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Markets Finish Strong on Global Cues
Mon, 15 Feb Closing

The Indian indices flourished in the green throughout the trading session today on their biggest daily gain in more than a year as global markets rallied. The BSE Sensex finished higher by 568 points, while NSE Nifty surged by 182 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap and the S&P BSE Small Cap also moved upwards closing higher by 3.5% and 3.3% respectively. All the sectoral indices closed in the green with metal and capital goods sector witnessing majority of the buying activity.

Japanese shares surged on Monday after last week's sharp sell-off, but Chinese stocks had a slow start, starting in negative territory before retracing some losses after markets re-opened post the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. The Nikkei 225 gained 7.16% and the Hang Seng rose 3.27%. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.63%. European markets are trading sharply higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 3.09%, while Germany's DAX is up 2.65% and London's FTSE 100 is up 1.85%. The rupee was trading at 68.13 against the US$ in the afternoon session.

According to a leading financial daily, ITC is planning to invest Rs 8 billion over the next few years to set up a hotel property and a food processing park in the state of Odisha. The hotel property will come up in Bhubaneshwar, while the food processing park details are being worked out. The company will invest about Rs 6.3 billion in the food processing park and the rest of the money will be invested in the hotel. Apart from these two investments, the company is also looking at investments in the agro forestry side in Odisha.

Meanwhile, ITC recently also unveiled three projects in West Bengal involving an investment of Rs 30 billion. Reportedly, the company also plans to engage more with the farmers of the state and experimenting with the manufacture of a special variety of seeds and potato.

The company's business and profitability is largely driven by the cigarette business, which has been on the receiving end in terms of high taxation by the government over the past few years. Yet, the company's net revenues were up by 3% YoY, while profits came in higher by 9% YoY (Subscription Required) for the quarter ended December 2015.

FMCG sector finished on a strong note with Bata India and Gillette India leading the gains. FMCG companies have been reporting sluggish growth. The revenue growth has fallen from double digit to single digit in recent quarters. In such an environment, firms are actively looking for triggers outside the traditional organic model and looking for mergers and acquisitions strategy to generate growth.

Moving on to news from automobile sector. Shares of Ashok Leyland finished the trading day on a promising note (up 8%) after it was reported that the company is in process of setting up truck and bus assembling units in Africa in a bid to strengthen its export market. The company will set up 2-3 units, one of them in Kenya. In this regard, the company will spend about Rs 300 million on each of the assembling units.

Apart from Africa, Ashok Leyland is setting its eyes on South East Asia and South American markets. The three regions are expected to boost its export volumes over the next 3-5 years and the company expects the share of exports in revenues to grow to 25-30% from about 10% now.

The stock price of Ashok Leyland has surged more than 20% in the last one year. The last few quarters of the company have seen volumes of commercial vehicles ramp up led by low base effect and improvement in freight rates. The company has also benefitted from new product launches. In our recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp Premium, we have discussed the auto companies that have managed to beat the benchmark in the first six months of 2015 (Subscription Required).

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)