Metal stocks were under pressure on March 16, with the Nifty Metal being the only sectoral index on the NSE that witnessed heavy sell off on the back of a fall in global base metal prices.
Copper, Zinc, Aluminium and tin contracts saw deep cuts on the London Metal Exchange.
The Nifty Metal index settled at 5,471.75 points, down 2.6 percent, on March 16. The index was down 7 percent in the past one month, and has fallen 18 percent in the past three months.
Among all the index constituents, Hindustan Zinc was the only one trading in the positive territory. Hindalco Industries, Jindal Steel and Power, JSW Steel and Tata Steel were the worst performers on Nifty Metal index.
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Even as Indian metal stocks have underperformed most global peers in 2023 so far, some believe that may be the very reason to be optimistic about the sector. Foreign brokerage firm Jefferies sees the underperformance as a buying opportunity in metals space.
Another reason for Jefferies being optimistic about metal companies is the improving macro-economic situation in China, which is one of the world’s largest metal producers and consumers.
A large section of the market believes that domestic metal manufacturers should see healthy volume growth in the near term, driven by improved participation from key end-user industries, such as infrastructure, construction, consumer durables and automobile.
Jatin Damania, Vice President - Fundamental Research, Kotak Securities, said, “We expect margins to recover further in Q4FY23, after a mild recovery in Q3, led by recent price hike, stable raw material costs and operating leverage”.
Damania sees risk-reward for Tata Steel and NMDC as favourable, which prompts the brokerage house to have a ‘buy’ rating on these stocks while it has an ‘add’ rating on Hindalco Industries.
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On the other hand, SteelMint expects capacity to exceed demand long term, resulting in a demand-supply mismatch. This is despite the fact that domestic industry is unlikely to feel any major supply pressures near term, noted Elara Securities which hosted SteelMint CEO Dhruv Goel to gauge the current scenario of the steel industry.
The domestic steel industry is likely to report healthy demand growth in FY23 and the CY24 and the general elections should be a key demand driver in the upcoming quarters, the brokerage firm said while adding that rising exports opportunities also bode well.