After a strong outing yesterday, Indian stock markets languished in the red throughout today's session led by persistent selling activity across index heavyweights. While the BSE-Sensex closed lower by around 209 points (down 1%), the NSE-Nifty closed lower by around 65 points (down 1.2%). The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap also closed lower by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. Losses were largely seen in metals and auto stocks.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed in the red today while European indices have opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 45.11 to the dollar at the time of writing.
As per a leading business daily, food inflation fell to 9.42% for the week ended March 5 as prices of potato and pulses declined. This decline was the lowest in the last three and half months. Food inflation in the previous week was 9.52%. After remaining in double digits for several weeks, food inflation came down to single digit in the last week of February. Having said that, food inflation and overall inflation is still above the comfort zone of the government. As a result, in the mid-quarter policy review announced recently, the RBI has hiked key policy rates by 25 basis points (bps). In the longer term, the government needs to focus on removing supply side bottlenecks by ramping up infrastructure in agriculture and improving storage of foodgrains.
Pharma stocks closed mixed today. While Biocon and Cipla found favour, Dr.Reddy's and Glenmark were at the receiving end. The stock of Dr.Reddy's has seen a correction in prices in recent times not just due to the overall weak sentiments but also due to a mixed set of numbers announced by the company during the recently concluded December 2010 quarter result season. The company was able to grow its sales largely due to the robust performance of its US generics business, while operating margins saw an improvement largely on account of a decrease in cost of sales and services. Betapharm was the spoke in the wheel as sales continued to decline due to regulatory changes in the German healthcare market. That said, Dr.Reddy's business is expected to ramp up going forward on account of a stronger product flow in the US as the company looks to capitalise on the wave of blockbuster drugs going off patent and niche product opportunities. Overall, the company is looking to achieve sales of US$ 3 bn by FY13 with the US market being the key contributor.