday trade so far. The Sensex had closed below the psychological 28,000 level yesterday, 17 August 2015. The Sensex was currently up 118.33 points or 0.42% at 27,996.60. The market breadth indicating the overall health of the market was strong. There were more than two gainers for every loser on BSE.

Metal and mining stocks edged higher. Cement stocks gained.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 142.34 crore yesterday, 17 August 2015, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges. Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 183.72 crore yesterday, 17 August 2015, as per provisional data.

In overseas markets, Asian stocks edged lower today, 18 August 2015. US stocks closed higher yesterday, 17 August 2015 after the release of positive homebuilder data while eyeing the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes.

At 10:17 IST, the S&P BSE Sensex was up 118.33 points or 0.42% at 27,996.60. The index rose 162.46 points at the day's high of 28,040.73 in early trade. The index rose 67.52 points at the day's low of 27,945.79 in early trade.

The CNX Nifty was up 35 points or 0.41% at 8,512.30. The index hit a high of 8,522.50 in intraday trade. The index hit a low of 8,500.80 in intraday trade.

The BSE Mid-Cap index was up 78.22 points or 0.68% at 11,566.54. The BSE Small-Cap index was up 113.25 points or 0.96% at 11,904.86. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.

The market breadth indicating the overall health of the market was strong with more than two gainers against every loser. On BSE, 1,484 shares gained and 552 shares fell. A total of 71 shares were unchanged.

Metal and mining stocks edged higher. Jindal Steel & Power (up 2.54%), Tata Steel (up 2.49%), Vedanta (up 1.24%), Hindustan Zinc (up 0.64%) and National Aluminium Company (up 0.61%) edged higher. NMDC (down 1.77%), JSW Steel (down 1.01%) and Steel Authority of India (down 0.17%) edged lower.

Hindalco Industries was up 1.27% at Rs 92. With respect to news article titled "Birla invests Rs 7,500 cr in Odisha refinery", Hindalco Industries clarified after market hours yesterday, 17 August 2015, that its owned subsidiary Utkal Alumina International has made a total investment of over Rs 7500 crore in its alumina plant in district Rayagada, Odisha. The unit has an inherent capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes per annum of alumina.

Shares of coal major Coal India were down 0.74% at Rs 377.20. The stock hit a high of Rs 383.40 and a low of Rs 375 so far during the day.

Cement stocks gained. Ambuja Cements (up 1.29%), ACC (up 1.37%), UltraTech Cement (up 1.4%) and Shree Cement (up 1.28%) edged higher.

Grasim Industries was up 1.56% at Rs 3,737.90. Grasim has exposure to cement sector through its holding in UltraTech Cement.

Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service cut its forecast for India's economic growth to around 7% this year from 7.5% because of lower-than-expected rainfalls in the ongoing monsoon season, the ratings agency reportedly said today, 18 August 2015. Moody's maintained its forecast of around 7.5% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) for 2016, but pointed to risks ahead that include delays to the government's reform plans, as per reports.

Meanwhile, investors continue to watch the progress of the monsoon rains which will have a bearing on food prices and rural income. India's weather office, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said in a daily report issued yesterday, 17 August 2015, that for the country as a whole, cumulative rainfall during this year's monsoon season was 10% below the Long Period Average (LPA) until 17 August 2015. Region wise, the rainfall was 20% below the LPA in South Peninsula, 12% below the LPA in East & Northeast India, 9% below the LPA in Central India while rainfall was normal in Northwest India until 17 August 2015.

The June-September southwest monsoon is critical for the country's agriculture because a considerable part of the country's farmland is dependent on the rains for irrigation.

In overseas markets, Asian stocks edged lower today, 18 August 2015. Key indices in Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan were off 0.14% to 1.46%.

In China, monthly home prices climbed for a third straight month in July, latest data released by National Bureau of Statistics showed today, 18 August 2015. Nationwide new home prices rose 0.3% on month in July, as against 0.4% gain in June and May's 0.2% rise. On an annual basis, July prices fell 3.7%, compared to the previous month's 4.9% slide, indicating the market could be in the nascent stage of a recovery.

US stocks closed higher yesterday, 17 August 2015 after the release of positive homebuilder data while eyeing the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes.

US homebuilder sentiment rose in August to its highest level since a matching reading almost a decade ago, the National Association of Home Builders said yesterday, 17 August 2015. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 61 from 60 in July, the group said in a statement. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view market conditions as favorable than poor.

The Federal Reserve is due to release the minutes of the two-day policy meeting held on 28-29 July 2015 on Wednesday, 19 August 2015. The minutes could offer some clues on the timing of the Fed's plans to raise interest rates for the first time in a decade.

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First Published: Tue, August 18 2015. 10:22 IST
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