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Sensex Finishes Marginally Higher; Wipro Continues to Slide
Mon, 24 Oct Closing

Indian share markets began the week on a positive note amid strong global cues. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 102 points, while the NSE Nifty finished up by 16 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap finished down by 0.1%, while the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.5%. Gains were largely seen in oil & gas and PSU stocks.

Asian markets finished broadly higher today with shares in China leading the region. The Shanghai Composite is up 1.21%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 0.98% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 0.29%. European markets are also trading higher today. The DAX is up 0.8%, while France's CAC 40 is up 0.69% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.18%.

The rupee was trading at 66.86 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 50.87 at the time of writing.

According to a leading financial daily, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has suggested imposing Rs 30.5 billion penalty on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, for allegedly denying inter-connectivity to newcomer Reliance Jio. The regulator has also recommended the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to take action against these three telecom operators.

Noting that denial of interconnection by these operators to RJio appears to be with the ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer, it said that it has found the trio to be non-compliant with license conditions and service quality norms given the high rate of call failures and congestion at interconnect points for RJio.

Trai has recommended a penalty of Rs 500 million per circle for 21 service areas, except Jammu & Kashmir, for Airtel and Vodafone, where the point of interconnect congestion exceeded the permissible limit of 0.5%. For Idea Cellular, the penalty has been suggested for 19 circles, except Himachal Pradesh, J&K and North East. The penalty for Airtel and Vodafone works out to about Rs 10.5 billion each, while in case of Idea Cellular it is about Rs 9.5 billion. Since, Trai does not have powers to levy fines; it has recommended the DoT to levy the same in its capacity as the licensor since these companies have violated their license conditions.

If DoT finds violations in all the circles, as mentioned by Trai, the telcos would have to cough up a combined penalty of Rs 30.5 billion. Since September 30, Trai has been monitoring congestion levels on a daily basis and found that the situation has not improved.

Bharti Airtel and Idea finished the day down by 0.9% and 3.3% respectively.

Moving on to news from stocks in cement sector. According to a leading financial daily, ACC has commissioned 1.35 million tonnes (MT), Sindri Cement Grinding Unit in Jharkhand, which is a part of the Jamul Integrated Project and the commercial production has commenced on October 22, 2016. The company is excepting that the two Cement Grinding Units in Jamul and at Sindri totaling 2.45 MT p.a. will help strengthen the company's market presence in the Eastern Region.

According to an article in the Times of India, demand for cement in the country is expected to increase due to government's push to infrastructure projects. 45 MT of cement will be needed in the next 3-4 years. With government help in terms of friendlier laws, lower taxation and increased infrastructure spending, the cement sector will grow and could boost the country's economy.

Meanwhile, ACC posted 29% fall in consolidated net profit at Rs 8.2 billion for the quarter ended September (Q3CY16), due to lower realizations. Cement sales volume for the quarter fell 9.6% year-on-year to 5.07 million tonnes, touching its lowest level since the December 2014 quarter. Weak volume growth led to a decline in consolidated revenue, which stood at Rs 25.21 billion in the quarter.

On supply side, the company expects volumes to pick up as the newly commissioned units stabilize, especially in the fast-growing eastern region. On the overall demand side, the company maintains an optimistic outlook for the economy in the coming months.

ACC finished the day up by 0.5% on the BSE.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)