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Indian share markets open firm
Tue, 25 Feb 09:30 am

Barring Indonesia (down 0.6%), most major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note with South Korea (up 0.6%) and Japan (up 1.4%) leading the gains. The Indian share markets have also opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the banking and consumer durables space are leading the gains.

The Sensex today is up by around 69 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 24 points (0.4%). The midcap and smallcap stocks have also opened in the green with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices trading higher by 0.6% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is currently trading at Rs 62.07 to the US dollar.

MNC pharma stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Pfizer Ltd and Sanofi India leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Pfizer Ltd, the Indian arm of the world's largest drug maker Pfizer Inc, announced that two of its shareholders- Pfizer Investments Netherlands and Pfizer Corporation, Panama- will be offloading majority stake to Pfizer East India Netherlands. This deal is part of an internal restructuring of the company. Pfizer East India will acquire 29% and 31% stake in Pfizer Ltd from the Netherlands and Panama units. It must be noted that while the Netherlands units will sell its stake at Rs 1,537 per share, the Panama unit will give its stake as a gift, without any consideration.

Cement stocks have opened the day on a firm note with Heidelberg Cement and Ambuja Cements leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, Jaiprakash Associates is in discussion with Holcim-owned ACC Ltd to sell off its 74% stake in two cement joint ventures with India's leading state-run steel maker Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for Rs 29 bn. Jaiprakash Associates has a consolidated debt burden of about Rs 600 bn. The stake sale is part of the group's plan to cut down its debt pile by about 25% before the end of the current fiscal year. It must be noted that Jaiprakash Associates is India's third largest cement maker with a capacity of 33.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

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