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Sensex Plummets 300 Points in Opening Session; Consumer Durables & Realty Stocks Fall
Fri, 2 Feb 09:30 am | Rini Mehta, TM Team

Asian stocks are lower today as Japanese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Nikkei 225 is off 1.30% while the Hang Seng is down 0.19%. The Shanghai Composite is trading down by 0.3%. Meanwhile, wall Street stocks gave up early gains on Thursday as bond yields rose and technology stocks retreated ahead of a host of high-profile earnings.

Back home, India share markets plunged in the opening trade after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed a long-term capital gains tax. The BSE Sensex is trading lower by 253 points while the NSE Nifty is trading lower by 69 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index opened the day down by 1.3% & 1.4% respectively.

Barring FMCG stocks and information technology stocks, all sectoral indices have opened the day in red with consumer durables stocks and realty stocks witnessing maximum selling pressure. The rupee is trading at 63.61 to the US$.

Retailing stocks have opened the day on a negative note with only Shoppers Stop and Future Enterprises trading in green. Tata group firm Titan Company reported on Thursday a 21.3% increase in consolidated net profit to Rs 2.81 billion for the third quarter ended 31 December 2017.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs 2.3 billion in the same period last fiscal.

Further, total income during the quarter under review stood at Rs 43 billion. It had reported a total income of Rs 40 billion in the year-ago period.

Sales at Titan's jewellery business segment, retailed mainly under the Tanishq brand name, were up 8% at Rs 35.7 billion. That growth rate is slower on a sequential basis, though, with the segment having grown 36.9% in the July-September quarter.

Titan's watches segment earned revenue of Rs 5.4 billion in the third quarter, a growth of 4.5% over the same period last year. But the company said those numbers were not comparable as its income included excise duty last year as compared with the goods and services tax (GST) this year.

Revenue at its eyewear division-retailed under the Titan EyePlus brand-declined marginally to Rs 903.7 million during the quarter from Rs 906.5 billion a year ago.

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Titan opened 166 new stores in the nine months to December, taking its store count to 1,439 as of 31 December 2017.

Titan share price opened the day down by 2.9%.

Moving on to the news from pharma sector. As per an article in a leading financial daily, Lupin has received final nod from the US health regulator to market its Clobetasol Propionate cream used for the treatment of various skin conditions.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) granted the final approval to market its generic Clobetasol Propionate cream USP, 0.05%. The company's product is a generic version of Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc's Temovate cream.

Even as pharma companies reel under the regulatory crackdown in the largest export market in the US, there has been no succour from the domestic markets. The growth in the Indian pharmaceutical market almost halved to 5.5% in 2017. Only 3,932 brands were launched in 2017. This is the lowest since 2013.

The leading therapy segments in terms of brand launches were dermatology, anti-infectives, cardiology, and gastroenterology. Anti-diabetics have also been growing in double-digits for the past five years.

However, with the government bringing a number of essential drugs under price control, prescription drugs are witnessing sluggish growth. Therefore, pharma companies are now focusing on the over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

Domestic Pharma Market in a slow lane

As per the Nicholas Hall 2017 report, the OTC market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 9% and reach US$ 6.5 billion by 2026. So, medication such as dermatology, vitamins, and pain & analgesics have gained centre stage, where most brand launches are taking place.

Recently, Lupin forayed into the OTC segment after it re-launched Softovac, its more than three-decades-old brand. Torrent Pharma has acquired Unichem Lab's domestic business which has popular OTC brands such as Unienzyme.

Thus, while pricing controls keep the operating environment tough in the domestic market, pharma companies with strong brands in the OTC category are better placed to ride the slowdown.

Lupin share price opened the day up by 0.4%.

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