Asian stock markets have commenced the New Year on a mixed note with stock markets in Taiwan (down 1.5%), South Korea (down 0.5%) and Indonesia (down 0.3%) trading in the red. However, markets in China (up 1.2%) are trading firm. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note as well. Stocks in the metal, consumer durables and Auto space are leading the gains. However, Information Technology and FMCG stocks are trading in the red.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 59 points (0.4%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 17 points (0.4%). Mid cap and small cap stocks are trading in the green as well, with the BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices up by 0.6% each. The rupee is trading at 53.06 to the US dollar.
Pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Cipla and Sun Pharma trading in the red. However, Cadila Healthcare, Biocon and Aurobindo Pharma are trading firm. Indian pharma company, Lupin has been granted approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA), to market the generic Fenofibrate Tablets. These tablets which will be targeted in the US market are used for lowering the cholesterol levels in humans. According to the information from the health regulator website, Lupin will be able to sell tablets in the 48 mg and 145 mg dose for Fenofibrate tablets. Lupin has yet not made any comment regarding the same. The innovator company for this product is US-based Abbott Pharmaceuticals. It had filed patent litigations against Lupin which has now been settled. Abbott sells the same drug under brand name Tricor in the US market. It is said that Lupin can launch the generic version by July 2012.
FMCG stocks have opened the day in the red with Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Gillette India facing selling pressure. Consumer goods companies like HUL, Dabur, Procter & Gamble, and Marico are expecting to do better sales in 2012. These companies are expecting the growth to come from newer products and categories, especially from the premium segment as well as a revival in rural demand. In the first nine months of the year, these companies have grown their sales in the range of 15% to 30%. However, in recent months the profitability was affected due to high raw material costs and slowing demand from rural markets. They are expecting 2012 to be the opposite of 2011. While the first half of 2011 was quite promising, the second half was mired with issues of slowing sales and lower profitability. The first half of 2012 will feel the overhang of these issues but the second half is expected to be better.