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Top stocks in focus on Monday, 20 March 2017

Several negatives look over the domestic stock market on Monday, but the broader trend still remains strong. Even if the market turns rangebound for in a broader consolidation move, expect plenty of stock-specific action in a market that looks flush with foreign portfolio money.

IT stocks: Major IT stocks will be on investor radar on Monday after reports that Cognizant may cut at least 6,000 jobs, which represents 2.3% of its total workforce, as it struggles with growth in an IT environment that is fast shifting towards new digital services. The layoffs are likely to be more this year than the routine annual exercise.

Infosys: The IT giant has decided not to apply for H-1B visas for junior employees, three sources with knowledge of the matter told ET, as the IT company comes to terms with the prospect of a tougher regulations governing the work visas. Indian IT firms have long been dependent on the work visa, but a rising tide of protectionism means they are beginning to adjust their business models to reduce their reliance on the visa.

Grasim: The stock of Grasim IndustriesBSE -0.74 %, with interests in businesses as diverse as cement and textiles, still has significant upside potential, as the share price reflects a steep holding company discount despite receding concerns over the dilution of value stemming from the likely merger of Idea CellularBSE -4.47 % with Vodafone. With the minority shareholders of Grasim and Aditya Birla NuvoBSE -0.84 % (ABN) voting until April 5 on the proposed merger of the two com ..

Maruti Suzuki: The carmaker is drawing up an aggressive strategy for another year of double-digit growth in the domestic market. It is set to bid the current financial year adieu with a growth rate of about 11 per cent in domestic sales on the back of products like Baleno and Brezza.
Aviation stocks: Domestic air traffic rose 15.7 per cent in February, ending thirteen months of 20 per cent plus growth. Domestic airlines flew 8.6 million people last month compared to 7.4 million in February 2016, a leap year. Analysts said demand remained intact and slower growth last month was not a cause of concern.

Ashok Leyland: The commercial vehicle major is planning to set up a new facility in Jharkhand. This will be the first investment from a major automobile company in the state, which has identified the sector as one of the key drivers to make it one of the industrial hubs in the country.
MTNL: BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava said the merger of BSNL andMTNL will be “advantageous” for both the state-owned telecom firms but issues pertaining to debt and salary structure will need to be sorted out first. A parliamentary panel report has pointed out that the telecom department is planning to place the merger proposal before the cabinet by June.