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Sensex Opens 180 Points Up; ICICI Bank & HDFC Top Gainers
Mon, 15 Jan 09:30 am | Rini Mehta, TM Team

Asian stock markets are higher today as Chinese and Hong Kong shares show gains. The Shanghai Composite is up 0.15% while the Hang Seng is up 0.75%. The Nikkei 225 is trading up by 0.23%. Wall Street continued its rally on Friday with record closing highs as the fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off with solid results from banks and robust retail sales drove investor optimism about economic growth.

Back home, India share markets opened the day on a strong note led by gains in ICICI Bank, HDFC, Reliance Industries and ITC. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 183 points while the NSE Nifty is trading higher by 47 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index opened the day up by 0.4% & 0.7% respectively.

Barring IT stocks, all sectoral indices have opened the day in green with metal stocks and bank stocks witnessing maximum buying interest. The rupee is trading at 63.53 to the US$.

Telecom stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Tata Teleservices and Himachal Futuristic being the most active stocks in this space. As per an article in a leading financial daily, Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone Group Plc's Indian unit are likely to start operating as a single unit from April this year.

Post completion of the merger process, the two companies will create the world's second largest and India's largest telecom operator, surpassing Bharti Airtel Ltd.

Reportedly, it will have almost 400 million customers with 35% customer share and 41% revenue market share. It will have a revenue of Rs 816 billion and an operating profit of Rs 244 billion.

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On Friday, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the proposed merger between Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular.

The two companies now require only the Department of Telecommunications's (DoT) approval to proceed with the merger.

One shall note that, the whole telecom business has been an underwhelming story so far. While the telecom subscriber base has increased from 300 million in 2008 to 1.2 billion in 2017, investors have little to cheer.

The BSE Sensex has gone up 3.25 times in nine years, but the BSE Telecom Index has not moved an inch from its levels of 2008.

Telecom Sector: A decade of Underperformance


Telecom companies are straddled with high debt, intense competition, and lack of pricing power. High spectrum costs and regulatory issues have hampered the sector.

While consumers have benefited from low costs and new players fighting for their share, investors have suffered.

Going forward, whether the situation will change in the future will be the key thing to watch out for.

Idea Cellular share price opened the day down by 1.2%.

Moving on to the news from information technology sector. Infosys share price opened on an encouraging note after the company reported net profit of Rs 51.3 billion in the quarter ended December 2017, up 38.3%, compared to Rs 37.1 billion during the same period last year.

Revenue of the company rose by 3% to Rs 177.9 billion keeping FY18 revenue growth forecast at 5.5-6.5%.

Infosys stated that during the December 2017 quarter, it had signed an Advance Pricing Agreement with the US administration that had led to reversal of income tax expense provision of Rs 14.3 billion.

Consequently, profit for the period increased and therefore led to an increase in Basic earnings per equity share by RS 6.3 for quarter ended 31 December 2017.

One shall note that, this is the first quarterly results since Salil Parekh took charge as the new CEO and MD at Infosys on 2 January.

Mr. Parekh's appointment came after the abrupt resignation of Vishal Sikka, who had quit in August following public spat with co-founders led by N R Narayana Murthy.

The founders had alleged corporate governance lapses and questioned the US$200 million Panaya acquisition under previous management and also flagged the high severance pay to former employees.

Under Mr. Parekh, Infosys is now attempting to bring the focus back on growth and business, the reports noted.

On a sequential basis, the company's net profit rose 37.6%, while revenues were up 1.3% in rupee terms.

In US dollar terms, Infosys' net profit grew to US$796 million in the said quarter, while revenues were at US$2.7 billion from the year-ago period.

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