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Markets Finish on a Negative Note
Tue, 29 Mar Closing

At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed lower by 66 points, while the NSE Nifty finished lower by 18 points. S&P BSE Midcap and S&P BSE Small Cap also ended the day lower by 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. Losses were largely seen in pharmaceutical and capital goods stocks.

Barring Hong Kong, major Asian markets ended the day in the red. European markets are also trading in the negative territory with benchmark indices in London trading down by 0.1%.

Oil prices were trading at Rs 2,597 a barrel at the time of writing. The rupee was trading at 66.50 against the US$.

Majority of the stocks in the Indian pharmaceuticals space ended their day on a negative note with Lupin and Elder Pharma witnessing maximum selling pressure.

As per a leading financial daily, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has received final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for oral contraceptives and leukemia treatment injection.

The company stated that it has been granted final approval by the USFDA for drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol and for levonorgestrel tablets.

Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol are generic versions of Bayer Healthcare's Yasmin tablets. Further, levonorgestrel tablet is generic version of Teva Branded Pharmaceutical Products' Plan B one-Step tablets.

As per IMS data, Yasmin tablets achieved annual sales of around US$131.7 million and Plan B one-Step tablets achieved annual sales of around US$45.2 million for the 12 months' period ended January 2016.

Moreover, the company stated that it has also got USFDA's final approval for bendamustine hydrochloride injection, therapeutic equivalent to Cephalon, Inc's Treanda. Under the terms of prior settlement agreement, the company will be able to launch bendamustine hydrochloride injection on November 1, 2019, or earlier under certain circumstances. According to IMS Health, sales data for the 12 months to January 2016, Treanda achieved annual sales of around US$92.6 million.

Glenmark's current portfolio consists of 112 products authorized for distribution in the US marketplace and 57 ANDAs (abbreviated new drug application) pending approval with the USFDA. The company does not have any regulatory issues, as seen for most of the pharma companies. As we had stated in our result analysis report of the company (subscription required) ... 'With robust filings in place, we believe the company will be able to overcome the impact of global headwinds over a period of time.'

Stock of Glenmark Pharmaceutical finished the day on a weak note (down 4.7%) on the BSE. Automobile stocks finished the trading day on a mixed note with Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Tube Investments leading the losses, while Maharashtra Scooters and Maruti Suzuki were among the top gainers.

In another news update it was reported that India's top two truck makers - Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are redrawing their investment plans to meet Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission rules by 2020.

An article in Economic Times states that Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are developing all-new architectures to meet the BS-VI norms. Also, they are confident that they will be ready before the deadline with vehicles that conform to the stringent emission requirements.

According to the management of Tata Motors, the BS-IV effort is currently ongoing and the company is ready with it. The ministry's announcement on advancing its implementation of BS-VI norms led Tata Motors and its parts vendors to review plans and they have already begun work on the BS-VI project.

Further, Ashok Leyland will be upgrading its existing Neptune engine for BS-VI.

One shall note that government has decided to prepone the implementation of Bharat Stage-VI emission by a year to April 2020. Currently, India is implementing BS-IV emission standard. Government has decided to skip the BS-V emission standard and move on directly to BS-VI. Upgradation to BS-VI will lead to reduction of particulate matter by 80% in addition to reduction of nitrogen oxide level by 83%. This will help to significantly reduce the pollution levels.

Reportedly, adoption of new emission standard will lead to increases in the prices of vehicles. An estimated increase of Rs 1 lakh for diesel vehicles and Rs 20,000 for petrol vehicles is expected with the switch to BS-VI standard. Appropriate modifications in the engine will have to be carried out by the automobile companies to make them suitable for the BS-VI emission standard. Auto firms, part makers and oil refiners will have to spend anything between Rs 700 to Rs 900 billion in order to be compliant with the BS-VI standard.

For this government order, auto majors have raised apprehensions and stated that it would neither be technically possible nor advisable to skip BS-V or advance the onset of BS-VI, before the earlier schedule of 2023.

It will be interesting to see how automobile companies respond to these events in the coming months.

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