The BSE-30 share benchmark Sensex erased most of its early gains to trade marginally higher, but shares of cigarette-to-FMCG major ITC continue to outperform broader markets following an spectacular fourth quarter results announced last week.
At 11.25 am, shares of ITC were up nearly 4 percent at Rs 343, coming off its early highs. In early trade, the ITC counter notched up gains of 7.5 percent to touch a high of Rs 354.75 before losing some ground thereafter. Compared to this, the benchmark Sensex was up just 37 points at 25,339.
On the volume front nearly 11.6 lakh shares changed hands on BSE as against two-week average volume of just 4.10 lakh shares traded.
Investors lapped up ITC shares after the company's remarkable growth in cigarette and non-cigarette businesses.
According to brokerage firm Reliance Securities, ITC's cigarette volume growth has risen 2 percent against its estimate of 2-3 percent decline.
Higher volume growth is a marked improvement compared to 13 percent fall in cigarette volume in the nine month period of FY16. While cigarette sales grew 10.2 percent to Rs 4,640 crore, EBIT margins rose by 80 bps resulting in 11.5% growth in segmental EBIT.
Similarly, the company's revenues from non-cigarette division grew just 5.4 percent to Rs 2,700 crore, the segmental EBIT surged 46 percent yoy to Rs 70.8 crore due to improved product-mix and benign input cost environment.
The company posted net sales of 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter at Rs 10,060 crore while EBITDA came in at Rs 3,580 crore.
"Notably, its net profit at Rs 2,500 crore came largely in line with our estimates due to higher tax outgo during the quarter," Reliance Securities said in its note.
"We expect ITC to post revenue and earnings CAGR of 12.1 percent & 13.3 percent respectively through FY16-18E and maintain our BUY recommendation on the stock with an SOTP-based target price of Rs 384," said the report.
Updated Date: May 23, 2016 11:38 AM