Indian Markets Wednesday Wrap-Up: Quarter Starts Positively

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Includes: EPI, IFN, IIF, INFY, PIN, SAY, WIT
by: Equitymaster

The markets continued their upward surge as buying activity intensified during the final hour of trade. The BSE-Sensex closed with gains of around 190 points, while the NSE-Nifty closed higher by about 40 points. Stocks from the mid-cap and small-cap space ended the day in the green as well. Buying activity was seen across sectors led by realty, IT and energy. However, stocks from the healthcare and FMCG bore the brunt of profit booking.

Most other Asian markets ended on a firm note. The European indices are currently trading weak. Rupee was trading at 50.68 against the US dollar at the time of writing.

Software stocks ended the day on a firm note led by NIIT, Infosys (NASDAQ:INFY), Satyam (SAY) and Wipro (NYSE:WIT). As per a leading business daily, top Indian software companies are competing for BSNL’s Rs 60 bn (US$ 1.2 bn) outsourcing contract. It is believed that TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Spanco Telesystems, HCL Infosystems and Satyam are in the race for the contract. The contract has an estimated budget of Rs 15 bn for each zone (north, south, east and west). While a few have bid for all four regions, the others have bid for selected regions. It may be noted that Indian IT firms have increased their focus on Indian market significantly since the global markets have been hit by the economic slowdown. Despite the global slump, Gartner believes that Indian companies’ IT budgets are still expected to grow. It further believes that the revenues from the government projects in India are expected to go up dramatically over the next two years as the government’s IT spends are estimated to touch levels US$ 4 bn.

NTPC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Power for generating 217 bn units of electricity during FY10. In addition, the MOU also includes targets of important milestones relating to project completion schedule of ongoing power projects, coal mining activities, total quality management, human resources development and business development activities. Also the company had successfully synchronized the second 250 MW unit of Bhilai expansion power project of NTPC SAIL Power Company Ltd, a 50: 50 joint venture of NTPC and SAIL. With the commissioning of this unit, NTPC now has 30,000 MW of capacity. It may be noted that the company has outlined an aggressive capacity addition plan for the eleventh five-year plan (2007-12), wherein it plans to add around 22,400 MW of new generation capacity.

As per the provisional information issued by the Ministry of Commerce, exports during the month of February declined by 22% on a year on year basis. Imports were also lower by 23% YoY for the same period. The lower imports have narrowed the trade deficit by as much as 27%. It may be noted that major component of the import bill are related to the requirement for hydrocarbon energy. With RIL’s KG basin gas expected to flow during the month and production of oil from Cairn’s Rajasthan field in a month, India’s import bill is expected to be significantly lower during the current fiscal quarter.

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