The Indian equity markets had a rather volatile trading session today. The morning session saw the indices barely manage to stay afloat. Selling activity across index heavyweights intensified in the afternoon session and pushed the indices into the red. There was no respite in the final trading hour either and the indices closed well below the dotted line. While the BSE-Sensex today closed lower by 208 points, the NSE-Nifty closed lower by 58 points. The BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap were not spared either and closed lower by 1% each. Losses were largely seen in IT and oil and gas stocks.
As regards global markets, most Asian indices closed firm today while the European indices have also opened in the green. The rupee was trading at Rs 60.36 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Most pharma stocks closed weak today with the key losers being Dr.Reddy's, Cipla and Ranbaxy. Glenmark Pharma, however, bucked the trend and closed into the positive. As per a leading business daily, Glenmark Pharma has received milestone payment of US$ 5 m from Sanofi. This is on a collaboration of its VLA2 (alpha2-beta1) integrin monoclonal antibody. GBR 500 is a first-in-class therapeutic monoclonal antibody for chronic autoimmune disorders. Glenmark had already received upfront payment of US$ 50 m from Sanofi in FY12. Hence, the total payment that Glenmark has now received from Sanofi from this molecule stands at US$ 55 m. It must be noted that Glenmark has actively been following a strategy of either out-licensing its molecules to global pharma majors for developing them further or entering into alliances with them. Given that the R&D process involves heavy costs and does not always yield success, the partnership route helps. This is because it enables the Indian company to leverage on the expertise of the global innovator and also receive some revenue visibility in the form of milestone payments.
Auto stocks closed mixed today. While Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors found favour, Ashok Leyland and Hero Motocorp closed into the red. As per a leading business daily, Ashok Leyland has launched 'Partner', a light commercial vehicle (LCV) in the Indian market. The LCV comes with various features including air-conditioning, sports car-like interiors among others. 'Partner' is the latest product from the Ashok Leyland-Nissan joint venture, after the commercial successful launch of 'Dost' and the recently launched 'Stile'. Ashok Leyland has always been a strong player in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) space. But in recent times, the company has been looking to strengthen its presence in the LCV space as well given that the demand for LCVs has ramped up and also because this segment is expected to grow faster than the MHCV segment. What more, the company has been facing several headwinds in the past few quarters on account of the weak economic environment which has considerably impacted demand for MHCVs. However, the company intends to keep up the pace of its product launches and the launch of 'Partner' is a step in that direction.