Market round-up: MFs increase investments in IT and pharma stocks
The threat of protectionist measures may have emerged as a headwind for local information technology (IT) and healthcare stocks. But domestic mutual funds (MFs) continue to see investment opportunities in them. Last month, these two sectors saw the highest rise in allocations by the MF industry, shows data compiled by Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd. According to the report, allocation for healthcare or pharmaceutical stocks rose after three consecutive months of decline. Among the stocks, Infosys Ltd, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and banking shares saw notable purchases.
Automation poses threat to 69% jobs in India
The rise in automation and digitization, popularly referred to as Industry 4.0, is being viewed as a threat to jobs across countries and sectors. In a report by the Boston Consulting Group, India ranks high among countries where jobs under threat are 52-69% of the total. The range is wider in China, between 51% and 77%. Vietnam and certain other emerging markets too are at a higher degree of risk from Industry 4.0. This also correlates with the observation that job sectors with larger share of predictable and routine tasks such as agriculture and manufacturing are likely to feel the impact more than services. The study points out that jobs which have a higher “human element”, which require social and cognitive skills, and relationship building, will not stand the risk of automation, in the short term.
Cement prices unchanged at Rs321 a bag in March
All-India cement prices remained unchanged at Rs321 per 50kg bag in March, dragged down by weakness in the south, even as other regions saw price increases of more than Rs5-7/bag on a month-on-month basis, said a Kotak Institutional Equities Research report. According to the broking firm, absence of price increase on a pan-India basis resonates in the weakness in lagged volume data. In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 (Q4FY17), it expects cement prices to witness Rs8/bag sequential fall. Maintaining a cautious stance on the sector, it said cost-side pressures are easing with prices of petroleum coke coming down by $10 per tonne in February, though its benefit will only reflect beyond 1QFY18.