Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a firm note, but subsequently profit booking at higher levels pushed them into the red. From thereon, the indices oscillated to either side of yesterday's close and closed marginally in the negative in the final trading hour. The BSE-Sensex today and the NSE-Nifty each closed marginally lower. At the same time, the BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap closed lower by 1% each. Losses were largely seen in FMCG, auto and banking stocks, while metals and oil and gas stocks managed to buck the trend.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed in the red today while European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 62.02 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Auto stocks closed in the red today and the key losers were TVS Motors, Tube Investments and Ashok Leyland. As per a leading business daily, annual car sales in 2013 fell by 10% YoY. This is the first time in the past 11 years that volumes have declined and reflects the prolonged slowdown in the Indian economy that has adversely affected the auto industry as well. Among the segments in the auto space, volumes of commercial vehicles (CV) have been the worst hit and have fallen by more than 20% as this segment is closely linked to that of the economy. Indeed, lack of mining activities and stalled infrastructure projects have badly impacted CV volumes. Even the festive season was not much to write about as volumes did not rise to the levels seen in previous festive seasons. Meanwhile, auto companies have not stopped bringing out new products. In the April-December 2013 period, the auto industry saw the launch of 22 new car models, 40 new variants and 10 model refreshes.
Pharma stocks closed mixed today. While Cadila Healthcare and Dr.Reddy's found favour, Biocon and Cipla closed weak. As per a leading business daily, Ranbaxy has received approval from Health Canada to manufacture and market Donepezil Hydrochloride 5 mg and 10 mg tablets. This drug is the generic version of Pfizer's drug 'Aricept' and is indicated for the treatment of dementia in Alzheimer's patients. The total market size of this drug in Canada was pegged at CAD$ 153.9 m and is growing at 38%. The finished dosage of this drug will be manufactured at Ohm Laboratories in the US. This is a positive for the company and will enhance revenues from the North American geography. Ranbaxy, in recent times, has run into trouble with the USFDA as a few of its manufacturing plants failed to adhere to the good manufacturing practices (GMP) norms set by the US regulator. Because of this, it also had to pay damages to the tune of US$ 500 m. All of this has considerably tarnished the company's image.