The Sensex today is down by around 198 points (1%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 57 points (1%). Mid and small cap stocks are trading in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by around 1% and 0.6% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 59.54 to the US dollar.
Cement stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Madras Cements, India Cements and JK Lakshmi Cement leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, Swiss cement giant Holcim is planning to restructure its Indian operations. One of its initiatives is the likely merger of its two Indian subsidiaries- ACC Ltd and Ambuja Cement. Holcim currently controls a little over 50% stake in both these cement companies. It is said that various options about how the two entities can be merged are being evaluated. However, the process is still at a very preliminary stage and the final outcome remains uncertain. It is worth noting that Holcim is currently the fourth largest cement producer in the world. The two Indian subsidiaries account for about 20% of Holcim's global operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization).
Telecom stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Bharti Airtel, ITI Ltd and Idea Cellular leading the losses. As per a leading daily, the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the telecom sector has been approved to be raised to 100% by the Telecom Commission (TC), the highest decision-making body in the telecom ministry. Now, the approval of the cabinet is being awaited to allow 100% foreign ownership in the telecom sector. Currently, the FDI limit stands at 74%. Herein, the automatic route allows for 49% of investment in an entity. For further stake increase, an approval is required from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). It must be noted that the telecom sector is currently reeling under the burden of a huge debt of nearly Rs 1.9 trillion. Allowing more FDI in the sector is likely to provide some relief to the sector.