Opening bell 21 March

Opening bell 21 March

Mumbai: It’s the Persian New Year, but there’s nothing new in that part of the world except for more violence. With the Japanese making good progress towards containing the nuclear crisis, oil prices will again be the trigger for local markets. Here’s a list of other things to watch out for before trading starts.

US markets ended on a positive note on Friday with the S&P 500 gaining 0.43% to end at 1,279. However, Asian markets are trading mixed early on Monday weighed by rising crude prices and increasing unrest in Libya.

Meanwhile, the fight for Libya intensified with coalition forces led by the US, UK and France taking control of the Libya’s airspace. Read more...

That development is enough to spark off a rise in crude prices. Brent oil jumped $2.26 to $116.19 a barrel on concerns that the violence in Africa will impact supplies.

The good news is that Japan is making some success in bringing the overheated nuclear reactors under control and is making strong progress to contain the radiation leaks.

Meanwhile in India…It seems Pranabda will get lucky again in 2011-12. Some reports suggest that the government can earn a staggering 85,850 crore by selling just half of the airwaves vacated by the defence ministry. Another bounty – just like the sale of 3G and wireless broadband spectrum - can substantially improve India’s finances.

Hindustan Construction Company has something to cheer about with its subsidiary, Lavasa, getting a partial clearance from the environment ministry to continue construction.

Iron ore prices are falling in the international markets as Japanese steel mills cuts back production.

Talking of ore, Sesa Goa, Adhunik Metaliks and Ramky Infrastructure are some of the companies that have bid for a mine owned by Orissa Mineral Development Corporation. Spread over 255 hectares of land, the Kolha-Roida mine, is purported to be the third biggest mine owned by that state-owned company. Read more...

So, how much will higher oil prices hurt local firms? If crude oil prices remain above $100 a barrel, state-owned companies’ under-recoveries would touch 98,000 crore in 2011-12, according to IIFL. That is substantially more than the expected 72,000 crore for the current financial year.

In other news Bharati Shipyard is expecting orders worth 2,000 crore the next financial year. The company, which currently has an order book worth 5,000 crore, is planning to focus on defence and offshore segments.

Rural Electrification Corporation is planning to raise $1 billion by issuing bonds in the US. The company plans to disburse 24,000 crore in current financial year.

And finally, smartphones are making people talk less. Voice calls are now being perceived more as intrusion of privacy or are being mostly made in unavoidable circumstances. Read more...