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Negative close as banks continue slide
Wed, 5 Jan Closing

Banking and realty stocks continued their downward slide on issues regarding interest rate hikes. Profit booking in these stocks took its toll, with the Sensex closing in the negative territory. FMCG and IT stocks saw some buying interest. The BSE-Sensex dropped around 198 points (down almost 1%), whereas NSE-Nifty saw a 67 point drop (down 1.1%). The BSE Midcap Index and BSE Small cap both fell over 1%. Around 2 companies fell for every one that gained.

Most of the Asian indices closed mainly negative today on a weak global outlook. Europe is currently in deep negative territory. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.24 to the dollar at the time of writing.

Diesel accounts for over 30% of fuel use and is critical for the transportation and the agriculture sector. Deregulating this fuel is expected to have a severe impact on industry and inflation. As of now, petrol prices have been freed from regulation. However, diesel prices and cooking fuel are still regulated by the government. Oil Minister Murli Deora recently announced that the government will try and see that there is no further price increase. On the other side, globally the increase in fuel prices is not seeing any respite. And, tackling these issues as well as fuel subsidies would be essential for valuing the proposed FPOs for the state-run Indian Oil Corp and ONGC.

Indian pharma stocks closed mainly negative for the day. Lupin recently announced that it signed an agreement with Brazil to supply its four-in-one combination drug to treat tuberculosis. It is a combination of Rifampicin, Isoniazide, Ethambutol and Pyrazinamide. This helps reduce the pill burden on patients by a great degree. For supplying this drug Lupin has inked an agreement with the Department of Health, the Brazil Government and Farmanguinhos, the largest public sector healthcare. It will supply the drug over a period of 5 years and it will provide Farmanguinhos with support for setting up local manufacturing in Brazil in the future if needed. According to the WHO, the treatment abandonment rate has fallen from 8% to 5% due to this combination drug. The stock closed down for the day.

The FMCG index was the top sectoral gainer in a fairly negative day for the bourses. GlaxoSmithkline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) officially announced an entry into India's oral care market through its global toothpaste brand 'Sensodyne'. It plans to make this into a Rs 1.5 bn brand over the next 5 years. Sensodyne is the biggest brand of GSKCH globally. It is a brand worth around US$ 750 m. It expects to capture up to 5% of the estimated Rs 18.5 bn Indian toothpaste market within the next three to five years. The Indian toothpaste market is currently ruled by Colgate with over 50% market share. This is followed by HUL's Pepsodent and Close Up brands, next comes Dabur's Dabur Red and Babool. The overall toothpaste market is currently growing at 8%. However, the 'sensitive toothpaste' segment is estimated to be around Rs 1.4 bn, growing at around 18%. GSKCH is expected to invest around Rs 250 m on various marketing initiatives over the next year. The stock closed positive for the day.

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