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Sensex Finishes Strong; IT, Pharma Stocks Surge
Fri, 25 Nov Closing

Indian share markets gained further momentum in the afternoon session as IT stocks were boosted by a weaker rupee. Sentiments also remained positive on account of firm Asian markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 456 points, while the NSE Nifty finished up by 149 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 1.3% and 2% respectively.

Asian markets finished higher today with shares in China leading the region. The Shanghai Composite is up 0.62% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 0.51% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 0.26%. European markets edged lower in early trade with shares in France off the most. The CAC 40 is down 0.37% while Germany's DAX is off 0.21% and London's FTSE 100 is lower by 0.07%.

The rupee was trading at 68.46 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 47.64 at the time of writing.

According to a leading financial daily, India recorded overall power deficit of 0.7% in first seven months of the current fiscal. As per information provided by Power Minister Piyush Goyal, 681.34 Billion Units (BU) were available against the power demand of 686.09 BU during the April-October period this fiscal. In 2015-16, this deficit was 2.1%.

The government has planned to make the country energy surplus with generating target to achieve overall electricity surplus in 2016-17. According to the Load Generation Balance Report (LGBR) for 2016-17, the Centre has set a target of generating 1,178 BU with overall surplus of 1.1% and peak surplus of 2.6%.

Besides, the average Plant Load Factor (PLF or proportion of capacity utilization) of thermal power plants (coal/lignite) during 2016-17 (April - October, 2016) was 59.17% and the PLF for gas based power plants during 2016-17 (April - October, 2016) was 23.59%.

Power shortage is one of the biggest problems faced by the country. Shortage of coal had led to poor electricity generation in the recent past. While the issue of shortfall in coal production has been rectified, another problem facing the power sector is the dismal financial health of state electricity boards.

Meanwhile, according to an article in Livemint, health of the power sector directly impacts that of the financial sector as 70-80% of the funds invested in any new power project are from financial institutions.

As per the reports, outstanding bank credit to power sector as on September 30, 2016 was Rs 5.3 trillion. Power sector's share in gross non-performing assets (NPAs) is almost 6% compared to 14% for the entire infrastructure sector.

Moving on to news from FMCG stocks. According to a leading financial daily, Britannia Industries is looking to expand its sales and distribution network in the Northern and Western states, besides increasing its sales in rural areas. In order to attract more customers in rural markets, the company is planning to come up with more low-price offerings in these areas.

The company is aspiring to be a complete food company by launching new brands and also has plans to extend offerings under its existing portfolio. The company, which had revenues of Rs 79.47 billion in financial year 2015-16, is working on multiple categories to be a complete food company.

In addition, Britannia Industries recently opened a modern research and development facility in Bidadi, on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

In addition to aiding innovation and faster commercialization, the new R&D facility will help in extending the shelf life of existing products through improved packaging. Britannia has a market share of over 33%.

The move is part of Britannia's larger attempt to shake off its reputation of being a laggard in innovation, become more cost-efficient and move more manufacturing in-house. It comes at a time when the company faces tough competition from the likes of Parle, ITC Ltd and Mondelez International Inc.

Britannia's share price finished the trading day up by 1% on the BSE.

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Jan 18, 2018 (Close)