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Indian Indices Trade in Red; IT Stocks Witness Buying
Fri, 15 Sep 01:30 pm | Prasheel Vartak, TM Team

After opening the day marginally lower, share markets in India have continued the downtrend and are currently trading below the dotted line. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks in the power sector and stocks in the realty sector leading the losses, while stocks in the oil and gas sector and stocks in the IT sector are trading in green.

The BSE Sensex is trading down by 52 points (down 0.2%), and the NSE Nifty is trading down by 26 points (down 0.3%). Meanwhile, the BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.4%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading down by 0.1% The rupee is trading at 64.07 to the US$.

In news from stocks in the IT sector. Wipro share price edged higher in morning trade today afte the IT major announced that it was awarded a seven-year contract by European energy company, Innogy SE.

The contract is to manage Innogy SE's data center and cloud services. Innogy SE is an established European energy company. With its three business areas of renewables, grid and infrastructure and retail, it is well equipped for the work ahead in a modern, decarbonised, decentralised and digital energy world.

Wipro said that it will leverage its BoundaryLess Data Center offering to help Innogy drive a transformation program to rationalise, virtualise and consolidate their IT infrastructure.

As part of agreement signed in November 2016, Innogy transferred its twin data centers in Neurath und Niederaussen in Germany to Wipro on February 1, 2017.

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Separately, Wipro also announced that it has joined The Linux Foundation as a Silver Member. The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source technologies. Wipro has identified open source technologies as one of the strategic client themes to drive transformation across the enterprise.

One must note that Indian IT companies are currently reeling under the protectionism trend that has gripped major global markets. The most recent scenario is the H1-B visa issue which has potential to put pressure on Indian IT companies' margins.

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.

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.

At the time of writing, Wipro share price was trading up by 0.4%.

Moving on to news from stocks in the telecom sector. In the ongoing inter-connect usage charges (IUCs) saga between the incumbents and the new entrants in the telecom sector, Idea Celluar warned the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that any move to lower the IUCs would turn the entire telecom industry sick barring Reliance Jio.

IUC is levied by a telecom operator on incoming calls from other networks and the charges are passed on to subscribers.

Incumbent telecom operators have been demanding higher IUC with reasoning that every call on the network incurs a cost and expenses of an incoming call on their network should be borne by the operator from whose network the call has originated.

The telecom giant urged TRAI to put industry call minutes into two buckets for a "correct" assessment of costs and then decide on the merits of reducing IUCs.

Idea Cellular in a written communication said that TRAI should bifurcate current industry minutes into those terminating on the voice over long-term evolution (VoLTE) networks used by Jio, and other networks like 2G/3G and 4G used by Idea, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel.

Idea Cellular estimated that over 95% of its calls terminate on the networks other than VoLTE

The letter said the regulator must review the weight of voice traffic volume between the two types of networks for a year and take the previous three months' traffic data as the basis and be reviewed in a frequency of 36 months.

Debt Levels of Telecom Players on an Uptrend

Idea's communication to the regulator comes after reports that TRAI plans to reduce IUC to seven paise per minute and then to zero from the current 14 paise per minute. The earlier move to reduce IUC to 14 paise per minute has already been challenged by Idea in Gujarat High Court and by Airtel in Delhi High Court. Both cases remain pending.

If the charges are cut down to the proposed levels, it will lead to additional burden for incumbents like Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel, which are already reeling under significant amounts of debt.

At the time of writing, Idea share price was trading down by 1.9%.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)