Sensex Today Ends 105 Points Higher; IT Stocks Drag

After opening the day marginally lower, Indian share markets reversed the trend as the session progressed and ended the day higher.

Equity benchmark indices turned rangebound after a tepid start on Monday.

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 105 points (up 0.1%).

Meanwhile, the NSE Nifty closed higher by 28 points (up 0.1%).

Tata Steel, JSW Steel, and Tata Motors were among the top gainers today.

UPL, Infosys, and TCS on the other hand, were among the top losers today.

Further, Tata Group is steering a transformative journey into the electric vehicle (EV) sector. For more details, check Tata EV sector stocks in India.

The GIFT Nifty ended at 22,130 up by 34 points.

Broader markets ended the day mixed. The BSE Mid Cap ended 0.1% higher and the BSE Small Cap index ended 0.1% lower.

Sectoral indices are trading mixed, with stocks in the auto sector, metal sector, and realty sector witnessing selling pressure. Meanwhile, stocks in the IT sector and FMCG sector witnessed selling pressure.

Shares of solar industries, Crisil and TCS hit their respective 52-week highs today.

The rupee is trading at 82.9 against the US$.

Gold prices for the latest contract on MCX are trading marginally lower at Rs 65,47 per 10 grams.

Meanwhile, silver prices are trading flat at Rs 75,550 per 1 kg.

DroneAcharya Jumps 5%. Here's why

In news from the drone sector, DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations' share price rose 5% in the early trade on 18 March after the company secured a contract to supply IT hardware for the Indian Army's drone lab in Jammu and Kashmir.

The provision of IT hardware, including CPUs, monitors, keyboards, and mice, for the drone lab will contribute significantly to the establishment and operation of this state-of-the-art facility.

This contract represents a significant milestone for DroneAcharya, and we are proud to support defense initiatives that contribute to national security and technological advancement.

The company has also bagged an order for the supply of a Precision Mapping System from Earthtree Enviro and secured a supply order of drone controllers from the Northern Command.

Droneacharya Aerial gave a return of 11% in the last six months, its peer while Ideaforge fell by 40%.

Why Tata Steel's Share Price is Rising

Moving on to news from the steel sector, Tata Steel's share price jumped nearly 5% on 18 March amid heavy volumes and multiple large deals, buoyed by China's robust industrial output growth.

Nearly 100 m shares of Tata Steel have been traded today, which is more than double the last month's average. As many as 23 m shares have been sold in bunches of large trades.

Other metal stocks were higher too, after China's January-February industrial output expanded 7%.

China's industrial output grew 7% year-on-year in the January-February period, data showed on Monday, accelerating from the 6.8% witnessed in December. This topped analyst estimates by a healthy margin who expected a 5% increase.

The industry expects a restriction on steel imports after it touched a six-year high in the first 10 months of this financial year, led by Chinese shipments, according to provisional government data seen by Reuters on 2 March.

India was a net importer of finished steel, the data showed. The steel demand was strong as the country remained a bright spot globally with robust demand from its construction and automotive sectors.

China, the world's top steel producer, exported 1.75 million metric tons of finished steel to India in the first 10 months of the financial year, a six-year high and an increase of 80% from the same period last year.

In September, India enacted a five-year anti-dumping duty targeting specific types of Chinese steel. In such a case, a domestic government imposes on imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.

LIC Slips below IPO Price

Moving on to news from the insurance sector, shares of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) fell 2.5% to hit a day's low of Rs 902.5 on Monday, 18 March, after witnessing selling pressure for the fifth consecutive session. The scrip opened at Rs 916.5 and plunged 1.5%. In the last five sessions, the insurance player's stock has tanked about 10%.

The stock of India's largest insurer fell on plans to raise wages by around 17% for its 1.10 lakh employees. The hike is set to substantially impact LIC, with an estimated annual implication of over Rs 40 bn. Once the increments are implemented, LIC's annual wage bill will swell to over Rs 290 bn.

In the current financial year, however, inclusive of arrears, the financial implications for the corporation will be higher at Rs 70 bn, taking FY24's total wage bill to Rs 320 bn.

The National Pension System (NPS) contribution is enhanced from 10% to 14% for nearly 24,000 employees who joined after 1 April 2010.

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Disclosure: Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited (Research Analyst) bearing Registration No. INH000000537 (hereinafter referred as 'Equitymaster') is an independent equity ...

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