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Sensex Trades Strong; Energy Stocks Witness Buying
Tue, 25 Apr 01:30 pm

After opening the day on a positive note, share markets in India have continued the momentum and are trading comfortably above the dotted line. All sectoral indices are trading on a positive note. Stocks in the energy sector and stocks in the capital goods sector are leading the gains.

The BSE Sensex is trading up by 222 points (up 0.8%), and the NSE Nifty is trading up by 68 points (up 0.7%). Meanwhile, the BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 1%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.9%. The rupee is trading at 64.24 to the US$.

In news from stocks in the IT sector. IT industry body Nasscom hit back against the US administration's allegations of cheating by TCS and Infosys in gaming the lottery system for H-1B visas. The industry body said that the two companies together received only 8.8% of the H-1B visas approved in FY 2015.

Nasscom said the White House statement that Indian companies had secured the lion's share of H-1B visas was factually incorrect as only six of the top 20 H-1B recipients were Indian companies in 2015.

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The US administration has been pushing for a change in rules for H-1B visas on the grounds that it was being misused by IT firms to bring cheap workers to replace American jobs.

The IT industry body said that all Indian IT companies cumulatively account for less than 20% of the total approved H-1B visas; however, Indian nationals get 71% the H-1B visas. Exemplifying the high skill levels of Indian nationals rather than adoption of unfair means by Indian IT majors.

A Nasscom survey also found that the average wage for visa holders is over $82,000 apart from a fixed cost of about $15,000 incurred for each visa issued which includes visa cost and related expenses. This is over 35% higher than the minimum prescribed exempt wage of $60,000.

Meanwhile, the US has said that it greatly values investments by Indian companies and wants to see bilateral business ties remain strong, days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the issue of tightening of the H-1B visa regime.

During his US visit, Jaitley had raised the H-1B visa issue with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and highlighted the contribution Indian companies and professionals were making to the US economy.

President Donald Trump had signed an executive order earlier this month for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its abuse, a decision that would impact India's US$ 150 billion IT industry.

An overall protectionism trend is expected to hit the Indian IT firms' bottom line. Especially in the US which accounts for more than 50% of revenues of India's IT majors.

Will Trump Mania Impact IT Companies Revenues from US?

Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro, and TCS may have to bear a hit on their revenues for the short term.

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 defence.

Moving on to news from stocks in the capital goods sector. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) share price is in focus today after the company bagged its largest ever export order.

The PSU bagged an export order valued at Rs 100 billion for setting up a thermal power project in Bangladesh.

Amid still international competition, BHEL secured the order from Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), a 50:50 joint venture of NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

BHEL has arranged debt funds and financing for the project from EXIM Bank for which loan agreement between EXIM Bank and BIFPCL was signed in March this year.

BHEL's scope of work in the project includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, construction, erection, testing and commissioning of the 1320 mw thermal sets with ultra-supercritical parameters on turnkey basis.

The scope also includes setting up of a jetty and a river-water intake system. The key equipment for the project will be manufactured at BHEL's Trichy, Haridwar, Hyderabad, Ranipet, Bhopal, Bangalore and Jhansi plants, while the company's power sector construction division will be responsible for construction and installation activities at site.

BHEL has had a long association with Bangladesh's power sector - the company's first major project in the country was the 100 MW Baghabari Gas Turbine Power Project (GTPP) which was commissioned in 2001. Subsequently, BHEL has constructed 2*120 MW Siddhirganj GTPP, besides setting up 220 kV Baghabari & Ishurdi substations.

At the time of writing, BHEL share price was trading up by 2.1%.

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