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A Strong End to a Dull Start
Wed, 17 Feb Closing

Gaining momentum after trading lower in the afternoon session, Indian equity markets closed the day on a firm note. Stocks from sectors such as healthcare and energy were leading the gains, while consumer durables stocks ended the day in the red. Both the BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap indices were up by 0.5% and 0.2% respectively. The BSE Sensex closed higher by about 190 points (0.8%). The NSE-Nifty ended higher by about 60 points (0.8%).

On the global front, most of the Asian indices have closed the day on a mixed note. The Shanghai Composite ended higher by 1.1%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Japan's Nikkei 225 ended lower by 1% and 1.4% respectively. However, the European indices were trading firm. The FTSE 100 is up 1.4%, while France's CAC 40 is up 1.98% and Germany's DAX is up 1.8%. The rupee was trading at Rs 68.42 to the dollar at the time of writing.

Telecom stocks ended their session on a mixed note with Himachal Futuristic and ADC India Communications leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Idea Cellular has selected Ericsson to deploy 4G LTE (long-term evolution) network in select circles. The LTE deployment will cover Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, the North-East and Himachal Pradesh, which serve over 40 million subscribers to the company. Further, the agreement also includes transformation of Idea Cellular's existing mobile radio access and core network infrastructure across nine circles for 2G and five circles for 3G.

The contract covers equipment, software and a range of professional services, including project management, systems integration and supervisory managed services for 4G LTE across select circles for two years. Idea Cellular's management stated that transforming its 2G and 3G network will enable the company to offer optimised mobile data and better smartphone performance. Further, its LTE deployment will take the customer experience on Idea Cellular's network to the next level.

On a separate note, Idea Cellular has stated that it is planning to expand its 4G LTE services to two more markets - Maharashtra and Goa, and Northeast Asia - by March 2016. The company is also looking to expand its footprint to cover 750 cities across 10 telecom circles by June 2016. Moreover, the telecom operator has also announced the expansion of its 4G LTE services across 37 towns of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with plans to take the total tally to 121 towns in the circle by the end of this financial year.

It shall be noted that Idea Cellular, which has over 15.4 million customers in the two Telugu states, had announced the launch of its 4G LTE services in all the four telecom circles down south- Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and Karnataka- in December 2015.

We believe that the above developments will help Idea Cellular play catch up in terms of data services. However, there can be expected an increase in infrastructure investments, spectrum and marketing that can have an adverse impact on the margins of the company.

Scrip of Idea Cellular ended the day on a positive note, up by 3.2%.

In another news, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), one of the leading oil & gas companies in India, has reportedly received clearance from the Environment Ministry for a pipeline project at its Kochi Refinery in Kerala. The CRZ (coastal regulation zone) clearance has been granted for the project, subject to some conditions.

The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 3,370 million. The proposed project at Kochi would put in place heat traced pipeline for transfer of high pour intermediates like High and Low Sulphur Vacuum Residues and Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO), thereby adding further value to the company. As per the proposal, BPCL will lay heat traced pipeline by replacing redundant crude oil pipeline handle HSVR/LSHS from North Tanker Berth/South Tanker Berth to Kochi Refinery. The pipeline will be laid in the existing corridor. Further, two booster pumps and necessary strengthening of South Tanker Berth including replacement of a loading arm are also envisaged as a part of this project.

BPCL is into exploration, production and retailing of petroleum and petrol related products. The retail business unit of BPCL is into marketing of petrol, diesel and kerosene. Presently, the company operates two refineries, one each at Mumbai and Kochi. The company seems to be well placed among the oil marketing companies in the industry. Further, it also possesses the moat (subscription required) of a diversified business (upstream asset) as against its peers. Though in the near term, this might work against the company due to weak oil and gas price scenario.

Stock of BPCL ended the day up by 4.4%.

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Jan 23, 2018 01:53 PM