India’s leading engineering company has beaten forecasts with its quarterly numbers. On Monday Larsen and Toubro posted a better-than-expected 13.9% rise in net profit to Rs1,920crore. Sales meanwhile shot up 21% to Rs18,461crore. Shares of the firm raced ahead 1.84% on the BSE to 1159.80 even as the Sensex retreated 0.47%.
Larsen and Toubro’s profits rose despite delays in project bids and a slowdown in orders. But the company expects to do brisk business this fiscal. It forecasts a 15-20% growth in orders and revenue during the year. It said its key challenge would be to maintain margins in a volatile environment.
And in other news, there’s no respite for India’s currency. On Monday the rupee took a battering once again to end at a record-low. It ended the day’s trade at Rs53.97 to the dollar. The fall of the rupee comes despite strong measures from RBI last week that were meant to shore up the currency.
And staying with the economy, food inflation has accelerated in April, with prices of key items across the board going up. New figures show the wholesale price index rose 7.23% in April compared to the same period last year. In March it stood at 6.89%. Inflation in India remains persistently elevated despite slow growth and high interest rates. Much of the latest spike was driven by food and fuel prices.
And with inflation on the rise, the chances of an easing in interest rates are receding. On Monday, C. Rangarajan, the prime minister’s chief economic advisor, said the latest inflation figures would make it difficult for RBI to moderate its monetary stance. He added that policy action would be needed to tackle rising prices.
And finally, Indian markets fell for a fifth continuous session on Monday, with a weak rupee and high inflation weighing heavily on the bourses. The Sensex dropped 77 points to 16,216. And the Nifty lost 21 to 4,908.