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Markets Finish the Week 6% Higher
Fri, 4 Mar Closing

Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a cautious note and subsequent trading hours saw them oscillate to either side with the indices eventually closing the day in the green. While the BSE Sensex closed higher by 40 points, the NSE Nifty closed higher by 10 points. The S&P BSE Mid Cap and the S&P BSE Small cap finished on a strong note as respective indices finished higher by 1.1% and 0.8%. Gains were largely seen in metal and PSU stocks.

Asian markets finished the week broadly higher with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is up 1.18%, while China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.50% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 0.32%. European markets are trading higher today with shares in London leading the region. The FTSE 100 is up 0.4%, while Germany's DAX is up 0.19% and France's CAC 40 is up 0.11%.

Oil prices gained in the afternoon session and were trading at $34.82 a barrel. The rupee was trading at 67.27 against the US$.

Oil & Gas stocks finished mixed with Indian Oil Corporation and Petronet LNG leading the losses. According to an article in The Economic Times, the government plans to raise natural gas price by about 60% for their undeveloped gas discoveries in difficult areas. This would provide the much necessary boost to firms like ONGC and Reliance Industries.

Gas price in India is currently priced at US$3.82 per million British thermal unit, which will fall to US$3.15 in April, a rate not enough to make up for cost of deep-sea development. Reportedly, this rate is not enough to incentivize exploration, so the government plans to price undeveloped gas discoveries in deep-sea, ultra-deep sea and high-temperature, high-pressure areas using average of landed price of naphtha, fuel oil and LNG.

Several discoveries of ONGC, RIL and the Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) in KG Basin on the eastern offshore alone are lying idle owing to the lack of a profitable price. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in the Budget for 2016-17, had announced a two-stage gas pricing freedom.

The script of ONGC finished the trading day up by 2% on the BSE. However, since the June 2014 highs, oil prices have crashed 70%. Meanwhile, ONGC's stock price has crashed 53%. In our recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp Premium, we have discussed what the future holds for ONGC (Subscription Required). The company recently announced results for the quarter ended December 2015. The topline for the quarter declined 1.7% year on year (YoY), while bottomline de-grew by 64% YoY, on a standalone basis (Subscription Required).

Moving on to news from the healthcare sector. Shares of Pfizer Limited finished the trading day on an optimistic note (up 0.6%) after it was reported that the company's Global Established Products (GEP) division has launched its largest selling antacid Gelusil liquid in a ready-to-drink, on-the-go sachet format in India. The sachet aims to reach out to consumers who are constantly on the go and have to rely on multiple elements of cure to settle the acidity attacks. It will be rolled out in metros, smaller towns and rural areas simultaneously. The Gelusil sachet is available across pharmacy stores and is priced at Rs 8 per sachet.

In another development, Aurobindo Pharma has received final approval from the US health regulator for generic version of an intravenous antidote to a pain-killer drug overdose. The product is expected to be launched in the first quarter of the next fiscal. Aurobindo now has a total of 242 ANDA approvals (207 final approvals including 10 from Aurolife Pharma LLC and 35 tentative approvals) from the US FDA (Subscription Required).

Buying activity was witnessed across majority of the pharma stocks with Glenmark Pharma and Divi's Laboratories leading the pack of gainers.

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Feb 26, 2021 (Close)