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IT stocks drag markets lower
Wed, 19 Mar 09:30 am

Barring Indonesia (up 0.5%), most major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a negative note with the stock markets in China (down 0.9%) and Singapore (down 0.7%) leading the losses. The Indian share markets have opened the day on a weak note as well. The sectoral indices have opened mixed with stocks in the information technology and realty sector leading the losses. However, oil & gas and power stocks are trading firm.

The Sensex today is down by around 21 points (0.1%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by about 7 points (0.1%). However, the mid and small cap stocks have opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices up by around 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 61.10 to the US dollar.

Information technology stocks have opened on a negative note with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys Ltd leading the pack of losers. As per a leading financial daily, India's leading IT services provider TCS expects weak performance during the fourth quarter of the financial year 2013-14 (4QFY14). The management expects the US dollar revenue growth to be lower than the preceding quarter (3QFY14) when the growth was 3.1%. In addition, the management expects margins to be down by 40-50 basis points on account of rupee appreciation and continued investments in emerging markets and Europe. The company's India business is likely to remain under pressure on account of the upcoming elections. It is worth noting that the fourth quarter has traditionally been the weak quarter for Indian IT services sector.

Oil and gas stocks have mainly opened the day on a positive note with Petronet LNG and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, the loss on sales of diesel for public sector oil firms Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has declined from Rs 8.37 per litre in the first half of March to Rs 7.16 per litre in the second half of the month. The decline has come on the back of softening international crude oil prices. The basket of crude oil that India purchases, has declined from US$ 106.18 per barrel to US$ 105.36 per barrel. The other reason for the decline in losses is the monthly increases of 50 paise per litre of diesel. It must be noted that diesel prices have risen by a cumulative Rs 8.33 since January 2013.

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