Asian equity markets are lower today as Chinese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Shanghai Composite is off 0.26% while the Hang Seng is down 0.41%. The Nikkei 225 is trading down by 0.14%. The Wall Street ended lower on Thursday after disappointing labor market data clashed with the possibility of a more hawkish Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, share markets in India have opened the day on a flattish note. The BSE Sensex is trading lower by 32 points while the NSE Nifty is trading lower by 9 points. The BSE Mid Cap Index and BSE Small Cap index both opened the day up by 0.2%.

Sectoral indices have opened the day on a mixed note with power stocks and healthcare stocks leading the gains. While, FMCG stocks and information technology stocks are trading in red. The rupee is trading at 64.78 to the US$.

Telecom stocks opened the day on a mixed note with Bharti Infratel and AGC Networks leading the losses. As per an article in The Economic Times, the Tata Group and Bharti Enterprises have held exploratory talks to evaluate a mega alliance involving their telecom, overseas cable and enterprise services, and direct-to-home TV businesses.

Apparently, Bharti Airtel is mulling a merger with unlisted Tata Teleservices and Tata Sky and the listed Tata Communications.

Reportedly, if the alliance does fructify, it will consolidate the Indian telecom market still further, and narrow the field down to three main players: Idea-Vodafone, Reliance Jio, and the Airtel-Tata combine.

The merger will enable Bharti Airtel, the bigger partner in the alliance, to close the gap between Idea-Vodafone both in terms of numbers of subscribers as well as revenue market share.

For the Tatas, the merger will provide an opportunity to fold their loss-making telecom business into a bigger company and become minority investors.

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