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Indian share markets continued to trade range bound in the afternoon session amid mixed global indices. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed lower by 70 points, whereas the NSE Nifty finished lower by 17 points. The S&P BSE Midcap finished down by 0.5%, while the S&P BSE Small Cap finished down by 0.6%. Losses were largely seen in oil & gas stocks and PSU stocks.
Bharti Airtel share price finished the trading day on an encouraging note (up 3.5%) after the company dropped domestic roaming charges, matching rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, as chairman Sunil Mittal urged regulators to encourage consolidation.
Coal India share price finished down by 2.5% on the BSE after one of the company's fully owned subsidiaries approved a share buyback plan. Coal India said the board of its fully owned subsidiary South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) has approved a share buyback plan worth Rs 12 billion, following a government directive. This comes in only a few days after another one of Coal India's fully owned subsidiaries Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL) approved a share buyback plan worth Rs 12.4 billion.
Asian stock markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.40% and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.06%. The Hang Seng lost 0.77%. European markets are lower today with shares in Germany off the most. The DAX is down 0.11% while London's FTSE 100 is off 0.04% and France's CAC 40 is lower by 0.01%.
The rupee was trading at Rs 66.74 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 53.89 at the time of writing.
According to a leading financial daily, Larsen & Toubro's (L&T) wholly owned subsidiary - L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE), has signed an enterprise framework agreement (EFA) with Shell Global Solutions International B.V., for providing engineering, procurement and construction management services for Shell projects in the Middle East, South East Asia and India.
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The agreement is for a period of five years. For any agreements resulting from the EFA, LTHE will leverage on its core strengths of engineering and project management to deliver projects for Shell.
Just last week, Larsen and Toubro Hydrocarbon Engineering had bagged orders worth Rs 11 billion from Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for its Bongaigaon refinery in Assam. The orders are for IOC's Indane Maximization project, under which it will set up a fluidized cracking unit including LPG treatment facility.
In another development, according to a leading financial daily, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) plans to buy 5% more in L&T for Rs 65 billion at current market prices. The insurer, which already owns 16% of the company, has got the regulator's approval to buy the additional stake recently.
As per the reports, LIC has not set a time frame in which it would buy the additional stake, but expects to persuade the government to sell a part of its Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India, or SUUTI, stake like it did with ITC.
On February 8, LIC bought 2% stake in ITC for Rs 67 billion from SUUTI. Now, SUUTI owns 9.1% stake in ITC, 6.69% in L&T and 12.02% in Axis Bank.
L&T share price finished the trading day up by 0.2%.
Moving on to news from stocks in metal sector. Hindalco share price surged 2.1% in today's trade after it was reported that the company has received the environment clearance for setting up of a new cast copper rod plant in Gujarat's Bharuch district at a cost of Rs 2.4 billion.
As per the reports, Hindalco Industries's Birla copper unit has a mega copper smelting and refining complex at villages Lakhigam and Dahej in Bharuch district. It now wants to expand its continuous cast copper rod plant in the existing premises of this unit. The company's proposal is to expand production capacity of continuous cast copper rod (CCR) from 2,44,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) to 4,84,000 TPA by setting up a new unit.
Meanwhile, Hindalco also plans to invest Rs 10 billion in downstream expansion to increase the contribution of aluminium and copper value added products in overall sales. According to company's MD, over the course of next five years, the company will invest Rs 30-40 billion in downstream expansion and target an additional Ebidta of US$150-US$200 a tonne.
As of the December quarter, the company reportedly has consolidated debt of Rs 672.48 billion spread over five years. The company plans to focus on pre-paying loans to reduce the interest outgo. The company has secured an enabling resolution to raise up to Rs 50 billion through qualified institutional placement to pre-pay loans and embark on downstream expansion.
If aluminium and copper prices on LME stay higher, the company can deleverage faster and invest in less capital intensive downstream projects.
Eventually, the stock did break out of the pattern and rallied strongly thereafter. Today the stock rose sharply after 2:40pm to close the session with 6% gains. This helped the stock achieve the target calculated from the wedge pattern.
Now the stock is trading at its 52-week high with strong momentum. But we observe that it is very close to the 38.2% retracement level of a previous decline from Rs 290 to Rs 91. We also see horizontal resistance near the same levels.
Will the momentum help the stock overcome this resistance or will the resistance put an end to the momentum?
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