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Indian markets drift lower
Fri, 17 Jan 11:30 am

After opening in the green, the Indian indices are trading below the dotted line in the morning session. The selling pressure is the highest in banking and software stocks.

The BSE-Sensex is trading down 85 points and the NSE-Nifty is trading down 20 points. The BSE Mid Cap index is trading down 0.2% and the BSE Small Cap index is trading down 0.1%. The rupee is trading at 61.34 to the US dollar.

Most of the steel stocks are trading weak with JSW Steel and Maharashtra Seamless being the major losers. Jindal Steel is among few stocks trading firm today. As per a leading business daily, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) plans to cut down its workforce by 10% in 2014-15. The company currently employs around 1.019 m employees and expects to trim it down to 90,000. It also plans to bring down average employee age from 47.5 to 40 years over the next 7 to 10 years. Incidentally, the move coincides with SAIL's target to double its production capacity to 24 MTPA by 2015. The new capacity would entail new generation of technology which would require better managerial capability and superior technical competence. This would call for critical skill sets in the organisation. SAIL is trading down 0.3% today.

Telecom stocks are trading mixed today. While Tata Communications and Reliance Communications are among the stocks leading the gainers; Idea Cellular and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) are among the stocks leading the losses. According to an online news service, India's largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy out Mumbai based Loop Mobile. Bharti is interested in both the mobile as well as the tower business of Loop Mobile. Loop has a license for the Mumbai circle which will expire in November 2014. It has a subscriber base of about 3 m. It also operates about 2,000 mobile towers. Bharti has about 4.1 m subscribers in Mumbai. If the deal were to happen, it would make Bharti the top telco in Mumbai as the market leader Vodafone has about 6.8 m subscribers. Loop has declined to participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions. Bharti Airtel is currently trading up 0.4% today.

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