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Sensex Finishes Lower; Rupee Downtrend Continues
Thu, 24 Nov Closing

Indian share markets continued to trade weak in the afternoon session and finished the trading session well below the dotted line. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood lower by 191 points, while the NSE Nifty finished down by 68 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished down by 0.1% each. Losses were largely seen in banking and auto sectors.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.94% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.02%. The Hang Seng lost 0.30%. European markets are also mixed today. Germany's CAC 40 is up 0.22% while the French markets gains 0.15%. The London FTSE 100 is off 0.14%.

The rupee fell to as low as 68.84 per dollar, almost nearing its record low of 68.85 hit in August 2013, as the US dollar remained strong over the prospect of higher US interest rates. The rupee was trading at 68.66 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 48.05 at the time of writing.

Infosys's share price surged 1.3% in today's trade after it was reported that the company has inked a definitive agreement to a Limited Partner investment of Rs 316 million from its Innovation Fund in Stellaris Venture Partners, an India-based early stage venture fund. This investment is towards the first close of Stellaris' fund. The investment is expected to be completed by December 15, 2016.

With this investment, Infosys looks forward to gaining early access to innovative new companies in India that are inventing in the future of enterprises globally. Stellaris has built a robust network of successful entrepreneurs and advisors to source, evaluate and mentor the best Indian start-ups.

India's startup ecosystem is witnessing rapid growth led by areas such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and big data, as well as the widespread proliferation of smartphones. In this environment, Stellaris aims to back entrepreneurs building applications for global businesses, Indian SMBs and consumers in verticals such as financial services, retail, healthcare and education.

This is the second investment announced by Infosys within a week that is being funded by Infosys' Innovation Fund. Set up in 2013, Infosys had beefed up its fund five-fold to US$500 million in 2015 to provide financing to start-ups and new technologies like artificial intelligence.

Last week, Infosys had said it has invested about Rs 144.9 million in UNSILO, a Danish artificial intelligence start-up focused on advanced text analysis. Earlier this month, Infosys had also announced investing an undisclosed amount in the US-based TidalScale.

In another development, Rallis India's share price finished on an encouraging note (up 3.3%) after the company announced it will acquire an additional 26.37% stake in its arm Zero Waste Agro-Organics for nearly Rs. 200 million.

After the acquisition, Rallis India's stake will increase to 100% in Zero Waste Agro-Organics Ltd, making the company a wholly-owned subsidiary. Zero Waste Agro-Organics manufactures organic compost.

Meanwhile, Rallis India recently reported a 31% increase in consolidated net profit at Rs. 665.2 million for the quarter ended September. Income from operations increased to 5.96 billion in the second quarter of this fiscal year, as against Rs. 4.92 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Rallis India's share price has dropped 10% since PM Narendra Modi's announcement of demonetization of big notes on November 08, 2016. According to a leading financial daily, in western India, cash sales of dealers have been impacted. Also farmers are not in position to sell their cotton and soyabean from the kharif season.

While in the state of Gujarat, dealers are seeing 80% of sales on credit compared to previous record of 20%. Whereas dealers in Punjab are stating that, previous credits are not yet cleared as farmers are going through lack of funds. Now that pesticides consumption nears a month down, the dealers expect the demand to drive by that time.

For short-term period, liquidity-led delays will reportedly hamper the growth of agriculture companies in second half of current fiscal (2HFY17). However, it is expected that there will be no structural issues as agri input demand is non-discretionary and farmers have to spend to save crops.

On a different note, Vivek Kaul, has shared a special report on what the war on black money means to you. Be sure to grab a copy of Demonetisation - The Good, Bad and Ugly.

For information on how to pick stocks that have the potential to deliver big returns, download our special report now!

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)