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Indian share markets ended marginally lower in the afternoon session amid weak European markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood lower by 114 points, while the NSE Nifty finished down by 25 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.5% and 0.6% respectively. Losses were largely seen in banking and IT stocks. On the other hand, stocks from realty and metal sectors witnessed maximum buying activity.
Asian markets finished higher today with shares in Japan leading the region. The Nikkei 225 is up 0.5%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 0.42% and China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.21%.
European shares fell early on concern that the European Central Bank might reduce the pace of bond buying before its purchase program ends, hitting utilities and real estate stocks hardest. The CAC 40 is down 0.81%, while Germany's DAX is off 0.78% and London's FTSE 100 is trading lower by 0.48%.
The rupee was trading at 66.57 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 49.53 at the time of writing.
Share price of Vedanta Ltd finished on an optimistic note (up 2.3%) after it was reported that the company is planning to raise up to Rs 12.5 billion through issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) . In this regard, the company has received its board's approval at its meeting held on September 30, 2016.
Recently, Vedanta was planning to invest around US$250-300 million in expanding Hindustan Zinc's capacity. With this investment, Hindustan Zinc's capacity would expand to 1.2 million tonnes per year over the next 2-3 years from the current 0.9 million tones. The company also said the focus would be utilizing the existing facilities for other businesses, instead of going for greenfield ones.
In the copper business, Vedanta has received environment approvals to expand the capacity at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and now it is in the process of getting other approvals which are state related.
Meanwhile, in aluminum, the focus would be increasing the capacity utilization from the current 900,000 tonnes per year to 3.3 million tonnes per year over the next two years. The company has invested around US$8 billion in the last 10 years in the aluminum business , which would not attract more investments. As far as mining is concerned, the company is planning to double the capacity of iron ore from 900,000 tonnes per month.
Moving on to news from stocks in the telecom sector. According to a leading financial daily, spectrum auction received additional bids worth Rs 31 billion on the third day to take total commitments to Rs 599.81 billion. This leaves two-thirds of total quantum of on-offer airwaves unsold as bidders stayed away from high-cost 700 Mhz and 900 Mhz bands.
The auction has entered the 16th round. Bids worth Rs 599.81 billion have come for 750 Mhz of spectrum out of 2354.55 Mhz put for auction. There is no demand yet for the 700 MHz and 900 MHz frequencies, while bidding interest continues to be largely around 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz that can be used by operators to provide 4G services.
The second day of the auction had also seen a tepid response from bidders with additional bids of just Rs 33.41 billion to take the total commitments to Rs 568.72 billion. The finance ministry in the Budget pegged the revenue target at Rs 989.95 billion from the telecom space. This included Rs 640 billion from the auction.
Even as the telecom industry finds itself in a tariff war especially with entry of Reliance Jio , a study has pointed towards the operators grappling with a huge debt burden of Rs 3.8 trillion, reinforcing a case for rationalization of taxes and other levies along with spectrum charges. An additional customs duty of 10% will lead to an increase in cumulated duty to 29.44%.
Seven telecom companies namely Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices are in the fray for acquiring 3G and 4G airwaves that are going to be crucial for maintaining competitive edge in the market and offering next generation services in the world's second-largest telecom market.
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