Steel stocks strengthen

Shares of three steel producers advanced between 1.37% to 3.48% on reports that they will not roll back prices.

Tata Steel (up 1.37% to Rs 736), Steel Authority of India (up 2.65% to Rs 190.75) and JSW Steel (up 3.48% to Rs 1138), advanced.

Tata Steel saw volumes of 1.79 lakh shares while Steel Authority of India and JSW Steel witnessed volumes of 6.71 lakh and 1.06 lakh shares respectively on BSE.

Meanwhile the BSE Sensex was up 115.85 points or 0.68% to 16,743.80 on positive cues from global markets.

The representatives of the steel ministry has reportedly scheduled a meeting with steel producers today 12 February 2008 to seek justification of price hike from the producers. Steel producers had hiked prices by Rs 500 to Rs 1,500 per tonne across various products in early February 2008 following increase in raw material prices.

A rollback if it happens after today's meeting would be the second in this financial year. In March 2007, at the behest of the government, the industry went for a partial rollback to rein in inflation.

Meanwhile, the producers may also demand immediate allocation of captive iron ore blocks to integrated steel producers, reduction of railway freight and removal of congestion charges by railways for the transportation of iron ore to ports.

Tata Steel's net profit rose 0.5% to Rs 1068.58 crore on 11.3% growth in net sales to Rs 4973.92 crore in Q3 December 2007 over Q3 December 2006

Steel Authority of India posted 31.50% rise in net profit to Rs 1934.66 crore on 12.41% rise in total income to Rs 9,847.64 crore crore in Q3 December 2007 over Q3 December 2006.