The Indian equity markets traded firm throughout the trading session today. The indices began the day's proceedings on a cautious note but gained momentum in the subsequent hours. Although trading remained largely rangebound for the larger part of the trading session, buying activity gathered steam in the later hours ensuring a positive close for the Indian indices. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by 227 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 79 points. The BSE Mid Cap notched gains of 0.5%, while the BSE Small Cap closed marginally higher. Gains were largely seen in auto and oil and gas stocks. IT stocks, however, were at the receiving end.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed mixed today while European indices have also opened mixed. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.15 to the dollar at the time of writing.
Pharma stocks closed firm today with the key gainers being Cipla, Sun Pharma and Wockhardt. As per a leading business daily, the domestic pharma market is expected to grow by around 11-13% in 2013. It must be noted that growth has tapered off in the last five quarters on a sequential basis from double-digit growth in the quarter ended March 2012 to single-digit in the fourth quarter ended March 2013. This was on account of a high base effect, lower than usual monsoon and general economic slowdown. However, the scenario is expected to improve going forward. Most domestic pharma companies are focusing on strategies such as new product launches and in-licensing opportunities to grow in the Indian market. Having said that, the new pricing policy, when it comes into force, is likely to impact the industry. What is more, MNC pharma companies will be affected more than their domestic counterparts.
As per a leading business daily, Petronet LNG has entered into an agreement with Houston-based United LNG to import 4 million tonnes (MT) of gas a year for 20 years. The gas would be imported from Main Pass Energy Hub in the Gulf of Mexico. The US$ 14-bn LNG project, jointly developed by United LNG and Freeport McMoRan Energy, is yet to be commissioned. It is expected that the first cargo for Petronet would come in 2018. However, the price at which the gas will be imported has not been divulged. It must be noted that considering the gas demand supply gap in India, volumes will increase further once Kochi terminal becomes operational which is likely to happen from April 2013. As per the management, initially, the volumes at Kochi terminal will remain low and are likely to reach at least 40% of capacity by FY15-16. The stock of Petronet closed higher today.