Sensex down nearly 150 points; Idea Cellular tumbles after early gains

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 20, 2017 11:28 hrs
People watch a large screen displaying India's benchmark share index on the facade of BSE building in Mumbai

The Indian stock market is notably lower Monday morning, with investors indulging in some profit taking after previous week's strong gains. A mixed lead from global markets and a lack of fresh triggers from the domestic front too appear to be prompting investors to tread cautiously.

The BSE benchmark Sensex is down 141.65 points or 0.48% at 29,507.34, after declining to a low of 29,490.43. The Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange is down 27.50 points or 0.4% at 9122.55.

In the forex market, the rupee opend at 65.40 against the U.S. dollar, up 6 paise from its previous close of 65.46.

Shares of IT bellwether Infosys Limited declined sharply on reports the company has decided not to apply for H1-B visas for junior employees or those with under four year os experience following tougher regulations governing the work visas in the U.S. The stock, which declined to Rs 1015.90 in early trades, losing 2.3%, is now at Rs 1022, down 1.75% from previous closing price.

Among other IT majors, Tata Consultancy Services is down by about 1.6% and Wipro is down 1%. HCL Technologies, Oracle Financial Services, Tech Mahindra and Tata Elxsis are modestly higher and MindTree is gaining 1.4%, while KPIT Technologies is hovering around its previous closing price.

Idea Cellular is down nearly 7%, after having rallied 15% in early trades. The company announced that it will merge with Vodafone India and Vodafone Mobil Services in a deal that would put the company's enterprise value at $10.8 billion. Idea Cellular said in a filing to the stock exchanges that the promoters will hold a 26% stake in the combined entity, while Vodafone will hold 45.1% stake after transfering a 4.9% stake to Idea Cellular promoters for around Rs 3900 crore in cash, on completion of the merger.

ICICI Bank is declining by about 2%. Tata Steel, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel and Hindalco are down 1.3% - 1.6%. Asian Paints, Larsen & Toubro, IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India, IndusInd Bank, UltraTech Cement and Reliance Industries are also weak.

Kotak Bank is moving up 1.6%. Tata Power, HDFC Bank, Yes Bank, Lupin, Bharti Infratel, HDFC, Tech Mahindra, ONGC, Cipla, BHEL and ACC are up 0.3% - 0.7%.

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