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Indices close on a firm footing
Wed, 16 Mar Closing

Indian stock markets began the day's proceedings on a positive note and maintained this momentum throughout today's session led by sustained buying activity across index heavyweights. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by around 191 points (up 1%), the NSE-Nifty closed higher by around 62 points (up 1.1%). The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap also closed higher by 1.4% and 1.3% respectively. Gains were largely seen in banking and auto stocks.

As regards global markets, Asian indices closed firm today while European indices have opened on a mixed note. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.14 to the dollar at the time of writing.

The recent earthquake in Japan is expected to soften prices of commodities in the short term. In this regard, SAIL expects the prices of steel-making raw materials such as iron ore and coking coal to reduce in the near term. This is largely on the back of disruption caused by the earthquake and tsunami which would adversely impact Japanese production facilities. That said, SAIL's management has not indicated the extent of the fall in raw material prices. Coking coal prices at the current levels are above US$ 300 and are not sustainable. In another development, the steel company has signed a MoU for FY12 with the Indian government. As per this, SAIL plans to achieve higher saleable steel production than planned for FY11. For this it intends to utilise more than 114% of capacity. The company would also focus on production of value-added steel products. Gross sales projections are over 4% higher than planned for FY11. The stock closed higher today.

Pharma stocks closed firm currently and the key gainers here included Glenmark, Biocon and Lupin. Glenmark closed with gains of 3% after being at the receiving end in the past few months. The company's sales did well during 3QFY11 led by the robust performance of its speciality business, although the company's operating margins were hit due to higher raw material and staff costs. That said, in the first eleven months of the fiscal, Glenmark secured nods to sell as many as 21 new generic medicines in the US. Further, because Glenmark is targeting drugs having an annual market size of around US$ 50-300 m, this means that larger players may not be too interested in these drugs and this could possibly lead to lesser competition. This would then be a positive for the company and enhance its sales from the highly competitive US generics market.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)