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A Dull End to the Day
Thu, 28 Jan Closing

The Indian stock markets had yet another volatile trading session today. The morning session saw the indices struggling to stay afloat. Meanwhile, the afternoon session was marked by buying activity that kept the indices in the green before falling below the dotted line in the final hour. The BSE Sensex closed lower by about 23 points, while the NSE Nifty ended lower by about 13 points. Losses were largely seen in capital goods and banking stocks. The S&P BSE Midcap index and the S&P BSE Small cap index also followed the trend and closed lower by 0.4% and 0.1% respectively.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The benchmarks consolidated their push higher as the People's Bank of China allowed its currency yuan to strengthen for a fifth consecutive session and rebound in the oil price offset a cautious tone from the Federal Reserve about volatility in financial markets. The Hang Seng gained 0.75%, while the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei 225 fell 2.92% and 0.71% respectively. European markets are mixed today. The FTSE 100 is up 0.22% while the CAC 40 gains 0.17%. The DAX is off 0.08%. The rupee was trading at 68.09 against the US$ in the afternoon session.

According to a leading financial daily, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) may be forced to defer its plans to acquire overseas assets as the price of oil slumped below US$30 a barrel. The oil slump is hurting ONGC's income and cash flow. This may force the firm to borrow heavily, to fund its priority domestic projects, thereby squeezing financing prospects for overseas operations.

Reportedly, the company has invested US$23.8 billion in oil and natural gas assets outside India since its creation in 1965 until last year. It plans to increase output to 20 million tonnes of oil equivalent by March 2018 and 60 million tonnes by 2030. ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment unit of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), reported a loss of Rs 1.84 billion in the first six months of the year ending 31 March.

Moody's Investors Service put the credit ratings of ONGC Videsh and its parent ONGC on review for downgrade along with several other around the world after the slump in oil prices. According to the report, the ratings agency expects the slower recovery in prices will lead to lower cash flows for oil producing companies such as ONGC, leading to financial stress. Also, with immense pressure from the government to boost exploration and production at home, it is unlikely that ONGC's overseas projects will receive capital preference.

Crude has been in the news lately for quite some time now as international crude oil prices are hovering around $30 a barrel, hitting a new twelve year low. In fact, this topic was also discussed in the recent Equitymaster Conference 2016. However, if you weren't able to join us at The Taj for any reason... Allow us to bring The Complete Equitymaster Conference 2016 to you!

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Moving on to the news from Information Technology sector. Infosys Ltd has reportedly bought a minority stake in Waterline Data Science Inc., for $4 million. Waterline Data Science is a start-up based in Delaware, US, which helps companies make sense of large data sets. The deal, which marks the company's seventh investment from its US$500 million innovation fund, could help generate revenue from its clients who want to make sense of data sets which are held in Hadoop, a large open source big data repository.

Infosys has spent US$29.4 million to buy stakes in six start-ups and invested an undisclosed amount in September to become a limited partner in Vertex Ventures, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm. Infosys also bought three firms in 2015, spending $390 million to purchase automation technology provider Panaya. Infosys has started picking minority stakes in start-ups focused on new age technologies under the new chief Vishal Sikka's 'New and Renew' strategy. The company recently reported a 1.7% QoQ growth in sales and a 2% QoQ growth in the net profit. Here is our analysis of the results.

Also yesterday, HCL Technologies Ltd announced acquisition of UK's Point to Point Ltd and Point to Point Products Ltd for GBP 8 million. Software stocks finished the day on a negative note with NIIT Ltd and Oracle Financial Services leading the losses.

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Mar 20, 2018 (Close)