Agra, Aug 6 (IANS) The residents of the Taj city seem to be "learning to live with the enemy" in the time of the Covid pandemic.
"Gradually, people are realising the cost of negligence and the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. The shopkeepers are careful, many sweet shops have sanitisers outside the entrance, and big signboards asking the customers not to enter without a mask," noted Shishir Bhagat, vice president of the Vyapar Mandal.
The markets and offices are now open and normalcy is gradually returning. In the Sanjay Place Commercial Complex, the main hub of trading in the city, most shops and commercial establishments have guards posted outside who advise people to wear masks and sanitise their hands, said computer parts outlet owner Chaturbhuj Tiwari. "Now very few hang around after business hours, everyone is in a hurry to reach home," he added.
"If the markets do not see the usual hustle and bustle, it is because there are no "faltu-types" roaming around. Only those who have some work stir out. Already a good share of purchases has gone online. A big transformation is already there," said Johri Bazar cloth merchant Bankey Lal Maheshwari.
Though on the surface, conditions seem to be normalising, the spurt in fresh cases of Covid-19 is a major worry for the administration. This is especially so after the daily number of tests was hiked to more than a thousand.
In the past 24 hours 35 fresh cases have been reported, taking Agra's tally to 1963, while the death toll remains at 100. The total number of active cases is 289 in 96 containment zones. The recovery rate has again gone up to 80.18 percent, after 43 patients were discharged on Wednesday. So far 59,353 samples have been collected.
In neighbouring Mathura district, 72 cases surfacing in 24 hours has alarmed the administration. Among the victims is the SSP of Mathura. In Mainpuri 12 cases were reported, while Firozabad reported 17 and Kasganj 7.
New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) Investment experts have projected a positive turnaround for the ITC stock with 41 out of 43 analysts on Bloomberg giving a "buy" or "Hold" call for the stock.
As per JM Financial, the addressable opportunity for ITC is still $ 22 billion - larger than even HUL's 'size of markets' and more than three times that of Nestle India's.
ITC in FY30 could clock an FMCG EBITDA that is higher than the combined FY20 EBITDA of Nestle India, Britannia, Tata Consumer, JM Financial said.
It said that ITC's FMCG segment is possibly one of the most under-appreciated businesses in the Indian consumer space in recent times.
"We suspect the market may not have taken a holistic look yet; our understanding of Indian consumer categories tells us that ITC FMCG today addresses market opportunities that are Rs 2.1 trillion ($ 28 billion) in size in aggregate. Even if one excludes a couple of nascent Dairy products from the portfolio, the addressable opportunity for ITC is still $ 22 billion - larger than even HUL's 'size of markets' and more than three times that of Nestle India's," it added.
"Profitability is low at present, but we reckon that with investment-phase largely done (though some new categories are still in incubation stages), profits and cash-generation would get much bigger here onwards," the report said.
As per Centrum Broking, "In our deep dive analysis into ITC's foods business we conclude that it is at the cusp of a take-off both in terms of top-line and margins."
"ITC is emerging as a foods company, more comparable to Nestle than HUL. Branded packed food consistently gaining saliency given the management focus (saliency increased from 71 per cent of other FMCG in FY14 to 81 per cent in FY20)," it added.
It is the only company which has successful brands from staples (Aashirvaad) to RTC and RTE (Sunfeast, Bingo, Yippee etc.).
ITC has made consistent investments in brand building over the past decade helping create brands across the branded packed food categories from staples a and dairy to RTC and RTE. Aashirvaad, Sunfeast, Bingo and Yippee now account for Rs 60 billion, 40 billion, 27 billion and 13 billion in consumer spend terms.
As per BNP Paribas, there is a faster than expected recovery in ITC's cigarette business. The catalyst for ITC is a faster than expected recovery in cigarette volumes and higher than expected margin expansion in the FMCG business.
As per B&K Securities, a turnaround in cigarette volumes is expected from September onwards. "We believe the gradual lifting of start/stop lockdowns in most states, opening up of bars/clubs in some states and more attendance in offices due to lesser fears from Covid-19 will lead to the marginal smoker slowly coming back. Given the fact that 30 per cent of the smokers' user base comprises of non-regular smokers who have been impacted by the start/stop lockdowns, we feel the industry figures will start looking up from September 2020," it added.