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Sensex Finishes Strong; Maruti Suzuki Continues to Rise
Wed, 30 Nov Closing

Indian share markets gathered steam in the final few hours of trading session to finish on a strong note amid strong European markets. The markets finished in green for fourth straight session on continued buying by domestic institutional investors amid expectations of positive GDP data to be released later in the day.

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 259 points, while the NSE Nifty finished up by 82 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 1.1% and 1.3% respectively. Gains were largely seen in banking and consumer durable stocks.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Hang Seng gained 0.20%, while China's Shanghai Composite was off 1.00%. Shares in Japan were unchanged with the Nikkei 225 finishing flat. European markets are higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 0.31% while London's FTSE 100 is up 0.19% and Germany's DAX is up 0.12%.

The rupee was trading at 68.53 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 47.38 at the time of writing.

According to an article in The Business Standard, India has imported 17.2 lakh tonnes (LT) of wheat so far this crop year from Ukraine, Australia and France. Of the total exports till date, about 10.7 LT were purchased from Ukraine, 5 LT from Australia and 1.5 LT from France. This step has been taken in order to meet domestic shortages and moreover, the grain is available at much lower prices in the global market compared to the local prices.

The imported red wheat was costing Rs 1,880 per quintal for delivery in Bengaluru, while the local wheat was quoting higher at Rs 2,060 per quintal. Similarly, imported white wheat was costing Rs 2,080 per quintal compared to Rs 2,400 per quintal delivered from Uttar Pradesh.

Last year, private flour millers had purchased about 5 LT of wheat from Australia for the first time in a decade, due to the sluggish supply of domestic high protein wheat and lower international prices. Wheat imports are being undertaken to meet domestic shortages and moreover, the grain is available in the global market at much lower than the local prices.

Reportedly, state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has restricted wheat sale to bulk users and more deals are expected in coming months. If the government further brings down the import duty on the grain to zero from the current 10%, more wheat could come from abroad. Weakening of rupee is leading to rise in the cost of imports.

Rising wheat imports and spike in retail prices indicate short fall in the domestic output in the 2015-16 crop year, but the Agriculture ministry has maintained production to be 93.50 million tonnes despite drought in over 10 states.

Moving on to news from stocks in telecom sector. Idea Cellular's share price fell 2% in today's trade after it was reported that Malaysia's Axiata is reportedly looking to sell its 20% stake in the company.

Axiata believes the telecom provider's valuation will remain subdued for at least the next three years. Axiata had originally asked Idea's parent, the Aditya Birla Group, to buy back the holding but was turned down. Axiata has passed a board resolution to sell its stake in the company. The estimated share value of Idea Cellular on Axiata's books has been pegged at Rs 155 apiece.

The Aditya Birla Group owns 42% of Idea while the rest is held by institutional and retail investors. The parent had declined a bid by Axiata to raise its stake from 20% a few years ago.

Idea Cellular is seeking to reposition itself as a data player in response to faster-than-expected 4G adoption. Reliance Jio offering voice services at no cost to customers is likely to hit Idea the worst. Its revenue per data unit has been dropping amid Jio's free trial service.

The share prices of Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communication have plunged 2%, 15% and 32% since the launch of Reliance Jio.

Idea Cellular Continues to Slide

Moreover, Idea is expected to be the worst hit among incumbent operators following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes earlier this month. A 2% fall in revenue because of the move could lead to a 4-5% impact on earnings per share.

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Mar 19, 2018 (Close)