After starting the day on a firm note, the Indian stock markets traded in a range bound manner for the rest of the day. The BSE-Sensex closed at 22,876 points, which is higher by about 119 points and about 0.5% away from the 23,000 mark. The NSE-Nifty ended higher by about 25 points or 0.4%. While stocks from the realty and consumer durables spaces were least favoured today, engineering and banking stocks were amongst the top preferred. The BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap indices ended the day on a firm note with gains of about 0.12% and 0.22% respectively.
Stock markets in other parts of Asia ended the day on a mixed note with Japan closing higher by about 1.1% while Hong Kong and China closed lower by about 1% and 0.3% respectively. The rupee was trading at Rs 61.07 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Steel stocks ended the day on a mixed note with Maharashtra Seamless and Jindal Steel trading weak, while Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Tata Steel led the pack of gainers. As per the World Steel Association (WSA), India produced 7.25 m tonnes of steel in the month of March 2014. This takes its share to a little over 5% of global output in the month. Production volumes were higher by about 3.9% on a YoY basis, as compared to the world average growth of 2.7% YoY. China's steel production stood at a massive 70.3 m tonnes, a figure that forms nearly half of the world's steel production. However, in terms of a year on year growth, the same was higher by only 2.2%. India is the world's fourth largest steel producing nation, after China, Japan and South Korea. As per the WSA, the crude steel capacity utilisation ratio stood at 79% in March 2014.
Stocks of pharmaceutical companies ended the day on a firm note led by IPCA Labs, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Sun Pharmaceuticals. As per a leading business daily, Lupin has entered into an agreement with Yoshindo Inc., which is a Japan based pharmaceutical company to form a joint venture company named YL Biologics (YLB). This company will be conducting development of certain biosimilars - which are generic version of biotech drugs. This company will also carry out functions such as regulatory filings and obtaining marketing authorisations in Japan. As per Lupin, YLB will in-license Monoclonal Antibodies from Lupin and also partner with other companies across the globe for the Japanese market which already has a clear cut regulatory regime in place for the development and commercialisation of biologicals. As per the business daily, the Japanese biological market is valued at about US$ 12 bn (Rs 732 bn) and is believed to be growing at a pace of about 3% per annum. Monological bodies have a share of about 30% of the market; this segment is believed to be growing at a relatively faster pace of 5% annually. This is a positive development for Lupin and will further strengthen its presence in the Japanese market, which has proven to be a tough nut to crack for many other pharma companies including Cadila Healthcare.