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Markets open on a depressed note
Fri, 28 Jan 09:30 am

Asian markets have opened the day on a subdued note. Benchmark indices in Indonesia (down 1.1%), Korea (down 0.9%) and Hong Kong (down 0.4%) are the biggest losers. Indian markets have followed cues from their Asian peers and have opened on a weak note as well. Stocks in the realty and capital goods spaces are the key losers currently.

The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 115 points (0.6%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 40 points (0.7%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the negative as well, with the BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices down by about 1.5% and 1.1% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.77 to the US dollar.

Media stocks have opened the day on a mixed note. Zee Entertainment, Balaji Telefilms and Cinemax India are trading in the red. On the other hand, NDTV and HT Media are trading in the green. Balaji Telefilms declared their third quarter results recently. The company witnessed a muted growth of 0.6% YoY in its topline. This was led by the 8% YoY improvement in net realizations. However, growth was offset by 11% YoY decline in the number of hours. The commissioned programming segment witnessed a marginal decline of 0.4% YoY while the sponsored programming segment witnessed a growth of 4% YoY during the quarter. The company continues to be in losses on the operating level. Operating loss margin stood at 1.1% during the quarter as compared to the 0.6% loss in the same period last year. This was mainly on account of higher staff costs as a percentage of sales. The company's bottom line was positive due to the positive effect of other income and deferred tax gains. However, net profits declined by 33% YoY during the quarter. The company's strong hold in the soap opera space has been eroded in recent times due to the successful entry of other content providers.

Stocks from the engineering space have opened the day in the negative. BHEL, Crompton Greaves and Siemens are leading the losers pack. Conglomerate L&T is looking to sell-off its stake in the IT business. The subsidiary - L&T Infotech - could not be the bigger business that the management had envisioned it to be. The plan was to grow the business and eventually list the subsidiary in the stock markets. In lines with this, the company had made a bid for the then ailing Satyam in 2009. However, it lost the bid to Tech Mahindra. L&T's plans to list the subsidiary also suffered a setback due to the poor stock market conditions. The company is now in talks with different bankers to set up a deal to sell some of the stake that it has in the infotech business. The infotech business offers solutions to banking and financial services, energy, manufacturing, product engineering and healthcare segments. It has a steady list of clients that includes Citibank, Chevron and Travellers Insurance. L&T had earlier announced its plans to restructure its business into nine standalone subsidiaries.

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