After rebounding yesterday, Asian stock markets have again opened the day in the red. Stock markets in Japan (down 2.1%), Hong Kong (down 2.1%) and Indonesia (down 1.8%) are leading the pack of losers. On the same lines, Indian stock markets have also opened the day on a weak note. Stocks from the auto and IT space are leading the losses. However, stocks from the consumer durables, oil & gas and capital goods space are trading firm.
The BSE-Sensex is trading lower by around 83 points (0.5%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by around 26 points (0.5%). On the other hand, while the BSE Midcap index is trading flat, the BSE Small cap index is up by 0.1%. The rupee is trading at 45.26 to the US dollar.
IT stocks have opened the day on a weak note with Infosys and Patni Computers trading weak. Midcap IT service provider, 3i Infotech, has announced plans to sell its US subsidiary, Regulus. The deal value for this is expected to be US$ 100 m. Regulus is a transaction BPO, which had been acquired by 3i two years ago. 3i had acquired Regulus for a deal value of US$ 80 m. The company had funded the acquisition through debt which had led to an increase in debt in its books. However, as per the management, the acquisition did not work out the way it was planned to. The deal is expected to be closed within the next 3 months. The deal proceeds are expected to be utilized by the company for bringing its debt levels down. The company currently has an outstanding debt of Rs 21 bn (as at end of December 2010). Of this it has FCCBs (Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds) of US$ 50 m, which are due for redemption in March 2011. The company has been battling high debt levels for a while. Higher interest costs have severely hurt the company's profits in recent times.
Pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with GSK Pharma, Lupin and Aurobindo Pharma trading firm. However, Dr Reddy's and IPCA Labs are facing selling pressure. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has increased the price cap on local pharma companies such as Wockhardt and Biocon to increase prices of their insulin brands by up to 18.55%. The move has come on the back of rising input costs. These two companies are the only local drugmakers who make and sell insulin in India. Their products are about a third cheaper than imported brands or those made from raw materials sourced from abroad. These companies account for just 10% of the estimated Rs 2.5 bn insulin market. Despite the price increase, Wockhardt and Biocon's insulin brands will still be 18% cheaper than the other competing products.