Stocks in India failed to hold a positive open Thursday after the government postponed a planned cabinet meeting that was looking into ways to stop losses of over $1 billion a week for state-run oil refiners.Dealers in the region said investors are worried the government will raise retail fuel prices at a dangerous time with inflation at three-and-a-half year highs. However, with an election year at hand, the government might be forced to come up with a more creative solution or risk upsetting the public. "Ministers will instead meet in two or three days to consider all options, including increasing fuel prices and cutting duties," Oil Minister Murli Deora said. "If there is a hike, let us face it." Traders said the expiration of derivates contracts and lower amounts of futures rollovers also helped keep Indian equities at bay. The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex Index fell 209.11 points, or 1.27%, to 16,316.26. Here's a look at how some India-based American depositary shares traded in the U.S. on Thursday. Shares of Tata Motors ( TTM), India's largest automaker, fell 5% after the company announced it will sell new shares to pay for its acquisition of Ford Motor's ( F - Get Report) luxury auto brands Jaguar and Land Rover. Tata said it plans to raise $1.7 billion through three simultaneous rights issues. The company also said it plans to raise another $600 million through selling securities abroad. Analysts at Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Kotak Securities raised issues with Tata's decision to sell new stock to raise capital. Kotak downgraded Tata Motors' stock to sell and cut its forward estimates, citing concerns that the company is diluting existing shareholders. American depositary shares of Tata, which trade on the NYSE, dropped 68 cents to $13.85.
India's second-largest bank, Icici Bank ( IBN), said it plans to add another 1,000 clients and 100 relationship managers to its private banking arm within the next year. The company said it will offer products and services to affluent clients who have a net worth of over $1 million. "The bank has tied up with several global financial majors like Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Societe Generale to offer customized and structured produces," said V. Vaidyanathan, executive director of Icici Bank. Shares of Icici fell 1% to $37.71. Technology stocks were on top of the leaders board for Indian-based stocks on Thursday with Cognizant Technology Solutions ( CTSH), which ran up 3.9% to $33.49; Satyam Computer ( SAY), which tacked on 3.8% to $27.51; Infosys Technologies ( INFY), which rose 2.1% to $45.36; and Wipro Limited ( WIT), which popped 2.3% to $13.83. Be sure to check out the Far East Portfolio at Stockpickr.com every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.
Chinese oil refiners rose sharply Thursday after speculation hit the sector that the government might remove the windfall production profit tax to help ease the pain of high crude oil prices. Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical ( SHI) climbed 7.6% to $40.95, China Petroleum & Chemical ( SNP) added 5.6% to $97.15, and PetroChina ( PTR) moved up 2.6% to $139.15. Beijing-based online travel service company eLong ( LONG) announced that its first-quarter net loss widened due to unrealized foreign exchange losses and a drop in interest income. The company said its first-quarter unaudited net loss was $32.6 million yuan, vs. an audited loss of 781,000 from a year ago. Revenues for the first quarter jumped 25% to $81.4 million yuan, and total revenue rose 23% to $77.7 million yuan. Looking forward, the company said second-quarter revenues should come in between the range of $79 million yuan ($11.4 million) to $12.7 million, vs. Wall Street estimates of $13.1 million. Shares of eLong lost 8% to $8.58. According to the Shanghai Securities News, China Life Insurance ( LFC), the nation's largest life insurer, plans to expand its investment overseas. The newspaper reported that China Life's chief investment officer, Liu Lefei, is currently overseas looking at potential investments. Shares of China Life rose 1% to $60.26. Shares of Jinpan International ( JST), a Chinese maker of cast resin transformers for voltage distribution equipment, plunged 15% after the company reported a 46.6% jump in first-quarter net sales due to strong demand for cast resin transformers in China and overseas. The company said first-quarter net income was $2.4 million, or 30 cents per share, vs. $1.6 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago. Net sales rose sharply to $23.8 million, vs. $16.23 million a year earlier. Looking forward, Jinpan reiterated its 2008 outlook for a 30% rise in net income to $21.4 million and a 30% jump in revenue to $155 million. Shares of Jinpan fell $7.06 to $37.84 on heavy volume.
Chinese alternative energy stocks sold off sharply Thursday after crude oil slipped $4.64 to $126.40 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. ReneSola ( SOL - Get Report) dropped 11% to $23.45, Yingli Green Energy ( YGE) tumbled 11% to $19.94, Trina Solar ( TSL) fell 9.5% to $43.96, Suntech Power ( STP) lost 8.6% to $40.52, JA Solar ( JASO) dumped 8.7% to $20.24, Canadian Solar ( CSIQ), dove 7.8% to $37.78, and Solarfun Power ( SOLF) closed lower by 7.8% to $20.17. Be sure to check out the Far East Portfolio at Stockpickr.com every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news. For more on Asia, check out Daniel Harrison's coverage at TheStreet.com.