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Indian equity markets traded below the dotted line for the majority part of the day as selling intensified in the afternoon session amid weak international markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed lower by 128 points, the NSE Nifty finished lower by 40 points. The S&P BSE Midcap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished down by 1.2% and 1% respectively. Barring IT, all the sectoral indices finished in the red. Losses were largely seen in realty and metal stocks.
Asian markets finished broadly lower today after US stocks fell overnight and plunge in oil prices. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is off 0.73% and China's Shanghai Composite is lower by 0.05%. European markets are trading lower today with shares in Britain leading the losses. The FTSE is down by 1.25%. France's CAC 40 is down 0.7%, while the German markets are down 0.8%.
The rupee was trading at 66.54 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 43.72 at the time of writing.
Pharma stocks finished on a mixed note with Aurobindo Pharma and Biocon Ltd leading the gains. According to a leading financial daily, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiaries have signed an agreement to develop a novel botanical drug for treatment of dengue. Through this agreement, Sun Pharma commits development of Cissampelos pariera (Cipa), a botanical drug in collaboration with ICGEB.
Through this agreement, Sun Pharma will follow up on earlier pre-clinical collaboration between ICGEB and erstwhile Ranbaxy Laboratories. Sun Pharma will develop Cipa, a botanical drug following a drug registration process similar to a new chemical entity, consisting of all required in-vitro, in-vivo, pre-clinical and clinical studies meeting all regulatory standards of India and other regulatory agencies worldwide. Sun Pharma will pay royalties on sales post-commercialization. Sun pharma finished the day up by 0.6% on the BSE.
Recently, the Indian Health Ministry announced a ban on 344 fixed dosage combination (FDC) drugs. The ban came after an expert committee's recommendation. The pharma companies will have to suspend the manufacturing and sale of drugs that fall into this category, including cough syrups, analgesics, and antibiotic combinations. In our recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp Premium, we explained how FDCs pose a new challenge for the pharma companies (Subscription Required).
Moving on to news from the mining sector. Coal India Limited (CIL), the world's largest coal miner by output, has reported provisional production of 40.09 million tonnes (MT) in April 2016, as against target of 44.48 MT, a drop of 3.4%. The company's total off-take for the month of April was down by 2.50% and stood at 42.45 MT as against a target of 51.46 MT. Dispatch dropped by 1.06 million tonnes to 42.5 million tonne in April last year, indicating less coal demand.
According to an article in The Economic Times, Coal India has decided to go slow on production till its full-to-brim stocks ease and it has enough space to store additional coal extracted from mines. In the meantime, till demand picks up, the company has decided to expose coal seams and standby for increasing production when necessary.
The current coal stock position at power utilities is the highest ever in the last four years. It is a greatly improved situation since 2012 when stocks were a little over 14 million tonnes with 35 stations reeling under critical stock position and 25 under super critical condition. Since power utilities sitting on stock piles, they are tapping coal from their own stocks instead of placing fresh orders. Power accounts for 78% of CIL's overall coal off-take. Currently, power companies are placing very small orders and the coal major's challenge is to liquidate stocks.
After much deliberation and delay, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 had been recently revised and the government has passed the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, 2015. In a recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp Premium, we looked at the impact of the Act on various mining and metal companies (Subscription Required). The script of Coal India finished the day on a flat note on the BSE.
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