After a weak session yesterday, Indian equity markets began the day's proceedings on a positive note. The subsequent hours saw the indices scale higher as buying activity continued across index heavyweights. The momentum was maintained in the final trading hour as well and the indices closed well above the dotted line. While the BSE Sensex today closed higher by 352 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 104 points. The BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap also did well and notched gains of 1% each. Gains were largely seen in auto, banking and oil & gas stocks.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while the European indices have also opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 60.39 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Most pharma stocks closed firm today with the key gainers being Cipla, Sun Pharma and Dr.Reddy's. As per a leading business daily, Dr.Reddy's has launched Eszopiclone drug in the US market post the approval received from the USFDA. Eszopiclone is the generic version of Lunesta and is used for the treatment of insomnia. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc is the owner of the drug. According to IMS Health, Lunesta tablets and generics combined had US sales of about US$ 887 m for the 12 months ended January 2014. This is a positive for the company and will enhance its sales from the highly competitive US generics market. It must be noted that given the intense competition in the US market, Dr.Reddy's has put in place a strategy of not only launching new products but also focusing on those drugs that are in a niche category. Niche drugs typically have higher barriers to entry and so the competition and price erosion is not very high.
Telecom stocks closed in the positive today with the key gainers being Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular. The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that the books of any telecommunications company can be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), an order that has the potential to affect all private firms that pay the government to use public resources. According to the SC, the scrutiny by the government auditor is necessary to ensure the exchequer gets its legitimate share of the revenue generated from public resources. The apex court modified an earlier verdict of the Delhi high court that allowed the CAG to conduct statutory audit of only the telcos' revenue. India's telecom services firms had moved the Supreme Court in January on grounds that they were private companies and not under the jurisdiction of CAG, the public auditor tasked with auditing accounts of government agencies and schemes.