ITC Becomes 6th Largest Company by Market Cap, Overtakes Infosys After HDFC

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ITC, the sixth-largest weighted stock on the Nifty50, briefly overtook the market capitalisation of Infosys on Tuesday to become the country’s sixth-largest company. The cigarette giant surpassed Infosys in market capitalisation after overtaking home finance lender HDFC Ltd in Friday’s trade.

The company’s market capitalisation ranking improved two notches in three sessions as the share price crossed the Rs 412 mark.

While ITC has a 4.7% weight in the Nifty50, the second-largest firm, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has a 4.3% weight, just below ITC’s as of Tuesday.

After surging 52% last year, ITC shares are up another 24% so far in 2023, the best performer in the benchmark Nifty50. Shares of Infosys, on the other hand, have tumbled 26% from their December peak, wiping nearly Rs 2 lakh crore off investors’ fortunes.

While misses across the board and disappointing guidance for next year weighed on Infosys stock post-Q4 results, its expectations for broad-based growth in both rural and urban markets are driving ITC shares higher.

As a result, nearly 95% of analysts tracking ITC shares on Bloomberg have a “buy” recommendation on the stock, while Infosys’ “sell” rating surged to its highest level since September 2017.

Foreign brokerage CLSA, which raised its target price for ITC, sees better capital allocation and a higher margin trajectory for the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business, as well as potential value unlocking, as things to watch going forward. The foreign brokerage also raised its earnings forecast for FY24-25 by 2-4%.

Moreover, ITC has been driving the benchmark Nifty50 on its own so far, contributing almost half of the index’s performance this year. The cigarette giant contributed 166 points, or 49.3%, to the benchmark, easing a sell-off in IT and other heavyweights.

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