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Sensex Ends Day 600 Points Higher; Bharti Airtel Leads Gains
Mon, 12 Mar Closing | Parth Parekh, TM Team

After opening the day in green, share markets in India witnessed a surge of positive trading activity throughout the day and ended the day on a strong note. Gains were seen across most sectors with stocks in the metals sector and stocks in the oil and gas sector, leading the gains.

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 611 points (up 1.8%) and the NSE Nifty closed up by 195 points (down 1.8%). The BSE Mid Cap index ended the day up 0.8%, while the BSE Small Cap index ended the day up 0.6%.

Asian stock markets finished in green. As of the most recent closing prices, the Hang Seng was up by 2% and the Shanghai Composite was up by 0.6%. The Nikkei 225 was up by 1.7%. Meanwhile, European markets, were trading on a positive note. The FTSE 100 was up by 0.4%, The DAX, was up by 0.7% while the CAC 40 was up by 0.3%.

The rupee was trading at Rs 65.11 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 64.67 at the time of writing.

In news from stocks in the telecom sector. Airtel share price ended the day up by 4.6% after the telecom major announced plans to raise funds.

Airtel said that its board approved plans to raise Rs 165 billion through a mix of privately placed non-convertible debentures (NCDs) and a foreign currency bonds float for conducting treasury operations, including refinancing of debt and spectrum liabilities.

Over the past one year, India's largest phone company has been raising funds by progressively reducing its stake in its listed tower unit, Bharti Infratel, to cut debt and free up cash and gird up for competition with Jio in the 4G segment. It has raised nearly Rs 12,089 crore through multiple tiny stake dilutions in its tower arm.

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However, the company's debt figure still remains high at over Rs 900 billion as of the quarter ended December 2017.

Companies in the debt-laden telecom sector have been witnessing a double whammy after the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd which brought tariffs to rock-bottom and hit the revenue streams of other operators.

Telecom Sector: A decade of Underperformance

The whole telecom business has been an underwhelming story so far. While the telecom subscriber base has increased from 300 million in 2008 to 1.2 billion in 2017, investors have little to cheer. The BSE Sensex has gone up 3.25 times in nine years, but the BSE Telecom Index has not moved an inch from its levels of 2008.

Telecom companies are straddled with high debt, intense competition, and lack of pricing power. High spectrum costs and regulatory issues have hampered the sector. While consumers have benefited from low costs and new players fighting for their share, investors have suffered.

With the entry of Reliance Jio, the competition has intensified further. Reliance Jio's low cost offerings and strategy of capturing market share will further dent the sector. The sector has been a classic 'value trap'. While it always looks cheap compared to other sectors, it has failed to provide any reasonable returns. We also believe the situation is unlikely to change in the near future. For an investor, it's important to differentiate between 'value' and 'value traps'.

In news from the auto sector. Passenger vehicles (PV) sales have continued their growth momentum last month, according to data from the industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

PV sales for February were up by over 7.7%, while commercial vehicles (CV) and two-wheelers also made a strong showing, with the budget having pledged greater support for farmers. While sales of commercial vehicles went up by 31% to units, those of two-wheelers grew by 23.8%.

Overall the sales across segments were up by 22.8% in February.

The auto industry is witnessing tailwinds and is expected to maintain the growth trajectory through to the end of 2018 with the effects of demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST) implementation having worn off.

And here's a note from Profit Hunter:

The Indian indices witnessed buying interest in today's session. The Nifty Index was up 195 points at 10,421, while the BSE Sensex was up more than 600 points at 33,918.

ITC Ltd. is among the major contributor to this rally. The stock rallied 4% with healthy volumes.

Last time we reviewed the stock, it was approaching its strong support level. This support was actually a resistance before 2017. But as the stock broke this resistance in January 2017, it rallied to touch a life-time high of 354. But it corrected towards the previously broken resistance which is now acting as a support for the stock as per the change of polarity principle.

Today, the stock bounced up from this support zone and rallied more than 4%.

So does this indicate that the stock has now resumed its up move? Let's wait and watch...

ITC Rallied 4% for the Day
 ITC Rallied 4% for the Day

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