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India down on weak Asian cues
Thu, 20 Jan 09:30 am

All Asian markets have opened today in the red. While stocks in China are down 1.3%, those in Hong Kong and Japan are weaker by 1.2% and 1.1%. The US markets closed yesterday 0.1% down. As for the Indian markets, these have opened weak as well. Stocks from the FMCG and IT sectors are leading the losers’ pack currently.

The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 130 points (0.7%), while the Nse-Nifty is down about 40 points (0.7%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading weak, with the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices down by 0.4% apiece. The rupee is trading at 45.64 to the US dollar.

Software stocks have opened on a weak note today. Key losers here include HCL Tech, Mahindra Satyam, and Infosys. India's fourth largest software company, HCL Tech announced its second quarter results yesterday (the company has a June ending fiscal). The revenues grew by 7% QoQ while net profits surged by 23% QoQ during the quarter. This performance was driven by a growth in volumes across all its geographies. All of the company's business segments, including BPO services, witnessed growth in sales. The company's restructuring of its BPO business is now complete and the results are visible in the 6% QoQ growth that was seen in its revenues. Operating margins remained flat during the quarter as operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, remained flat. Lower foreign exchange losses and higher other income led to a growth in the net profits for the company. The company recruited around 2,260 employees on a net basis. However, its attrition rate increased to 17.2% as at the end of December 2010. The company added 46 new clients during the quarter taking the total number of active clients to 434 as at the end of December 2010.

The ongoing FPO of Tata Steel has found lacklustre response from retail investors. This is at least what the data shows for the first day of the issue. As per data from the stock exchanges, the first day of the issue (yesterday) saw just around 4% of the retail portion getting subscribed. As against this, while the high networth non-institutional segment was subscribed by 7%, qualified institutional bidders bid for 40% of their reserved portion of shares. The issue, which expects to raise around Rs 35 bn, will close tomorrow. Tata Steel is raising these funds for two purposes – one, to part-finance its expansion in Jamshedpur and two, to redeem its debentures. Anyways, steel stocks have witnessing selling pressure currently. JSW Steel and SAIL are seeing the most selling as of now.

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