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Sensex Edges up by 120 Points; Bank & Realty Stocks Lead the Gains
Thu, 28 Sep Closing | Karan Janani, TM Team

Indian share markets recovered in the afternoon session to finish on a firm note after declining for seven straight sessions. However, the overall sentiment remained dull ahead of the expiry of derivative contracts later in the day and as the rupee continued to weaken against the dollar.

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 123 points and the NSE Nifty finished up by 33 points. The S&P BSE Mid Cap finished up by 0.8% while S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.9%. Gains were largely seen in bank stocks, realty stocks and pharma stocks. Meanwhile, consumer durables stocks and capital goods stocks witnessed majority of the selling activity.

Asian stock markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.47%, while the Hang Seng & the Shanghai Composite fell 0.80% and 0.17% respectively. European markets are higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 0.33% while France's CAC 40 is up 0.13% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.10%.

Indian rupee weakened further for the sixth consecutive session to hit fresh six-month low against the US dollar. Rupee was trading at Rs 65.76 against the US$ in the afternoon session.

Oil prices were trading higher at US$ 52.74 at the time of writing.

In news from telecom sector, Union Minister for Communications Manoj Sinha has said that Indian telecom industry is expected to cross US$38 billion revenue mark by the end of 2017, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% during the period 2014 to 2017.

This is in view of the exponential growth of smartphones and mobile data usage. He also expects the telecom market to generate revenue of Rs 6.6 trillion by 2020 with the National Telecom Policy 2018.

The minister stated that in the past four years, investment into the sector has increased by approximately 220%. He noted that operators have rolled out more than 0.2 million mobile tower sites in the last 15 months with a new site coming up every three minutes.

He also highlighted that the country is currently the second largest telecommunication market in the world with an over 1.2 billion subscriber base and around 450 million internet users.

Sinha further said that the industry is expected to generate four million direct and indirect employment during the period, adding that the government has put the spotlight formally on technology in the past few years. He also pointed out that the government has already started stakeholders' consultations on the new telecom policy and noted that the government is taking a number of steps for further augmentation of the ease of doing business.

Moving on to news from oil & gas sector. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) may sell its holding in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and GAIL to fund Rs 330 billion acquisition of HPCL.

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The company has about 13.77% stake in IOC, which is worth around Rs 264.5 billion and 4.87% stake in GAIL, which is worth Rs 16.4 billion.

ONGC is debt free and currently has Rs 100 billion of cash. It has received the shareholders' approval to raise Rs 250 billion through borrowing. Post the acquisition, HPCL will add 23.8 million tonnes of annual oil refining capacity to ONGC's portfolio, making it the third-largest refiner in the country after IOC and Reliance Industries.

In another development, the government is planning to allow private firms to take majority stake in the state-owned firm's producing oil and gas fields such as Mumbai High nearly 25 years ONGC's prime discovered oilfields were privatized.

As per an article in The Economic Times, the ministry is unhappy with the near stagnant oil and gas production and believes giving out the discovered fields to private firms would help raise output as they can bring in technology and capital.

It has been tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cut oil import dependence by 10% by 2022 over 77% dependence in 2014-15. The dependence has only increased and is now over 80%.

As per Business Standard, during the financial year 2016-17, India's total gross petroleum imports inclusive of crude and petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) segment stood at US$80.8 billion.

India's Growing Dependence on Petroleum Imports

Imagine India not having to import crude oil. That would be revolutionary. Our import bills would fall sharply. One of our perpetual challenges - the current account deficit, would stop being such a big worry. Inflation in India would seize to be highly vulnerable to international crude oil prices. And it goes without saying that it would be a game-changer for India's currency. The day India achieves fuel self-sufficiency, the Indian rupee would appreciate sharply against the US dollar.

Oil & Gas stocks finished on a mixed note with Hindustan Oil Exploration share price and Gulf Oil Lubricants share price leading the gains.

In news from pharma sector, Dr Reddy's Lab share price is among the top gainers on the bourses today after the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) issued an an Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) for the company's Srikakulam plant (SEZ) unit 1, in Andhra Pradesh. The company had in May informed stock exchanges that an audit of Unit II of Andhra Pradesh-based Srikakulum Plant (SEZ) by USFDA completed with zero observations so and no form 483 was issued.

The USFDA, on June 16, completed the audit of formulations Srikakulam plant (SEZ) unit I and issued a Form 483 with one observation, which it addressed.

As per USFDA, observations are made in Form 483 when investigators feel that conditions or practices in the facility are such that products may become adulterated or render injuries to health.

Earlier this month, the regulatory authority of Germany issued six major observations related to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Indian drug major Dr Reddy's plant in Vishakapatnam.

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Mar 22, 2018 (Close)