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Selling pressure takes toll
Mon, 23 Feb Closing

The Indian markets opened the day's proceedings on a firm note and traded within a range for a larger part of the morning session. However, the afternoon session saw selling pressure intensify across index heavyweights thereby pushing the indices deeper into the red. There was no respite in the final trading hour either and the indices closed well below the dotted line. The BSE-Sensex closed lower by 256 points, while the NSE-Nifty ended lower by 79 points. Losses were largest in oil and gas, banking and FMCG stocks. The BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap index were not spared either and closed lower by about 0.9% and 0.3% respectively.

Most Asian stocks ended the day on a firm note, while most stocks in Europe were also trading in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 62.22 to the dollar at the time of writing.

Auto ancillary stocks closed in the red today with the key losers being Amara Raja Batteries, Amtek Auto and Sundaram Clayton. As per a leading business daily, Bharat Forge has bagged a multi-year contract with Boeing Commercial Airplane to supply titanium forgings for wing components for the next-generation 737 and 737 MAX. Under the agreement, Bharat Forge will begin supplying pre-machined forgings from its facilities in Pune and Baramati to Boeing in the first quarter of 2016. It must be noted that Bharat Forge has been working on reducing its dependence on the auto segment. Accordingly, the company has entered into the highly lucrative non-automotive forgings market in a big way, where it will cater to the needs of industries like conventional and non-conventional energy, aerospace, oil and gas exploration, infrastructure and metals and mining. With respect to aerospace specifically, Bharat Forge is targeting revenues in excess of US$ 100 m per annum from this sector.

Most pharma stocks also closed weak today with the key losers being Cadila Healthcare, Lupin and Elder Pharma. As per a leading business daily, the USFDA has raised concerns with respect to production processes at Lupin's Pithampur plant in India. The US regulator has accordingly issued the company Form 483 and has pointed out 6 observations with respect to the plant. Typically, when a pharma company gets issued a Form 483, it means that it can still continue to sell products from that plant to the US market. But it needs to address the concerns raised by the US FDA. Failure to do so could lead to the US regulator issuing a warning letter and in more serious cases, issue an import alert. As far as Lupin is concerned, the company has received one drug approval and two site-transfer approvals from the Pithampur plant since the FDA audit.

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