Unstructured Finance

L&T shares fall after quarterly results

Shares in engineering conglomerate L&T ended down 1.65 percent on Monday after the company posted a 10.5-percent rise in standalone profit for the quarter ended in December, but a fall in its operating margin hit investor sentiment.

The company said its operating margin in the third quarter was at 10.8 percent compared with 12.4 percent a year ago.

The BSE Capital Goods Index ended down 1.17 percent.

Do you think it is worth investing in L&T at this stage?

Banking index gains

The BSE banking index closed 2.2 percent higher on Friday despite analysts’ warning that mid-cap lenders could see muted net profit growth in the July-September quarter.

The banking index has risen nearly 100 percent this year.MARKETS-SOUTHASIA/STOCKS

Some of the major gainers on the Bankex were Karnataka Bank (up 8.3 percent), Oriental Bank (up 6.8 percent), Union Bank (up 6.5 percent), SBI (up 5.3 percent), ICICI Bank (up 2.4 percent) and Andhra Bank (up 3.7 percent).

Earlier in the week, UCO Bank, HDFC, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank declared their results.

Safe approach pays well for RAB

RAB Capital’s results this morning — showing an expected 32 percent fall in assets but signs of net inflows into its single-strategy hedge funds — also reveal how its managers are positioning their portfolios.

rtx5jedDespite a further 5 percent performance loss year-to-date at Special Situations, after last year’s big losses, performance at RAB’s other funds has been strong — the Energy fund is up 55 pct, the Global Mining fund 42 pct, the Gold and European Credit Opportunities funds 20 pct in H1.

Rising commodity prices have helped, as has an easing of the illiquid markets in which Special Situations found itself caught last year.

Energy asset on block at Blackstone?

USAOne intriguing remark that Blackstone COO Tony James let slip on today’s earnings call is that it could be gearing up to sell an energy asset. 
James explained that while opportunities to exit investments weren’t numerous, it had succeeded making a profit on the sale of pharmaceutical company Stiefel. 
“We have another company in our portfolio… in the energy sector, which had some very, very exciting results finding unbelievable amounts of hydrocarbons and… that might be something we’d look to exit,” James said on a call to the media. 
He didn’t identify the company so we’re doing the guessing ourselves — out of the current energy investments Blackstone lists on its website, we reckon Kosmos Energy, which has a significant oil field in Ghana, could fit the bill.

(Additional reporting by Mike Erman)

Sensex ends marginally higher, ICICI jumps

MARKETS-SOUTHASIA-STOCKS/The stock market seesawed throughout trade today and ended marginally higher at 11,372, as investors covered short positions ahead of the monthly derivatives expiry.

The benchmark had risen over 1 pct during trade, but was unable to sustain it and closed just 42 points higher.

Several corporate houses like Ranbaxy Labs, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Bank and JP Associates announced their quarterly numbers today.

Check Out Line: Weakness at Talbots

talbots1Check out the deeper-than-expected quarterly loss at Talbots.

The women’s apparel retailer posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.17 a share, excluding one-time items. That was far worse than what analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had expected. Sales fell 16 percent, while sales at stores open at least a year tumbled 25 percent.

Talbots is working to revamp its classic styles to boost sales in a slow market for women’s apparel. It has cut jobs, closed some units, suspended its dividend and frozen its pension plan to preserve cash. It also is looking to sell its J. Jill chain.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe, who has a “hold” rating on Talbots’ stock, called out the same-store sales decline as well as the 26-percent  decrease in direct sales. 

Check Out Line: Tale of two trends for General Mills

Check Out quarterly results at General Mills.hamburger

The maker of Progresso soups, Hamburger Helper and Green Giant frozen vegetables posted a disappointing profit for its fiscal third quarter. Even its slightly higher full-year outlook is below Wall Street’s expectations.

But here’s an interesting twist — the company saw strong sales of cereals, soups, frozen vegetables and refrigerated dough during the quarter, in a continuing trend whereby consumers are eating more meals at home to save some money in the recession. But while that helped sales in the U.S. retail segment, the bakery and food service segment languished, as consumer thrift led to fewer trips to restaurants and cafeterias.

Still, the company is working to capitalize on consumers’ new habits. Later this year, General Mills will unveil new items across categories as it tries to entice shoppers to buy its brands, CEO Ken Powell said in an interview.

Markets choppy, fuel price brought cheer

The BSE Sensex broke a two-day climb and fell marginally to 0.2 percent on Thursday as investors squared their position on the last day of expiry.

The BSE auto index gained 1.3 percent as autos bucked the trend. The rise was led by buying in Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra and Bharat Forge as the government cut state-set fuel prices, a move that could help in slowing down inflation.
FIIs remained net buyers of $6.2 million in equity and $0.5 million in debt, as against net sellers of $59.4 million yesterday and $85.3 million on January 27.

Asian markets saw a rise as investors cheered the U.S. Congress’ headway on a $825 billion stimulus spending package and other efforts to address the financial meltdown.

Cheer for investors as Sensex rises for second day

It was another bright day for Indian investors as gains across world markets allayed concerns over risk aversion and triggered short covering ahead of the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts on Thursday.

The BSE Sensex closed 2.81 percent up at 9257, with heavyweight Reliance Industries leading the march.

Investor mood seemed positive despite poor corporate results. Globally too stocks did well on reassuring corporate results on Wall Street.

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