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Here’s What Analysts Expect This Fourth Quarter Earnings Season

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India’s second-largest software services provider Infosys Ltd. will kick off the earnings season on April 13 for the three months ended March after two quarters of stable numbers reported by India Inc.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., India’s largest information technology company, will be the next large company to report financials on April 19. Three new companies were included in the Nifty 50 Index during the quarter: Bajaj Finserv Ltd., Grasim Industries Ltd. and Titan Company Ltd.

Earnings have stabilised over the past two quarters with most of the Nifty 50 constituents meeting Bloomberg consensus estimates. The worrying trend, according to brokerages, is that the number of companies beating estimates based on strong financials has been steadily declining. Auto ancillary, cement, steel and non-bank financial services companies had reported strong numbers in the third quarter ended December, while agri, public sector banks and pharma disappointed.

Here are the brokerage expectations for the quarter-ended March:

Agriculture

  • Q4 is a seasonally low contribution quarter.
  • Double-digit growth in UPL will be led by business in North American markets.
  • PI Industries to report strong earnings led by recovery in custom synthesis and manufacturing.
  • High raw material prices will impact margins of fertiliser companies

Automobiles

  • Strong quarter expected due to low base effect after demonetisation
  • Strong volume growth seen in tractors and two-wheeler segments
  • Steady quarter from Maruti Suzuki Ltd.; Tata Motors Ltd.may be impacted by weak Jaguar Land Rover sales
  • Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd., and Escorts Ltd. will be aided by strong tractor sales
  • Higher share of three-wheelers will aid Bajaj Auto Ltd., while Hero MotoCorp Ltd. benefits from strong volume growth
  • Scale up of operations to help Eicher Motors Ltd. have a strong quarter while TVS Motor Company Ltd. will be aided by premium products

Auto Ancillary

  • Domestic business, strong medium and heavy commercial vehicle volumes, Class 8 truck sales to aid 25 percent profit growth in Bharat Forge Ltd.
  • Motherson Sumi Ltd. to benefit from Euro depreciation and India wiring harness business which can see 30 percent growth in post-tax profits.
  • Bosch will benefit from strong commercial vehicle growth, which could lead to topline growth of over 20 percent along with margin improvement
  • Tyre stocks will benefit from falling rubber prices and strong volume-led growth

Banks

  • Weak earnings expected for PSU banks while smaller banks to grow faster
  • Elevated slippages likely on new Reserve Bank of India guidelines; non-banking finance companies in the sweetest spot
  • PSU banks likely to report losses on account of large non-performing loan recognition and lower treasury earnings
  • Private corporate lenders like Axis Bank Ltd. and ICICI Bank Ltd. will report weak earnings in the March quarter
  • Stronger private banks like HDFC Bank Ltd., Indusind Bank Ltd., Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. will report strong Q4
  • NBFCs focussed on commercial vehicles like M&M Financial Services Ltd. and Shriram Transport Ltd. will report strong numbers
  • Housing finance companies like HDFC Ltd., LIC Housing Ltd., Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd. will continue strong trends
  • Bajaj Finance Ltd. will likely continue to post strong growth
  • Life insurance companies will report improvement in VNB (Value of New Business) margins

Capital Goods And Infrastructure

  • Execution ramp up likely post base impact of demonetisation and GST implementation
  • Railways, T&D and Infrastructure continued to see significant order finalisation in Q4
  • Larsen and Toubro Ltd. expected to report order inflow ahead of given guidance
  • Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Engineers India Ltd.’s orderbook will be impacted due to delays in order finalisation

Cement

  • Volume growth for February and March may be in single digits
  • Sharp increase in petcoke and freight costs in the quarter ended March will impact margins
  • Companies like Dalmia, Ultratech and Shree Cement, which operate in East India will do well

Consumer and FMCG

  • Headline growth may drop as base normalises post demonetisation
  • Healthy topline growth will aid financials of Titan and Jubilant Foodworks
  • Cigarette volume growth will be improve sequentially but still remain tepid for ITC Ltd.
  • Steady performance expected from Hindustan Unilever and Britannia
  • Slowdown expected in Marico, Godrej Consumer and Dabur
  • Kesh King’s return to growth will aid Emami in Q4
  • Margin expansion expected in Nestle, United Spirits and Colgate

Information Technology

  • Expect steady growth rates, commentary for the current year to be the key
  • Strong deal momentum in earlier quarters will aid midcap IT stocks in Q4
  • HCL Tech likely to report highest dollar revenue growth while Wipro will be the lowest
  • Pickup in the banking and financial services segment in the U.S. will be watched in Tata Consultancy Services as that will aid double digit growth
  • FY19 guidance, new strategy by CEO, margin trajectory important for Infosys Ltd.
  • Path of return to normal margin post LCC ramp-down important for Tech Mahindra Ltd.

Metals and Mining

  • Vedanta Ltd., Hindalco Ltd. and Tata Steel Ltd. will report steady financials in the March-quarters
  • Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. and NMDC Ltd. to benefit from operating leverage and higher realisations
  • Commentary on uptick in China’s demand and overhang of tariff war important

Oil and Gas

  • Robust refining margins and steady marketing margins will aid growth for oil marketing companies in the previous quarter
  • Upstream companies should witness a strong quarter, with high oil realisations
  • City gas distribution (CGD) companies should post strong volume growth and robust margins
  • Softer refining may be a drag for Reliance Industries Ltd. while Jio’s financials will be keenly watched

Pharmaceuticals

  • Good quarter expected from Cipla Ltd. and Cadila Healthcare Ltd. which have high domestic base and ramping up U.S. business
  • U.S.-focused companies like Sun Pharma Ltd., Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., Lupin and Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals Ltd. will face headwinds

Telecom

  • Tariff cuts, international termination rate cut and lower average revenue per user to impact Q4
  • Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Idea Cellular Ltd. expected to report loss on consolidated basis
  • Expect healthy Africa trends for Airtel; Idea merger keenly watched
  • Q4 to see full impact of tenancy loss which happened in third quarter for Bharti Infratel Ltd.

** Analyst reports referred to while compiling the data: Edelweiss, Credit Suisse, Kotak Institutional Equities, Deutsche Bank, Nomura, Jefferies, Macquarie, IDFC

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