Persistent selling activity across index heavyweights refused to show any signs of abating causing the indices to close well below the dotted line. While the BSE Sensex closed lower by around 192 points (down 1%), the NSE Nifty lost around 58 points (down 1%). Midcap and smallcap stocks were also at the receiving end losing 1% each. Losses were largely seen in IT, healthcare and banking stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed weak today while European indices are trading mixed currently. The rupee was trading at Rs 46.08 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Telecom stocks closed mixed today. While Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel closed firm, MTNL and Reliance Communication closed into the red. Bharti Airtel announced its 3QFY10 results today. The company’s sales grew by 7% YoY during 3QY10, 15% YoY during 9mFY10. Growth during the quarter was led by the company’s passive infrastructure business, wherein revenues increased by 35% YoY during the quarter. Revenues of mobile services segment increased marginally. Mobile subscriber base stood at almost 119 m at the end of December 2009, higher by about 39% YoY. During the quarter, the average revenue per user (ARPU) declined by 29% YoY and by 9% QoQ (as compared to 2QFY10). Average minutes of usage (MOU) declined by 12% YoY and 1% QoQ (as compared to 2QFY10). Operating margins contracted by 0.8% YoY to 39.3% on the back of higher network operating costs (as a percentage of sales). Net profits grew by 13% YoY during 3QFY10, 23% YoY for the 9mFY10 period. Growth in bottomline was on the back of a decent operating performance and interest income.
As per a leading business daily, domestic pharma company Lupin has received clearance from the US FDA for its plant at Mandideep in Madhya Pradesh. It must be noted that the Mandideep facility had been issued a warning letter in late 2008 when the US FDA found it guilty of not complying with quality manufacturing standards. Thus, the green signal means that the company can start selling new drugs from this plant in the US market. Further, Lupin has also got the go ahead for two of its manufacturing facilities at Aurangabad and Indore (oral solids and oral contraceptives) from the US FDA after a recent inspection by officials. Of late, many Indian pharma companies have come under the scanner of the US FDA notably Ranbaxy and Sun Pharma’s 76% subsidiary in the US, Caraco. While these two companies have yet to sort their issues with the US regulator, the fact that Lupin has been able to do so is certainly a positive sign. The stock closed higher today.
Paints stocks closed weak today and the key losers here were Asian Paints, Berger Paints and Kansai Nerolac. Asian Paints announced its 3QFY10 results a short while ago. On a consolidated basis, sales grew by 23% YoY during the quarter led by strong demand conditions for decorative paints in most parts of the country. Operating margins improved by 11.3% to 19.6% due to lower raw material prices as compared to last year. However, the management does not expect these lower prices to be sustainable going forward. Having said that, good profit growth in all the three business units i.e. Decorative, Industrial and International helped in buoying overall profitability. Because of a strong performance both at the topline and the operating profit level, net profits tripled during the quarter.