Asian stock markets have opened the day in the red. Stock markets in South Korea (down 2%), Japan (down 1.6%) and Hong Kong (down 0.6%) are leading the losses. However, Indian stock markets have opened the day on a strong note. Stocks from the banking and realty space are leading the gains. However, pharma stocks are trading marginally in the red.
The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 153 points (0.8%), while the NSE-Nifty is up by around 42 points (0.8%). Mid and small cap stocks are also trading in the green with both the BSE Midcap index and BSE Small cap index up by 0.5% and 0.4% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.86 to the US dollar.
Pharma stocks have opened the day on a mixed note with Ranbaxy Lab, Apollo Hospitals and Cadilla Healthcare trading weak. However, Dr Reddy's, Biocon and Sun Pharma are trading in the green. Ranbaxy Lab, the Indian pharma major, is in the process of negotiating a criminal and civil settlement with the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) that could lead to a penalty of about US$ 1 bn (approximately Rs 45 bn). In 2008, the USFDA had banned sales of drugs from two Ranbaxy plants- Dewas in Madhya Pradesh and Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh- on the grounds of violations of manufacturing norms. It had also imposed a temporary on all pending and future reviews of drugs from Ranbaxy's Paonta Sahib plant citing fraudulent testing.
If the settlement goes through, it could facilitate resumption of drug sales from Ranbaxy's Indian plants to the US markets. It will also clear the way for the company to launch its generic drug Lipitor, a medicine used to lower cholesterol.
A lot has been said time and again regarding the shortages in coal production in India. The government has been blamed for not clearing mining projects on time. It has also been blamed for the extensive time taken to grant environmental clearances on coal mining projects. But it is not just the government to be blamed for the shortages. As per a leading daily, the government has recently cancelled the coal blocks allocated to nine companies including NTPC. This act of revoking the license is a punishment for not starting production. The coal ministry has decided to revoke the licenses of 15 coal and lignite blocks in an attempt to send across a message to people to expedite production. These companies have just been sitting on the coal blocks that had been allocated to them. The ministry has also warned 29 coal and 3 lignite blocks to commence production on time. The move is a big setback especially for NTPC. The company has already invested Rs 5 bn in the five blocks that it has lost. It will now have only three blocks for captive use. The stock of NTPC is currently trading in the green. Other power stocks are trading on a positive note as well with Reliance Power and Tata Power leading the gains.