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Indian share markets open in the red
Wed, 20 Mar 09:30 am

The major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in China (up 2.1%) and Hong Kong (up 0.8%) leading the gains. However, the stock markets in South Korea (down 0.3%) and Singapore (down 0.2%) were leading the losses. The Indian share markets indices have opened in the negative. Barring realty, pharma and FMCG, all sectoral indices have opened in the red with stocks in the consumer durables and auto space leading the pack of losers.

The Sensex today is down by around 32 points (0.2%), while the NSE-Nifty is down by 13 points (0.2%). Mid and small cap stocks have also opened in the red with the BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices down by around 0.2% and 0.01% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 54.38 to the US dollar.

Pharma stocks have opened the day mainly in the green with Panacea Biotech Ltd and Natco Pharma Ltd leading the gains. However, Divis Laboratories Ltd and Torrent Pharma Ltd are leading the losses. As per a leading financial daily, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has constituted a committee to formulate a policy for approval of new drugs, clinical trials and banning of drugs. The step has been taken keeping in mind repeated slamming by the Supreme Court (SC) and Parliament's Standing Committee on health and family welfare. The Committee in its report last year had pointed out that 33 new medicines were approved between January 2008 and October 2010 without conducting clinical trials on Indian patients. As such, there is no scientific evidence regarding their effectiveness and safety when administered to Indian patients. Recently, in the wake of increasing number of deaths during clinical trials, the SC had asked Government to monitor these trials and compensate victims. The move is likely to strengthen regulation on the pharmaceutical industry and ensure patient safety in the country.

Power stocks have opened the day mainly in the red with KSK Energy and Jaiprakash Power Ltd leading the losses. However, Tata Power Ltd and Satluj Jal Vidyut Ltd are leading the gains. As per a leading financial daily, the Union power ministry has launched a credit rating mechanism for power distribution companies (discoms) of 20 states of the country. The move is a part of the ongoing exercise to reform the power distribution mechanism. The rating system will grade utilities' performance on seven parameters, including finances, audited accounts, cross subsidy extended, reform measures and overall regulatory environment. The rating methodology has been developed by the power ministry with help from private agencies, CARE ratings and ICRA. The grades assigned to utilities range will range from A+ for best and C for worst performance. As per the outcome of the first grading exercise, Gujarat power utilities have been the best performers while those in Uttar Pradesh have been rated the worst among 39 discoms. The Power Minister has stated that the ratings would facilitate the realistic assessment of performance of utilities. As such, it will help banks and financial institutions adopt a uniform approach while extending funds to meet the needs of different utilities.

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Feb 20, 2018 (Close)