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Big three beat the Street on numbers

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HUL, Wipro, post strong quarterly results.

Three leading lights of India Inc,  Hindustan Unilever, and ICICI Bank, came up with that beat the Street’s expectations at a time when the reverse has become the norm.

The tone was set by India’s largest fast moving consumer goods firm, Hindustan Unilever. The company’s stock surged 6.7 per cent to hit a lifetime high of Rs 374.60 on the Bombay Stock Exchange after it posted stellar numbers for the quarter ended September. While the net profit went up 10.6 per cent to Rs 533.65 crore in the period and net income increased 22 per cent, the big change was the strong sales volume growth at almost 10 per cent overall. During the quarter, the domestic consumer business grew 18.5 per cent.

An elated Harish Manwani, chairman of HUL, said the company delivered one of its strongest quarters with top line growth well ahead of the market and improved operating margins against the backdrop of a challenging environment.

Wipro, the third largest software services exporter, also beat brokerage estimates with its quarterly profit. The company forecast better-than-expected IT services revenue growth despite global uncertainty, sending its shares as much as three per cent higher. The stock later closed down 1.7 per cent from the previous day’s close on the BSE.

Analysts said Wipro had shown signs of getting back on track after many quarters of underperformance.

Wipro chairman said the global macroeconomic situation was uncertain, but it had not yet hurt demand for technology outsourcing services by western clients. “The uncertain environment has not impacted business on the ground. Customers continue to look at IT strategically," said Premji.

ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector lender, on Monday said its consolidated net profit for the quarter ended September 30, 2011 surged 43 per cent to Rs 1,992 crore from Rs 1,395 crore a year ago. On a stand-alone basis, the bank's net profit was Rs 1,503 crore during the three-month period, up 22 per cent from Rs 1,236 crore a year earlier. The growth in stand-alone profit was driven by 50 per cent lower provisions and higher interest income from advances.

Net interest income, or the difference between interest income and interest expense, expanded 14 per cent year-on-year to Rs 2,506 crore. "We had a very healthy growth in profit clearly keeping in line with our strategy of resuming growth from this year. Our aim will be to keep the net interest margin stable and lending rates may go up if there is any increase in the cost of funds," said Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank.

The bank’s stock rose two per cent in early trade, touching an intra-day high of Rs 953.65. However, later in the day, the shares pared their gains in line with a weak broader market and closed 0.25 per cent down at Rs 931.

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