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Sensex Trades in Red; IT Stocks Drag
Mon, 20 Mar 01:30 pm

After opening the day on a cautious note, share markets in India have continued to remain range bound and are trading below the dotted line. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks in the consumer durables sector and stocks in the realty sector trading in green, while stocks in the IT sector are leading the losses.

The BSE Sensex is trading down by 151 points (down 0.5%), and the NSE Nifty is trading down by 39 points (down 0.4%). Meanwhile, the BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 0.2%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.3%. The rupee is trading at 65.52 to the US$.

Infosys Ltd. share price is trading lower by about 2% today as the company decided not to apply for H-1B visas for junior employees.

According to an article in The Economic Times, in an effort to reduce reliance on the US work visa, Infosys is not applying for visas for employees with under four years of experience.

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The company has decided to not raise visa requests for systems engineers and senior systems engineers, among the lowest rungs in the Infosys corporate ladder.

Earlier this year, US Congressmen have proposed a bill raising the minimum wage on the H-1B visa to over $130,000, more than double of what is mandated today. The increased rhetoric around outsourcing has also made some Infosys clients wary of being serviced by more employees on the work visas Indian IT firms have long been dependent on the work visa, but a rising tide of protectionism means they are beginning to adjust their business models to reduce their reliance on the visa.

Infosys is in talks with clients about offshoring more work to India, and the work done by junior employees could be brought to India.

Will Trump Mania Impact IT Companies Revenues from US?

Will Trump Mania Impact IT Companies Revenues from US

Large Indian IT companies on an average generate more than 50% of their revenues from the US. Current protectionism trends in the US immigration policy have raised fears over these firms losing a chunk of their revenues.

However, we believe that it is unlikely that the companies will substantially bring down their focus on the US. Instead companies may look out for other means to reduce costs or protect margins.

That said, Indian IT companies will also need to rise to Trump's challenges. But fortunately, most were already gearing up for this. Trump may have only accelerated their defense.

The current measure by Infosys is a step in this direction. It remains to be seen what other measures Indian IT companies turn to in order to retain their major revenue stream.

Moving on to news from stocks in the energy sector. State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has signed definitive agreements to buy out debt-ridden Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC's) entire 80% stake in KG-basin natural gas block for $1.2 billion.

ONGC's board had approved the deal late in February of this year.

The company will close the deal and pay the GSPC the money after regulatory approvals like government nod for transfer of participating interest and change of operatorship are secured. ONGC will pay $995.3 million for three discoveries in the block that are under trial production since August 2014. Another $200 million will be paid for six other discoveries for which GSPC has been finalising an investment plan to bring them to production.

The block was allotted to GSPC during the third round of the National Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), through which awards hydrocarbon assets for exploration and production.

GSPC had announced the gas discovery in the Deen Dayal West (DDW) field in 2005. Subsequently, the company faced unexpected technical hurdles resulting in a rise in development expenditure, debt and delay in execution. The investments in the block drove up GSPC's debt 180% in four years to Rs 197 billion by March 2015.

GSPC has spent US $3 billion to develop the field but hasn't been able to start commercial production.

As per the requirement of the field development plan (FDP), 12 more development wells are yet to be completed, which will further bump up the project cost.

As per the approved FDP of DDW fields, the estimated oil and gas in place was 1.95 trillion cubic feet.

It remains to be seen how ONGC leverages this purchase and takes action to make the most of this deal.

At the time of writing, ONGC share price was trading up by 0.5%.

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Mar 20, 2018 (Close)