Indian stock markets had a rather volatile outing today although they managed to trade into the positive for a larger part of the day. While the indices began the day's proceedings on a positive note, profit booking at higher levels took toll and pushed the indices towards the dotted line. However, they recovered as buying activity intensified and the final trading hour saw the indices close well into the positive. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 84 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 26 points. The BSE Mid cap and the BSE Small cap also notched gains of 1% each. With respect to sectoral indices, gains were largely seen in banking and Oil and gas stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed weak today while European indices have opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 49.93 to the dollar at the time of writing.
As per a leading business daily, pharma major Ranbaxy has opened a new production facility in Morocco with the aim of establishing a direct presence in the North African pharma market. The size of the Moroccan pharma market has been pegged at US$ 1 bn. The facility has undergone successful audit of the plant by the Moroccan Health Authorities. The importance of this facility is set to increase in the coming years as Ranbaxy looks to use it as a base to market products to other African countries. With the addition of Morocco, Ranbaxy now has three manufacturing facilities in Africa; the other two are located in Nigeria and South Africa respectively. It must be noted that Ranbaxy's revenues from the US have been volatile on account of running into trouble with the US FDA and the company is looking to strengthen its presence in other geographies to augment its revenue stream. The stock closed higher today.
Auto stocks closed mixed today. While Bajaj Auto and Tata Motors (Telco) found favour, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) and Ashok Leyland closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, car sales in India grew by 13% YoY in February largely on account of a surge in demand as customers expect a rise in prices post the Budget. This is on the possibility that the government may roll back 2% excise concession given as stimulus during the 2008-09 slowdown and that diesel cars may have additional taxes imposed on them. While Maruti reported a 7% YoY increase in vehicle sales, Hyundai Motor India's sales were up by 13% YoY and that of Tata Motors was up 5.4%. Two-wheeler sales grew by 12% YoY with motorcycles growing by 8% YoY. Hero Motocorp led the pack as its sales grew by 9.5% YoY.