Positive Finish to the Week

Positive Finish to the Week

Indian indices began the day’s proceedings on a positive note and continued this trend throughout the day ahead of the Union Budget which is to be announced next week. At the closing bell, BSE-Sensex finished higher by 178 points, while NSE- Nifty closed higher by 59 points. The S&P BSE Mid cap also finished higher by 0.3%, while the S&P Small Cap continued its weak trend and finished lower by 0.5%. Gains were largely seen in metal and banking stocks.

Asian markets closed mostly higher in today’s trade, with Hong Kong leading the gains. The Hang Seng is up 2.52%, while China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.95% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 is up 0.30%. European markets are trading sharply higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 2.40%, while France’s CAC 40 is up 2.05% and London’s FTSE 100 is up 1.26%. The rupee was trading at Rs 68.78 against the US$ at the time of writing.

Shares of Dabur India finished on an encouraging note (up 0.8%) after it was reported that the company has signed a licence pact with the government to produce two new ayurvedic drugs, Ayush – 64 for treatment of malaria and Ayush- 82 for management of diabetes. The company is also planning to commercially produce the two drugs within six months and they will be available in various formats.

Reportedly, the company has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Central Council of Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), an apex research body under the Ministry of AYUSH, for collaboration and cooperation in the pharmaceutical R&D for different novel dosage forms and drug development in ayurveda. The ayurvedic formulations for both medicines were developed by CCRAS. Also, the company has launched a sales training program for the rural youth which seeks to provide free technical training and skill development to improve employability of young people from villages.

In last few weeks, FMCG giants Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and ITC both announced their December quarter results. Both the companies reported sluggish growth and missed expectations. While FMCG volume growth has shown some signs of revival, pricing is becoming a challenge given the benign costs and the competitive intensity. In one of the recent articles published by Mutual Fund Corner, it has been explained how mutual funds have been reacting to the FMCG sector.

Hotel stocks finished on a mixed note with Taj GVK and EIH Ltd leading the losses. According to a leading financial daily, The Indian Hotel’s overseas arm Samsara Properties has sold over 1.27 million shares of Belmond for a consideration of US$11.96 million (over Rs 820 million). The sale proceeds are being utilised for retirement of debt. Post the above sale, Samsara Properties Ltd continues to hold 5.73% of the class ‘A’ common shares of Belmond Ltd. It is to be noted that Belmond Ltd has a collection of 46 hotels, river cruise, safari and luxury rail businesses in 23 countries. Indian Hotels Company Ltd and its subsidiaries are collectively known as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

Meanwhile, diversified group ITC is looking to invest Rs 8 billion in Odisha over the new few years to set up a hotel property and food processing park in the state. The hotel property will come up in Bhubaneshwar. Nearly, Rs 6.3 billion will be invested in the food processing park and the rest of the money will be invested in the hotel.

According to rating agency ICRA, the country’s hotel industry revenues are likely to improve by 9-10% in 2016-17, mainly aided by improved occupancy. It estimates the topline growth for the industry to be 8% during 2015-16. The last couple of years have not been too great for the hotels industry. The Indian economy slowing down has certainly weighed heavy on the performance (Subscription Required) of companies in the sector.

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