Indian equity markets began the day's proceedings on a cautious note. While the early hours saw some amount of volatility, in the subsequent hours buying activity intensified across index heavyweights causing the indices to make further inroads into the positive territory. This momentum was maintained in the final trading hour as well and the indices closed well above the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by 137 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 36 points. The BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap notched gains of 0.7% and 0.2% respectively. Gains were largely seen in metal, oil and gas stocks and FMCG stocks.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have also opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 53.76 to the dollar at the time of writing.
The Economic Survey for 2012-13 (FY13) was tabled in the Parliament today. The Survey stated that after the slowdown in FY09, the Indian economy did quite well to grow by 8.6% and 9.3% in FY10 and FY11 respectively. Monetary stimulus measures adopted by the central bank played an important role in fueling growth. But as inflation reared its ugly head, the RBI had no choice but to raise interest rates. This exercise began in March 2010. Thus, a combination of high rates and lack of policy reforms by the government led to India's growth slowing to 6.2% in FY12 and even further to 5% in FY13. The major culprit was the weak performance of industry as growth was tepid at 3.5% and 3.1% in FY12 and FY13 respectively. The Survey has projected that the Indian economy will grow in the range of 6.1-6.7% in FY14 based on the expectation that the three major sectors of the economy will perform better than what they did in FY13. This growth is based on assumptions such as normal monsoon, further moderation in inflation and mild recovery of global growth.
Barring Pfizer, most MNC pharma stocks closed firm today. Sanofi India had announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 2012. The company's topline grew by 19% YoY during 4QCY12 led by growth in its core pharmaceuticals business. Operating income also grew by a robust 24% YoY. Operating margins improved by 1.2% YoY to 18.2% during 4QCY12 leading to the 27% YoY growth in operating profits. Net profits grew by 24% for 4QCY12. The company had changed its accounting policy pertaining to amortization of goodwill since September 2012. As a result of this change, depreciation charges rose by 57% YoY. For the full year, while revenues grew by 21.5% YoY, net profits fell by 8% YoY on account of lower other income and surge in depreciation charges. Other income declined because of lower interest income as the company had invested in the acquisition of brands and technical know-how from Universal Medicare Private Ltd. the stock closed higher by 2.7%.