Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in South Korea (up 0.2%) and Singapore (up 0.1%) trading in the green. However, markets in China (down 1.9%) and Indonesia (down 1%) are facing selling pressure. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the oil & gas and healthcare space are leading the gains.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by 55 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 16 points (0.3%). Mid cap and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with the BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices up by 0.3% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 48.97 to the US dollar.
FMCG stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Henkel India and Gillette India leading the gains. However, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Marico are facing selling pressure. FMCG giant HUL has announced its results for the quarter ended December 2011 (3QFY12). Net sales increased by 16.5% year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 58.5 bn during the quarter ended December 2011 (3QFY12). The growth came on account of 7.4% increase in realisations as well as 9.1% rise in volume sales. Operating margins improved from 12.4% in 3QFY11 to 15.1% in 3QFY12 as advertising and promotion costs witnessed a drop of 3%. At the bottomline level, the company's profits increased by 18% YoY to Rs 7.5 bn.
Indian pharma stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Indoco Remedies and J B Chemicals leading the gains. Piramal Healthcare has recently increased its stake in Vodafone to 11% and will now have "customary rights" due to its stake. This would include a board seat in Vodafone India. Mr Ajay Piramal said that the company will appoint Mr Rajesh Laddha, CFO of Piramal Healthcare to be a part of the board of Vodafone India. Piramal with not interfere in the functioning of the company and management will be with the Vodafone management. Mr Piramal also reiterated its strategy of investing for a shorter term in companies based in India with a good record and banking on India's growth story. The company expects returns in the range of 17-20% on this investment. Piramal Healthcare will look to exit the Vodafone India stake in the next 12 to 18 months period.