Benchmarks turn range bound; metal shares advance

Key equity barometers were trading in a narrow range with small losses in mid-morning trade. The Nifty continued to hover below the 11,650 level. At 11:23 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, was down 132.56 points or 0.34% at 39,165.82. The Nifty 50 index was down 23.20 points or 0.20% at 11,638.65.

The S&P BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.54%. The S&P BSE Small-Cap index rose 0.64%. Both these indices outperformed the Sensex.

The market breadth was positive. On the BSE, 1204 shares rose and 907 shares fell. A total of 169 shares were unchanged.

The Nifty Metal index was up 0.21% at 2,461.25, extending gains for third consecutive session. The index has risen 2.83% in two trading sessions to end at 2,456 on 18 October 2019 from its recent closing low of 2,388.30 on 16 October 2019.

Among metal stocks, Hindustan Copper (up 2.59%), Steel Authority of India (up 1.8%), National Aluminium Company (up 1.48%), Hindalco Industries (up 1.07%), Vedanta (up 0.8%), Tata Steel (up 0.49%), NMDC (up 0.32%) and JSW Steel (up 0.25%) edged higher.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Zinc (down 0.81%) and Jindal Steel & Power (down 0.37%) edged lower.

Bharti Infratel was down 0.76% to Rs 259.80. The telecom tower infrastructures provider's consolidated net profit rose 60.6% to Rs 963.50 crore on a 3% fall in net sales to Rs 1668.30 crore in Q2 September 2019 over Q2 September 2018. Consolidated EBITDA fell 1% to Rs. 1,486 crore in Q2 September 2019 over Q2 September 2018. The result was announced on Monday, 21 October 2019.

In a separate announcement, the company announced that S Balasubramanian, chief financial officer of the company, has expressed his intention to explore professional opportunities outside the Bharti Group and has tendered his resignation effective from closing of the business hours on 5 December 2019.

Ujjivan Financial Services rose 2.01% to Rs 312.60. The firm's consolidated net profit surged 116.6% to Rs 63.23 crore on a 54.7% increase in total income to Rs 710.04 crore in Q2 September 2019 over Q2 September 2018. The result was announced on Monday, 21 October 2019.

Avanti Feeds jumped 9.95% to Rs 449. On a consolidated basis, the company's net profit rose 155.8% to Rs 118.70 crore on a 41.1% increase in net sales to Rs 1064.30 crore in Q2 September 2019 over Q2 September 2018. The result was announced on Saturday, 19 October 2019.

On the economic front, Commerce and Industry & Railways Minister, Piyush Goyal addressed the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) in New Delhi. During the interaction Piyush Goyal said that Indo-US relationship is at their best ever now and trade relations between the two countries have a huge potential which is yet to be tapped. India and the US must look at a much larger agreement like a bilateral agreement said the Commerce and Industry Minister.

According to USISPF estimates India-US bilateral trade is projected to grow to $238 billon by 2025. Sectors like defence trade, commercial aircrafts, oil and LNG, coal, machinery and electronics are areas of potential growth in US investments and commerce into India. Indian industry has an opportunity to promote automotive, pharmaceuticals, seafood, IT and travel services to the US market.

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