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Pharma & Banking Lead the Gains
Thu, 23 Jun 01:30 pm

After opening the day on a flattish note, the Indian indices are trading on a positive note in the post-noon trading session. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks from the banking and healthcare sectors trading in green while power and realty are trading in red.

The BSE Sensex is trading up by 62 points (up 0.2%) and the NSE Nifty is trading up by 15 points (up 0.2%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 0.1%, while the BSE Small Cap index is down by 0.1%. Gold prices, per 10 grams, are trading at Rs 30,105 levels. Silver price, per kilogram, is trading at Rs 41,392 levels. Crude oil is trading at Rs 3,345 per barrel. The rupee is trading at 67.35 to the US$.

Stocks in the FMCG sector are trading on a mixed note with Godrej and Dabur trading in red. As per a leading financial daily, ITC is wary of a new government notification on tobacco products. As per the new norms, pictorial health warnings would cover 85% of cigarette packs. This is as compared to 40% currently. This is likely to have an impact on the cigarette consumption and in-turn impact the sales of the company as the cigarette business contributes around 48% to ITC's net turnover.

Moreover, implementation of any change in the health warnings on the cigarette packages is an elaborate process for the manufacturers. It involves substantial cost and effort.

ITC said the move will lead to an increase in smuggling. The company stated that the new warning will encourage the flow of illegal trade of brands owned by international companies into the country. This, as per the company, is because such brands are manufactured in many jurisdictions which do not mandate the printing of graphic health warnings on cigarette packages as is applicable in India.

However, it's important to note that 70% of the cigarettes in India are sold in the loose form. Thus, the decision to increase the pictorial warning may not have a significant effect on the sales of the company.

Vivek Kaul, in one of the articles from the Vivek Kaul's Diary, has offered some of his views on the harsh regulations imposed by the government on the cigarette business.

Lately, due to the uncertainties in the cigarette business, ITC is intending to focus more on its non-cigarette businesses. Going forward, the traction from its non-cigarette business coupled with the sales growth from its cigarette business will be the key thing to watch out for the company. Currently the scrip of ITC is trading up by 0.8%.

Moving on to the news from telecom sector, as per an article in Business Standard, Bharti Airtel recently announced that it will sell its operations in Africa's Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to France-based telecom operator Orange.

As of present, Orange has completed the acquisition of 100% of the operations of Airtel in Burkina Faso via its subsidiaries.

Reportedly, the entire acquisition is estimated to be worth US$800-US$900 million. These acquisitions are implemented in partnership with Orange's subsidiaries in the Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal.

One must note that Airtel is the 2nd largest mobile operator in Burkina Faso, with a 4.6 million customer base. In its results for the fourth quarter ended March 2016, the company reported a 8.4% YoY (year-on-year) increase in total revenues, while net profits witnessed an increase of 2.8% YoY. To know our views on the stock of the company, you can read the detailed result analysis (subscription required).

However, Bharti Airtel's operation in Africa has recorded minimal success. At the end of March, according to the latest earnings data available, Bharti Africa reported a net loss of US$585 million. Revenues from its African operations stood at US$4.2 billion during the concerned period. Bharti Airtel was trading up by 0.1% at the time of writing.

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Mar 21, 2018 12:35 PM