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Most Asian markets started the new week on the back foot despite some slightly encouraging economic data from Japan and China. Japan's Nikkei 225 was off 1.34% while Australian and Korean markets were trading just below the dotted line. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng were trading up by 0.6% and 1.8% respectively. Major US indexes made slight gains on Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing up 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite higher by 0.1%.
Indian stock markets have opened the day on a flat note. BSE Sensex is trading higher by 13 points and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 10 points. Meanwhile, both S&P BSE Mid Cap and S&P BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. Stocks from consumer durables and realty sector are witnessing maximum buying pressure. The rupee is trading at 66.47 against the US$.
According to a leading economic daily, Ashok Leyland is eyeing massive expansion of its defense business (Subscription Required) as it forays into manufacturing Field Artillery Tractor (FAT) platforms for battle guns, 4x4 armored vehicles and ambulances for the Indian armed forces.
The company recently bagged an order worth Rs 8 billion from the Ministry of Defense to develop 455 units of 6x6 FAT, 825 high-tech army ambulances and other super stallions 6x6, 8x8 to 10x10 heavy military trucks and vehicles under the 'Make In India' program . For its foray in newer segments of defense manufacturing, the company reportedly is tying up with international defense majors, such as Lockheed Martin and SAAB. With Lockheed Martin, the company has tied up for a technology transfer and licensing arrangement for a 4x4 light armored vehicle under a US$1 billion order.
There are also plans to export these vehicles to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria, where the terrain is tough for big trucks to fight wars. Ashok Leyland has also tied up with SAAB for developing truck driving simulators that ply on challenging terrains.
Ashok Leyland opened the trading day up by 0.8%. The stock has moved up by 30% in the past one year. Ashok Leyland is a strong player in the medium and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCV) space . In a recent edition of The 5 Minute Wrap Up Premium, we have discussed the performance of Ashok Leyland (Subscription Required) in recent times.
According to an article in The Economic Times, one of Sun Pharmaceutical's wholly owned subsidiary Insite Vision has received approval from the US health regulator for its non-steroid and New Drug Application (NDA) drug BromSite. The drug is used to treat inflammation and prevent pain in patients undergoing cataract surgery.
The company is likely to commercialize BromSite through its newly formed US-based division Sun Ophthalmics in the second half of 2016. As per IMS MAT January 2016, the US NSAID ophthalmic market grew by 8 percent, generating approximately US$400 million in sales and about 4 million prescriptions, providing an attractive market for Sun Pharma to participate.
Sun Pharma acquired InSite Vision for approximately US$48 million in all cash transaction in November 2015. The stock price of Sun Pharma has opened the day on an encouraging note (up 1.5%) on the BSE.
Recently, the Indian Health Ministry announced a ban on 344 fixed dosage combination (FDC) drugs. The pharma companies will have to suspend the manufacturing and sale of these drugs, including cough syrups, analgesics, and antibiotic combinations. In our recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp Premium, we have discussed how the FDCs pose a new challenge to the Indian pharma companies (Subscription Required).
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