Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock markets in Japan (up 0.7%) and Indonesia (up 0.7%) leading the gains. However, markets in Taiwan (down 0.6%) and Hong Kong (down 0.3%) are facing selling pressure. The Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. Stocks in the consumer durables and power space are leading the gains. However, oil and gas stocks are trading in the red.
The BSE-Sensex is trading up by 60 points (0.3%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 14 points (0.3%). Mid cap and small cap stocks are also trading in the green, with the BSE Mid cap and BSE Small cap indices up by 0.9% and 1% respectively. The rupee is trading at Rs 50.82 to the US dollar.
Auto stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Tata Motors (Telco) and Ashok Leyland trading firm. However, Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp are facing selling pressure. India's largest commercial vehicle maker, Tata Motors has raised the selling prices of some of the vehicles in the commercial vehicles (CV) category. The company said that the price increase will be in the range of Rs 5,000 to 60,000. This comes after the hike in the excise duty in the recent Union Budget 2012-13. The new prices will be effective from March 17, 2012. The price increases are in the range of 2%-5% in the CV categories. The company expects the near term sales to get affected due to the price hikes. However, the sales growth should come back on track once the consumers adjust to this hike. The company expects 18%-19% increase in commercial vehicle sales in 2011-12.
Pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Aurobindo Pharma and Ranbaxy Laboratories trading in the red. However, Strides Arcolab and Dishman Pharma are trading firm. Leading Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories is close to capturing 50% market share in the atorvastatin market in the US during the six-month exclusive marketing period. The company sells the low-cost version of Lipitor, the anti-cholesterol drug. As per latest data released by drug market research firm IMS Health, Ranbaxy has been able to lift up its market share from 41% as on February 3 to 45% as on March 16. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer's generic partner has a little over 20% share. Pfizer Ltd accounts for rest of the market share. It must be noted that Lipitor is the world's best-selling brand with annual sales of about US$ 7.9 bn in the US market alone. Ranbaxy is selling its drug at about 60-70% discount to Lipitor.